Shelby Taylor was born & raised in Grapevine, Arkansas. He graduated from Grapevine High school 1961. Shelby started working in the woods at age 15 for relatives driving a tractor and skidding logs during the summer. In 1961, he worked on a missile base in northwest Arkansas on a construction project for six months. When he was 21, he ran a woodyard and managed a team of six. When Shelby was 24, a friend was losing his business, and Shelby graciously started making payments on his equipment. The bank gave Shelby a loan and gave him 45 days to make the first payment. Shelby was married to JoAnn, had just taken on a loan obligation, and they didn’t have any money. However, the bank took a chance on him and Shelby Taylor never missed a payment.
Mr. Taylor then subcontracted three to four years before acquiring Charlie Talbert’s jobs--two pulpwood operations. When Weyerhaeuser needed trucks and loggers, Shelby Taylor answered the call and started the trucking business. He bought two trucks and hired two additional drivers. With the success of these jobs, Shelby Taylor added a thinning job and now had five or six jobs at this point. The rest is history.
Shelby is an innovator in this industry. He was the first one in the area to buy diesel trucks to haul logs. He paid his employees by “piece work”- paid them by the ton instead of by the day or hour - his employees made a better living, worked harder and were more loyal. He was the first to put dual wheels on a skidder for added traction in the mud. He was the first to put a saw head on a 3-wheel feller buncher. A Prentice engineer said it couldn’t be done, so Shelby did it himself. It worked!
In 1996 Shelby started handing over the responsibilities of the business to his son, Bobby Taylor. He sold two of his jobs to Bobby and his son-in-law, David Lunsford. Now Shelby spends most of his time hunting and fishing all over the world. He also enjoys spending time on his houseboat on Lake Ouachita.
Shelby and Joann just celebrated their 50th anniversary.