Ice Road Truckers

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Ice Road Truckers
Iceroadtruckerslogo.jpg
GenreReality
Starring
  • Alex Debogorski
    (Season 1 – 11)
  • Lisa Kelly
    (Season 3 – 5, 7 – 11)
  • Art Burke
    (Season 7 – 11)
  • Todd Dewey
    (Season 7 – 11)
  • Steph Custance
    (Season 10 – 11)
  • Reno Ward
    (Season 8, season 11)
  • Hugh Rowland
    (Season 1 – 8)
  • Rick Yemm
    (Season 1 – 2, season 5 – 6)
  • Jay Westgard
    (Season 1)
  • T.J. Tilcox
    (Season 1)
  • Drew Sherwood
    (Season 1 – 2)
  • Eric Dufresne
    (Season 2)
  • Bear Swensen
    (Season 2)
  • Jack Jessee
    (Season 3 – 4, season 6)
  • George Spears
    (Season 3)
  • Tim Freeman
    (Season 3)
  • Carey Hall
    (Season 3 – 6)
  • Greg Boadwine
    (Season 4)
  • Ray Veilleux
    (Season 4, season 6)
  • Dave Redmon
    (Season 5)
  • Tony Molesky
    (Season 5)
  • Maya Sieber
    (Season 5)
  • Austin Wheeler
    (Season 6)
  • Ronald "Porkchop" Mangum
    (Season 6)
  • Joey Barnes
    (Season 7 – 9)
  • Mike Simmons
    (Season 9)
  • Darrell Ward Ϯ (Season 6 — 10)
Narrated byThom Beers
Tom Cotcher (UK)
Theme music composerSteven Tyler, Joe Perry, Mark Hudson
Opening theme"Livin' on the Edge" by Aerosmith (Seasons 1 – 4 only)
Country of originCanada
United States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons11
No. of episodes138 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s)David McKillop
Dolores Gavin
Thom Beers
Philip Segal
Dawn Fitzgerald
Adam Martin
Aron Plucinski
Running time45 – 48 minutes
Production company(s)Original Productions
Prospero Media (season 8)
Shaw Media (season 8)
DistributorA+E Networks
Release
Original networkHistory
Original releaseJune 17, 2007 (2007-06-17) –
November 9, 2017 (2017-11-09)
External links
Website

Ice Road Truckers (commercially abbreviated IRT) is an American reality television series that premiered on History Channel, on June 17, 2007. It features the activities of drivers who operate trucks on seasonal routes crossing frozen lakes and rivers, in remote Arctic territories in Canada and Alaska. Seasons 3–6 also featured Alaska's improved but still remote Dalton Highway, which is mainly snow-covered solid ground. The newest seasons are mainly focused on Manitoba's winter roads. The series' eleventh season finished airing on November 9, 2017.

History[edit]

In 2000, History aired a 46-minute episode titled "Ice Road Truckers" as part of the Suicide Missions (later Dangerous Missions) series. Based on Edith Iglauer's book Denison's Ice Road, the episode details the treacherous job of driving trucks over frozen lakes, also known as ice roads, in Canada's Northwest Territories. After 2000, reruns of the documentary were aired as an episode of the series Modern Marvels instead. Under this banner, the Ice Road Truckers show garnered very good ratings.

In 2006, The History Channel hired Thom Beers, owner of Original Productions and executive producer of Deadliest Catch, to create a series based on the Ice Road book. Shot in high definition (although the season ended before History HD was launched in the US), the show "charts two months in the lives of six extraordinary men who haul vital supplies to diamond mines and other remote locations over frozen lakes that double as roads".[1]

Airings[edit]

During the finale of the show's first season of 10 episodes, The History Channel aired a promo for season 2 which began airing on June 8, 2008.[2]

Season 1 of Ice Road Truckers was shown on the British national commercial channel Channel Five in February/March 2008. In Australia it aired on Austar and Foxtel in early 2008 and from June 18 it also began being shown on Network Ten. In autumn 2008 season one aired on RTL 7 in the Netherlands. In Italy the first season premiered on History Channel on January 7, 2010 as "Gli eroi del ghiaccio" (English: Heroes of the ice).[3]

The second season premiered on June 8, 2008 in the US; October 9, 2008 on History in the UK and in Australia; November 12, 2008 in New Zealand; and January 7, 2009 on Channel 5 in the UK. The first season was not aired in Canada until March 4, 2009 on History Television.

The third season premiered on May 31, 2009 in the US; September 10 in the UK. Channel Five debuted series 3 on January 5, 2010.

Reception[edit]

The series' premiere was seen by 3.4 million viewers to become the most-watched original telecast in the History Channel's 12-year history at that time.[4] Among critics, Adam Buckman of the New York Post said, "Everything about 'Ice Road Truckers' is astonishing".[5] Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times said, "Watching these guys ... make their runs, it’s hard not to share in their cold, fatigue and horrible highway hypnosis, that existential recognition behind the wheel late at night that the pull of sleep and the pull of death are one and the same. ... [I]t gets right exactly what Deadliest Catch got right, namely that the leave-nothing-but-your-footprints, green kind of eco-travelers are too mellow and conscientious to be interesting to watch. Instead, the burly, bearded, swearing men who blow methyl hydrate into their own transmissions and welcome storms as breaks from boredom ... are much better television."[6] During 2007 the series was shown in the United Kingdom, Australia and various countries in Africa.

The show opening features a truck falling through the ice. While real accidents with fatal outcomes might be mentioned, the show has never featured them and indeed, the show opening is a miniature model filmed inside a studio. A season 1 rumor that the sequence was staged using a real truck and dynamite caused discontent among the drivers.[2]

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 10 June 17, 2007 August 19, 2007
2 13 June 8, 2008 September 7, 2008
3 13 May 31, 2009 August 23, 2009
4 16 June 6, 2010 October 3, 2010
5 16 June 5, 2011 September 25, 2011
6 16 June 3, 2012 September 23, 2012
7 12 June 9, 2013 August 25, 2013
8 12 July 7, 2014 September 28, 2014
9 10 August 2, 2015 October 18, 2015
10 10 August 4, 2016 October 6, 2016
11 10 August 24, 2017 November 9, 2017

Truckers[edit]

Trucker Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Alex Debogorski Main
Hugh Rowland Main
Rick Yemm Main Main
Drew Sherwood Main
Jay Westgard Main
T.J. Tilcox Main
Bear Swensen Main
Eric Dufresne Main
Lisa Kelly Main Main
Jack Jessee Main Main
George Spears Main
Tim Freeman Jr. Main
Carey Hall Main
Greg Boadwine Main
Ray Veilleux Main Recurring
Dave Redmon Main
Tony Molesky Main
Maya Sieber Main
Darrell Ward Ϯ Aug 28th, 2016 Main
Austin Wheeler Main
Ronald Mangum Main
Art Burke Main
Todd Dewey Main
Joey Barnes Main Recurring
Mike Simmons Main
Steph Custance Main
Reno Ward Recurring Main

Season 1[edit]

Season 2[edit]

Season 3[edit]

Season 4[edit]

Season 5[edit]

The focus of this season is split between two locations. One group drives the Dalton Highway, moving freight between Fairbanks and Deadhorse with occasional side trips to Nuiqsut and Anchorage. Meanwhile, a second group transports loads between Winnipeg, Manitoba, and several remote communities over winter and ice roads.

Episodes[edit]

The on-screen graphics for the type and weight of each load hauled featured in the first four seasons were discontinued in Season 5, now only showing the time of day or temperature depending on the situation.

Returning drivers[edit]

Debogorski and Rowland return to Canada, and Yemm (seasons 1 and 2) joins them for this season to drive the ice roads in Manitoba, Debogorski for First Nations Transport, and Rowland and Yemm for Polar Industries (also hauling loads for First Nations for the first eight episodes under a contract through Polar). For Carlile, Kelly and three other truckers haul freight on the Dalton, and Hall appears in two episodes to deliver heavy loads. Kromm returns to train rookie drivers, notably Redmon and Sieber, and later advises Lane Keator to fire Redmon.

New drivers[edit]

  • Dave Redmon: Redmon, 45, is an Alabama native with 25 years of over-the-road trucking experience. In 2010, he, Yemm, and Kelly spent two months hauling loads on the dangerous roads in India (see IRT: Deadliest Roads, below). This season marks his first year of ice road trucking, but he is ultimately fired due to concerns about his driving performance and attitude toward other truckers (especially Tony Molesky, who abandoned Redmon at Coldfoot halfway through his first training run on the Dalton).
  • Tony Molesky: Molesky is a 19-year veteran of the ice roads, and like Kromm, serves as a safety and driver instructor for Carlile. In the season premiere, he describes a recent accident in which he had to swerve into a ditch to avoid a head-on collision with an oncoming rookie driver. His truck took a glancing blow, scattering debris which he later returns to pick up; by the season's end, the truck is repaired and put back in service. (He was also seen briefly in Season 3 episode 3 as Rowland's co-driver.)
  • Maya Sieber: Sieber is a 27-year-old resident of New York City, with three years' trucking experience on its roads. Like Redmon, this is her first year on the ice.
  • Vlad Pleskot: Pleskot is one of Polar’s drivers. In Season 7, he and Rowland formed their own company.
  • Mark Kohaykewych: Mark owns Polar Industries, and drives a pilot car for an oversized load convoy Pleskot, Rowland and Yemm make to St. Theresa Point (episodes 4 and 5). Even though Mark is rarely seen at the wheel of a big rig, he is seen in the opening credits as one of the series’ stars by Season 7.

Route and destinations[edit]

Final load counts[edit]

Canada

  • Debogorski – 22
  • Rowland – 21
  • Yemm – 20

Alaska

  • Kelly – 28
  • Redmon – 27
  • Molesky – 25
  • Sieber – 22

Season 6[edit]

The focus of this season is split among three locations, listed in "Route and destinations" below.

Returning drivers[edit]

Debogorski, Rowland, and Yemm continue driving in Canada for this season, moving cargo along the Dempster Highway (Debogorski) and Manitoba's winter roads (Rowland and Yemm). Jessee (seasons 3 and 4) returns to drive the Dalton along with three newcomers, and Hall appears in one episode to help move a modular building up from Fairbanks. Near the end of the season, Veilleux (season 4) is called in to help transport the last loads up to Prudhoe Bay. Molesky and Kromm are involved in training drivers new to driving on the Dalton Highway for Carlile Transportation. Additionally, both Molesky and Kromm independently monitor other drivers' standards and behavior, and advise Fairbanks Terminal Manager Lane Keator if there are issues like those that led to Redmon and "Porkchop" being fired.

New drivers[edit]

  • Darrell Ward (1964–2016): Coming to Alaska from Montana, Ward has 31 years of highway trucking experience, including driving logging trucks in the Rocky Mountains, and drove the Dalton for Alaska West Express in 2009.[7] This is his first (and only) year at Carlile, and he ends up coming second to Jack Jessee by one load. Darrell, easily one of IRT's most popular drivers ever, was killed in a plane crash at the age of 52 on August 28, 2016. Ward at the time was a business partner with Lisa Kelly. The plane was piloted by Mark Melotz and it crashed near Rock Creek, Montana.
  • Austin Wheeler: Wheeler, 23, has been a Carlile employee for almost two years, transporting heavy loads in southern Alaska before transferring to the Fairbanks depot. While his season ended early towards the end due to engine power issues, he earned credit in saving Darrell when the latter was stranded in the middle of the season.
  • Ronald "Porkchop" Mangum: Mangum, 35, is a South Carolina trucker with 14 years of experience. Like Ward, he started his first season on the Dalton; he is fired near the end of the season due to concerns over his driving performance.

Route and destinations[edit]

  • Dalton Highway: This is the final season for the Dalton on the show.
  • Dempster Highway: Connects the Northwest Territories to the rest of Canada’s road network through the Yukon.
  • Manitoba ice roads

Final load counts[edit]

Alaska

  • Jessee – 29
  • Ward – 28
  • Wheeler – 23
  • Veilleux – 5 (not in the full season)

Canada

  • Debogorski – 25
  • Rowland – 14
  • Yemm – 6

Season 7[edit]

The focus of this season is the winter road network originating in Winnipeg.

Returning drivers[edit]

Debogorski, Kelly, and Ward relocate to Winnipeg this season and begin driving for Polar Industries. Rowland and Pleskot return as well, leaving Polar to start their own trucking company, VP Express.

New drivers[edit]

  • Art Burke: Burke, a Yellowknife resident, has driven the diamond mine ice roads for 15 years. He originally signs on with VP Express to drive for Rowland but switches over to Polar, after being fired. He also brings the winning load for Polar by the end of the season.
  • Todd Dewey: Dewey, a logging trucker from Washington state, started his first year on the ice road to work for Rowland. He is also featured in Ax Men season 8, especially driving logs for Rygaard Logging into the saw mill during the warmer months. Dewey is the nephew of Craig Rygaard and cousin of Gabe, Jason, and Burt. Craig is the original owner of Rygaard Logging, and when he retired, Gabe took over.[8]
  • Joey Barnes: Barnes, known as the "King of Obsolete", and his daughter Xena live in northern Manitoba, well past the end of the winter roads. He uses vintage trucks and modified tractors to travel over the rough terrain for equipment delivery/pickup runs.[9][10]

Final load counts[edit]

  • Polar – 181
  • VP – 180

Season 8[edit]

This season all drivers from season 7 return to Winnipeg, and the same companies, Polar and VP Express, are shown. This is also the first season in which the program is a US / Canadian co-production, with Prospero Media and Shaw Media (owners of the Canadian History franchise) producing the show with Original Productions and History (as seen in the end credits of each episode). Season 8 premiered on July 7, 2014.

Returning drivers[edit]

Darrell Ward, Art Burke, and Lisa Kelly drive for Polar. Todd Dewey switches from VP Express to Polar.[11] Alex Debogorski drives for longtime rival Hugh Rowland’s and Vlad Pleskot’s VP Express.[12] After a tense verbal exchange with Polar owner Mark Kohaykewych, Darrell quits Polar in episode 5, frustrated with repeated truck breakdowns and how few loads he has been given, and goes into business for himself. Joey Barnes appears in episode 10 to escort Burke on a delivery run through the Manitoba wilderness, after Burke avoided being fired after jack-knifing his truck the previous trip. Also in episode 5, Burke was fined $490 and "shut down" (suspended from driving) for three days, due to multiple log-book infringements and over-working, from being stuck in the snowstorm on the previous round trip. In episode 12, Kelly, Burke, Dewey, Darrell and Reno all make it to Fort Severn, while Kelly decides to support Darrell and help him go further into Peawanuck. Kelly was not censured by Mark for her actions, as it was "a morally and ethically right thing to do," and she was offered a job by Darrell for the next season; she was undecided on switching sides.

This was Hugh Rowland's final season, as he was involved in a 2014 pickup accident.

New driver[edit]

  • Reno Ward: Darrell Ward’s son, he was hired to help his father in episode 9.

Route and destinations[edit]

  • Manitoba/Ontario ice roads: Two new destinations in northwestern Ontario: Fort Severn and Peawanuck.

Final load counts[edit]

  • Polar: 171
  • VP: 170
  • Total: 341

Season 9[edit]

On July 21, 2015, History announced season 9 would premiere August 2, 2015, at 9/8c.

Episodes[edit]

With the departure of Rowland and VP Express from the series due to a 2014 pickup accident which severely injured him while riding with one of the series’ producers,[13] the "dash for the cash" theme is less emphasized from this season on. As a result, load counts are no longer shown, and the focus shifts to delivering loads to communities as shortening ice road seasons permit, as the season’s two-part finale demonstrates.

Returning drivers[edit]

This season features all the truckers from the prior season with the exceptions of Hugh Rowland, Vlad Pleskot and Reno Ward. Debogorski, Dewey and Burke drive for Polar, while Darrell Ward and Kelly drive for their own company.[14][15] Barnes appears in episode 8 to help Burke haul a load of fuel.

New driver[edit]

  • Mike Simmons: Mike is the owner of Bad Apple Escorts, Inc., a pilot truck service based in Edmonton, Alberta. Although he is an experienced heavy hauler on the Alberta oil fields, this season marks his first exposure to ice road trucking. He is hired by Polar to help keep loads moving, in response to the threat of competition posed by Ward and Kelly.

Route and destinations[edit]

  • Manitoba/Ontario ice roads
  • Seal River, via cat train convoy from Churchill: Darrell and Mark teamed up to send their best drivers (Dewey and Kelly) to make this haul over the southwest part of Hudson Bay.

Season X (10)[edit]

Per the History Channel website, Season 10 (which the site calls Season X or "IRT X") premiered on August 4, 2016 at 10/9c.[16]

Returning drivers[edit]

Debogorski, Darrell Ward, Kelly, Dewey and Burke continue driving for their respective companies. Mark Kohaykewych briefly drives Darrell’s truck, as well as a heavy loader to push trucks over steep hills during the two-part season finale convoy.

This was Darrell Ward's final season, as he was killed in a plane crash on August 28, 2016.[17]

New driver[edit]

  • Stephanie "Steph" Custance: Steph, 22, is a first-year ice road trucker with less than one year of commercial driving experience. Mark hires her to work for Polar, deciding that his need for drivers outweighs the problems he sees during her road test. She has a five-year-old son.

Route and destinations[edit]

Season 11[edit]

Season 11 premiered August 24, 2017 on History.

Returning drivers[edit]

Debogorski, Dewey, Burke and Custance continue driving for Polar, and Kelly continues to run the company she and Darrell Ward founded. Darrell's son Reno Ward (Season 8) joins the cast in episode 5, helping Kelly repay a debt to Polar owner Mark Kohaykewych. Mark also drives a pilot car for an oversized load hauled by Kelly and Reno (episodes 5 and 6).

Route and destinations[edit]

IRT: Deadliest Roads[edit]

IRT:Deadliest Roads
GenreReality
Documentary
Starring
  • Hugh Rowland
    (Season 2)
  • Lisa Kelly
  • Rick Yemm
  • Dave Redmon
  • Augustin Rodriguez
    (Season 2)
  • Tim Zickuhr
    (Season 2)
  • Alex Debogorski
    (Season 1)
  • G.W. Boles
    (Season 2)
Narrated byThom Beers
Tom Cotcher (UK)
Country of originCanada
United States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes23 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s)David McKillop
Dolores Gavin
Thom Beers
Philip Segal
Dawn Fitzgerald
Adam Martin
Aron Plucinski
Production location(s)India and South America
Running time45 – 48 minutes
Production company(s)Original Productions
DistributorA&E Networks
Release
Original networkHistory
Original releaseOctober 3, 2010 (2010-10-03) –
December 18, 2011 (2011-12-18)
External links
Website

Season 1: Himalayas[edit]

On October 3, 2010, a spinoff series, titled IRT: Deadliest Roads, premiered immediately after the Season 4 finale. Rick Yemm, Alex Debogorski, and Lisa Kelly traveled to India and put their driving skills to the test on the narrow, treacherous mountain roads that lead from Delhi to Shimla, then up to the Karchan and Kuppa hydroelectric dam construction sites in the Himalayas. Debogorski quit in the first episode due to fear of angry mobs if he were involved in an accident, and was replaced by Alabama trucker Dave Redmon (who has since been featured in Season 5 of Ice Road Truckers). As the season continued, the drivers were dispatched to carry supplies over the stormy Rohtang Pass to the town of Keylong, which had been cut off for months due to the bad weather. The season finale aired on December 5, 2010, with the truckers' attempting to deliver loads of jet fuel for helicopter crews who were working to rescue people stranded in the mountains by the storms. Yemm and Redmon turned back, deciding that the conditions were too hazardous for the volatile cargo; the next day, Kelly hauled the entire shipment herself and delivered it to the crews, becoming the only North American trucker to complete the entire season.

The roads were often hacked out of vertical cliffs like a tunnel with one side open to the air, with rock overhangs overhead and drops of several hundred feet below. One part of the road was called "the Freefall Freeway".

Early promotional spots for the series listed the title as IRT: Himalayas.[citation needed]

Season 2: South America[edit]

The second season of IRT: Deadliest Roads premiered on September 25, 2011. Six North American drivers are sent to Bolivia to haul cargo along the Yungas Road, notorious for its extreme hazards. The drivers work in pairs – Hugh Rowland and Rick Yemm, Lisa Kelly and Dave Redmon, and newcomers Timothy R. Zickuhr and Augustin "Tino" Rodriguez. Redmon and Yemm quit in Episode 2; Rowland continues driving alone, while Texas trucker G.W. Boles arrives to ride with Kelly in Episode 4. Starting with Episode 8, the truckers relocate to Peru and begin transporting loads to sites high in the Andes mountain range.

In episode 6, Kelly and Boles transport 32 breeding llamas across the Salar de Uyuni, the world's biggest salt flat, 12,000 ft (3,700 m) above sea level. On the way, their truck's radiator begins to leak; after they mend it, they must empty all their drinking water into the radiator to replace the loss. Abundant lithium deposits cause their magnetic compasses to read incorrectly, and for a time their GPS malfunctions.

In February 2015, Tim Zickuhr pleaded guilty to kidnapping and extortion.[18][19]

Broadcast airings[edit]

Repeats of the Deadliest Roads series are currently airing on the digital broadcast network Quest.

Feature film[edit]

In 2008, 20th Century Fox acquired rights from the History Channel to create a scripted, theatrical action film based on the series.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About the Ice Road Truckers series". History.com.
  2. ^ a b Kaplan, Don, "BACK ON THE 'ICE ROAD'", New York Post, April 2, 2008
  3. ^ "Sat News #114 – Gennaio 2010 – I canali documentaristici e divulgativi Sky". January 14, 2010.
  4. ^ "'Ice Road Truckers' debut sets The History Channel ratings records – Reality TV World – News, information, episode summaries, message boards, chat and games for unscripted television programs". Reality TV World. June 20, 2007. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "Slide Show: 'Ice Road Truckers' Take Thrilling Glide". New York Post. June 23, 2007. Archived from the original on June 5, 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
  6. ^ Heffernan, Virginia, "Honk? No, Pray if You Hear a Loud Crack", The New York Times, June 22, 2007
  7. ^ Hansen, Pat (May 2, 2010). "Ice road trucker". The Montana Standard. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  8. ^ "Todd Dewey – Ice Road Truckers Cast". History.com. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  9. ^ "Joey Barnes – Ice Road Truckers Cast". History.com. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  10. ^ Barnes, Joey (April 2006). "MOVING THE CAT TRAINS TO HISTORIC ILFORD". kingofobsolete.ca. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  11. ^ "Todd Dewey". HISTORY.com. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  12. ^ "Alex Debogorski". HISTORY.com. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  13. ^ Tully, Jake (May 31, 2017). "Hugh Rowland and Dangers of Ice Road Trucking". truckdrivingjobs.com. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  14. ^ "'Ice Road Truckers' Season 9 to Premiere Sunday, August 2 & & New Series 'Power & Ice' to Premiere Thursday, August 27 on History". TVbytheNumbers. July 21, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  15. ^ "Lisa Kelly". HISTORY.com. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  16. ^ "Ice Road Truckers Full Episodes, Video & More – HISTORY".
  17. ^ "'Ice Road Truckers' Star Darrell Ward Killed In Plane Crash".
  18. ^ https://www.syracuse.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/02/tim_zickuhr_ice_road_truckers_prison_kidnapping_prostitute.html
  19. ^ http://www.tmz.com/2015/02/25/ice-roads-trucker-guilty-kidnapping-prostitute-tim-zickuhr/
  20. ^ Fleming, Michael. "Fox drives 'Truckers' to bigscreen", Variety. February 12, 2008

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]