Ice Road Truckers is one of the most popular TV shows in the world, mostly due to its gripping storylines and terrifyingly entertaining action sequences. The show dates back to 2000, when The History Channel aired a short documentary named "Ice Road Truckers" as part of what became the Dangerous Missions series. The small episode was an instant hit with audiences and therefore it was decided that a whole new series based on the ice road truckers themselves would be created. The first season came out in 2007 and has remained popular ever since. So, what exactly is it about?
The show mainly focuses on the activities of drivers who drive across a number of seasonal routes along the Arctic, Canada, and Alaska. The routes are extremely dangerous and the driver—as well as their trucks and cargo—often end up in hairy situations. However, although it might be exceptionally captivating, there have also been some negative accusations with regards to how the show treats their cast, as well as rumors of scripting and faked scenarios.
For instance, several reports have surfaced that the majority of situations on the show are planned beforehand and are actually rather safe. Yes, even our most favorite shows have a dark side, with not everything quite as clear as it seems. So, let's take a look at 20 times Ice Road Truckers messed up big times.
Ice Road Truckers is one of the most popular shows of all time and, without a doubt, the star of the History Channel network. However, not everybody is happy, with the local community known for their hatred of the cast and crew. That's right, during the first season, the drivers were often seen on a route known as the Tibbett to Contwoyto Road. The road was originally built by several local mining companies who considered the road to be one of their standout features. However, when Season 2 came around, the mining company refused to let the show use the road. It was later revealed that the mining company had been unimpressed with the show's portrayal of truck drivers.
Ice Road Truckers is famous for a number of things. However, it is the opening sequence that has really generated the most conversation. That's right, the opening credits are full to the brim with dramatic footage and exciting action. For instance, in one shot, a giant rig is captured falling through the ice and plunging into the deep icy water that lies beneath it. Plus, what makes it more surprising is how close the camera is able to get, a fact that leaves audiences on tenterhooks. Sadly, it was later revealed that the opening sequence was actually faked, having been filmed using miniature models instead. How disappointing!
Ice Road Truckers has a number of interesting and bizarre characters, some whom the public love and some not. The show has kickstarted a number of careers over the years, with some becoming fan favorites. However, some of the cast members are a little surprising, especially with regards to the way they look or handle themselves. Take Steph Custance, who was just 22 years old when first appearing on the show. That's right, Custance, who also has one of the smallest physiques on the show, had just one year of driving experience when she first started on the show, something that audiences all over the world just didn't quite believe.
Backstage drama can be a major problem for any television show, especially in the reality genre. For instance, Ice Road Truckers has had its fair share of drama, especially with regards to fan favorite Hugh "Polar Bear" Rowland. That's right, Rowland, who earned the nickname "Polar Bear" after friends had decided that he looked like one, accused one Ice Road Trucker producer of reckless driving that contributed to injuries that he himself had received. Rowland then claimed that the injuries had prevented him from getting intimate with his wife. As a result, the network immediately fired Rowland for false accusations, despite his huge popularity.
Over the years, Ice Road Truckers has been accused of faking the action involved in the show, as well as claims of scripting and directing scenes in order to get views. The show usually denies the claims. However, allegations continue to be put forward. For instance, during an interview, David Redmon, who appeared in just 15 episodes, revealed that producers, "went out of their way" to portray him in a negative light. Furthermore, Redmon stated that the show had him "scripted as the bad guy" and even worse, tried, "to get somebody" injured to bring in viewers.
Lisa Kelly was one of the most popular stars of the show when it first began, with Kelly somewhat the only female representation in the early days. That's right, in a show full of macho trucker men, Kelly brought a welcome fresh of air to audiences all over the world, and especially those who didn't fit the stereotypical trucker dude image that was expected. However, although Kelly was a favorite, she suddenly disappeared as the show became more and more successful. So where did she go? It turned out that the producers wanted to use her more due to her popularity, an idea that didn't sit well with Kelly, who later declared that she took time off to get "grounded again."
David Redmon appeared in just 15 episodes of Ice Road Truckers and was a somewhat forgettable face. In the end, Redmon was fired, with producers seemingly having enough of his negative attitude and off-screen behavior. However, for Redmon, this clearly wasn't the end. Therefore, he took it upon himself to get his name in the Ice Road Truckers history books for good. That's right, Redmon went to every single media outlet he could find and spilled some of the show's biggest secrets to anybody who would listen. Redmon claimed that he was forced into the role as the "bad guy" and this negative attitude was actually the scripting talking and not actually him.
Fan favorite Lisa Kelly appeared in a number of episodes throughout her time on the show and was a popular trucker among the cast. During one season, in particular, Kelly was shipped off to the Himalayas, to drive along one of the most "dangerous roads" in history. Not wanting to feel lonely on the trip, Kelly bought a puppy to keep as a companion while out driving. The dog, who Kelly named Rampur, quickly became a fan favorite—just like its owner—and featured heavily throughout the show's run. However, one day, Rampur disappeared, with fans wondering what happened to the little dog. It was later revealed that Kelly had given him away, much to the disgust of fans across the globe.
Darrell Ward, who first appeared in the sixth season, notched up a whopping 49 episodes throughout his time on the show. However, in mid-2016, tragedy struck when Ward was involved in a fatal plane crash outside Missoula, Montana, USA. Sadly, Ward did not survive the crash and neither did his co-pilot. Then, just to make things even worse, it was later revealed that Ward had been on his way to the film the first episode of the new series of Ice Road Truckers, with that particular episode focussing on the recovery efforts of those involved in plane crashes and the rescue attempts that follow.
All over the world, regular folks are influenced by what they see on television, especially reality TV shows. Ice Road Truckers has the ability to inspire just about everyone, with superfan Brett Colley being a prime example. That's right, Colley, who was a former soldier, watched the show religiously, so much so that he decided that he wanted to become a trucker himself. Colley applied for the show but was unfortunately rejected, a move that led him to his next mission, a job driving a good delivery rig on Canada's notorious Alaskan highway. Sadly, during one particular journey, Colley's truck slid on the ice causing it to tumble down an embankment and the superfan lost his life.
Over the years, Ice Road Truckers has become exceptionally famous and has garnered a number of fans all over the world. In fact, as soon as the show aired it was an instant hit, and quickly became the most-watched programme to have ever aired on The History Channel. In order to capitalize on the show's success, an idea for a movie was rapidly pitched. However, although the idea was well-liked, it seemed to take forever to get the go-ahead, even after 20th Century Fox bought the rights. Whatever the case, if producers don't get their act together soon, they will certainly pay for it.
Thom Beers, who created the idea behind Ice Road Truckers, is a big deal in the world of the reality of TV shows. Not only did he create this one, but he also had a hand in Deadliest Catch, Storage Wars, and Ax Men. In fact, Beers also narrates them, so it is fair to say that he also has a large role in what goes on behind the scenes. As a result, Beers also likes to control the cash flow, with the cast members known for earning a small amount. Furthermore, just to assert his control that little bit more, Beers has disallowed any endorsements deals, claiming that it is important for audiences to see the cast members are regular blue collar workers.
Ice Road Truckers has been continuously accused of scripting their scenes since the very beginning, with previous cast members stating that scenes were often orchestrated and storylines created for the viewer's entertainment. Ex-cast member Rick Yemm recently claimed that fake spats were created in order to give the storylines more excitement, stating, "We get slated in these character roles. There's nothing we can do about it." That's right, between arguments and behind-the-back negative words, most of what comes out of the cast members mouths actually come from the end of a scriptwriters pen. However, these claims are often denied by the show's producers.
Although a lot of Ice Road Truckers might be scripted and a lot of the action somewhat faked, some of the stuff involved is actually rather serious. Yes, believe it or not, some of the stunts involved are real and can be also extremely dangerous for those who work for the show. Over the years, the show has put a number of cameramen and women danger, due to the crazy actions of the show's plot. For instance, one scene involved a cinematographer literally hanging off the car door to chase another vehicle and get the perfect shot. Rather them than me!
These days, reality TV stars seemingly get paid a lot—just look at the Kardashians. However, those who work on Ice Road Truckers aren't your average reality TV stars and are known to make a pittance when compared to their reality television counterparts. That's right, Thom Beers, the man behind the invention of the show, is a huge fan of blue-collar work and the ins and outs of the jobs at hand. As a result, Beers pays his cast members equal to what they would expect to get when working in the field, in some cases even less. Furthermore, Beers controls the salary demands as well as the contracts, thus making it difficult for cast-members to demand a higher salary.
One of the worst things about the show is the dangers that it can often present to the surrounding wildlife. Ice Road Truckers is known for dealing with extreme conditions and undeveloped filming locations. The wildlife that is presented on the show is very real, with one particular location home to one of the most powerful animals on the planet, the polar bear. Thankfully, the polar bears that are located around the many filming locations are rarely seen—but the show has been accused of scaring them away or forcing them to move. Furthermore, it also has been suggested that the polar bears may pose a threat to the cast and crew.
Ice Road Truckers is exceptionally popular across the world, mostly due to its extravagant stunts and jaw-dropping moments. However, the majority of audiences have no prior knowledge of trucking at all, a fact that makes them the perfect viewers. Sadly, not everybody agrees and actual real-life truckers are irritated by the show. That's right, the aptly named "Trucker" website, which is dedicated to the trucking profession, often declares their hatred for the show, and regularly run articles explaining why it is ridiculous and full of stereotypes. In fact, one person declared that the truckers who featured on the show were all "buffoons" who had no clue about real-life trucking.
Yes, Ice Road Truckers might be extremely popular but is it really all that realistic? The answer is no, so much so that producers have to fake a lot of what actually happens. Think about it, do truckers really find themselves in so much bother every single time they go driving? In fact, real-life truckers have often blasted the show for its unrealistic portrayal of truckers, claiming that the show paints truckers as money-grabbing individuals with no clue how to drive. Furthermore, the show has a number of young and inexperienced drivers, drivers that would be in no way capable of handling such a gigantic machine.
Ex-castmember Rick Yemm is no stranger to spilling the beans with regards to the show's secrets. In fact, Yemm will just about tell anybody anything, as long as it means getting air time. However, some of what he does say is rather interesting, especially with regards to how the show works. Yemm often suggests that the show is not as dangerous as producers would like audiences to believe, with the "stunts" often scripted. For instance, Yemm revealed that the producers intentionally try to make out that the truckers are far more reckless than they actually are. I guess we will never know the real truth.
Sources: Truck Classifieds, IMDb, and Wikipedia.