A big part of what gets me through Sundays during the NFL’s off-season is the Ice Road Truckers series that the History Channel runs on Sunday evenings.
I’m not exactly sure why, as I am not a big fan of “reality TV”, but from the second I inadvertently stumbled across this show in its first season I have been a huge fan.
For one thing, I had no idea that such a thing as “ice roads” and the various industries that function around (and because of) them ever existed; let alone the remote, isolated communities that absolutely are able to exist due to the services the provide. What a fascinating slice of still-existing frontiers and the rugged people who inhabit them is presented here!
Another thing I like is that the “stars” of the program are not a bunch of bizarre individuals reveling in their dysfunctionality. For the most part, they are simply working stiffs taking a shot — and willing to work hard at it — in order to make a big score for the betterment of their lives and their families.
To be sure, there are some colorful characters in the mix. Such as:
Hugh “the Polar Bear” Rowland > a literal bear of a man who is gruff, profane, but one hard-working, balls-to-the-wall sonofagun; he also has exhibited a sentimental side a time or two when he visited co-worker/friends Alex and Rick on occasions when they were hospitalized; and another time when Alex presented him with a special framed of Hugh’s father.
Alex Debagorski > also tall and imposing and as hard-working as Hugh, but gregarious (with a rumbling, hearty laugh), always willing to lend a hand to others, and very pious (he never curses and often says prayers aloud when facing challenging conditions).
Lisa Kelly > the show’s “eye candy” who just keeps getting sweeter and also more competent as she works genuinely hard to improve her independence and overall trucking skills.
Rick Yemm > the chain-smoking, chronic complainer of the bunch who leans toward Mohawk haircuts died different wild colors and seems to have a love-hate work relationship with Hugh.
(One of the funniest exchanges came at the start of last season when the truckers were gathering to start out on the haul road. Alex cracked to Hugh (who was partnered once again with Rick, having shown up with a bright blue mohawk): “Did you tell him yet that he’s really your son?” To which Hugh dryly replied: “I tried to explain to him that I **bleeped** a parrot once when I was a teenager, but I don’t think he got the hint that he might be the result.”
Anyway, as recently as a few weeks ago I was under the impression they might not be airing Ice Road Truckers this year. The horror!
However, I now know there will be a new season and it starts on June 9.
If you’re not already an IRT fan, I suggest you give it a try. I think you’ll like it.