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'Ice Road Truckers' Star Lisa Kelly Talks Danger and Earning Respect

by Chris Jordan, posted Sep 29th 2010 4:00PM
If you thought the ice roads of Alaska were tough-trucking, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Lisa Kelly, Rick Yemm and Alex Debogorski of The History Channel's 'Ice Road Truckers' fame are leaving the frozen tundra of the Dalton Highway for the out-of-this-world trucking action of the Himalayan Mountains on a new spinoff, 'IRT: Deadliest Roads' (premiering Sun., Oct. 3 at 10PM ET).

Look for the guys and gal to navigate the crowded streets of Delhi -- locals aren't very attentive to traffic signals over there -- and the Himalayan roadways, which date back to 206 B.C. The Himalayan route, first built for yaks, has historically connected Central Asia with South Asia and provided a bridge among the cultures of India, China, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan.

TV Squad spoke with Kelly, who calls Wasilla, Alaska home, about her trip to the Himalayas and the challenges of being the only gal featured on 'Ice Road Truckers.' (And no, the married 29-year old has never met Wasilla's most famous resident, Sarah Palin.)

It's my understanding that India has a big trucking culture. Is that true based on your experiences?
Trucking is big anywhere because you have to get stuff from one place to another, but it is different just because it was so wildly different. I don't know how to start to tell you.

Folks don't pay as much attention to traffic signs and signals there as compared to here?
Ah, yeah! There's rules but they aren't enforced, so no one really follows them [And] there's no law on how much you can weight the trucks. Right before you break the frame, I guess. So they overload them and underpower them.

It sounds like you're glad you're not a trucker there?
I am very thankful for where we live and how things are set up and the size of our trucks.

What's more dangerous, trucking in the places that you truck on 'Ice Road Truckers' or the Himalayas?
It's definitely far more dangerous over there.

On 'Ice Road Truckers,' you once hit a moose. Did you hit any creatures over there?
I hit lots of cars and rocks, but no creatures.

You hit some cars there, though, right?
Oh, it's so unavoidable. Everybody smashes into something.

It sounds like a demolition derby.
Pretty much. It's like, "Wait a minute, rules don't apply here. We can do whatever we want in these trucks -- watch out, here we come!"

How do you feel you've been portrayed on 'Ice Road Truckers'? Does the Lisa Kelly that we watch jibe with how you really are in real life?
It's really hard to put out every aspect of my personality on TV in few minutes but for the most part I'm as real as I can be. I'm not faking anything. What comes across is the edited version, but more or less, yes.

You fixed an air valve on your truck this season. It sounded like it was a big explosion in the engine and you got out and you fixed that.
That was kind of cool because it seems like I know how fix stuff a little bit here and there, not everything. But it seemed like every time something happened wrong on the camera, it would be something I didn't know how to fix. I'm like "Why can't something happen that I know how to fix?'' So it was nice to have something happen I could fix.

In the last two seasons, 'Ice Road Truckers' has portrayed you as the new trucker who's trying to earn respect.
I've already proved myself to the guys in Alaska because I've been driving for six or seven years. They already know I can drive, but when the cameras are on, I have to reprove it to the world. It's a story. You can't just drive down a road, driving, so you build on a story. I would like the respect of the guys up there, but not to extent that I sometimes play, because I'm trying to make an interesting story. I do want their respect but I mostly already have it. I'm proving myself to the camera. But when the cameras aren't there, I just truck. I don't worry too much about it.

Has the show altered your relationships? Are some guys jealous that you get so much attention?
I thought we'd stick together and be a good family, but it's just not that way, I guess. It just brings out the funny side of people. It's been a cool experience because I have discovered who my real friends are and who turns tail and runs at the first sign of a problem.

Were you taken aback by the negative comments about you on the CB radio from the truckers during the June 13 episode ('The Polar Bear Returns')?
I was disappointed. The guys must think I live behind a screen and I'm not out there trucking with them. It's disappointing when you find out somebody doesn't like you but that's all right. Life goes on. I can get over it.

'IRT: Deadliest Roads' Preview

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Well it appears that Lisa Kelly has taken a page out of the Vanessa Hudgens playbook to promote the upcoming season of Ice Road Truckers with this new nude selfies picture set leaked (see the JLA Watercooler for all of them). But hey - its 2013, should we be surprised?

September 16 2013 at 6:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where is Lisa-- we miss you-! Just not the same show without you.

July 02 2012 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Hannicker

BTW anybody who thinks Lisa Kelly is responding to you personally on here needs to wake up and come back to reality, it's Dave her manager who responds to all these things , Lisa will only inter act if she is being paid too. Just keeping it real... you should try it sometime Lis and Dave!

December 18 2011 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Hannicker

Lisa you are a fake and a phony misleading the public on something your not . The producers of IRT edit your parts to make it seem youe doing dangerious things when your not , for example last season deadliest roads , that was not fuel in those drums .. it was H20. You continue to commit fraud on people by taking there money and falsly portraying yourself. There will be a tell all book done by real IRT drivers that will expose all the behind the scenes tricks that have been played and the way the producers edited IRT to make thing look the way they wanted it to look.

December 18 2011 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Personally, I LOVE it when females insert themselves into a "boys' club"(usually to the chagrin of the fellas who think they're the top dogs) and excell at what they do!! I've been a musician and playing in bands since I was a wee lad and for the most part it was all guys doing it. But in the last couple decades(yeah, I'm old, I'm in my 30's) the ladies have proven that they can rock just as hard, if not harder than, the boys. The same rules apply for other endeavors. Not just trucking(which is mostly male dominated) but ICE ROAD TRUCKING, and motorX? AND be a girly-girl? Lisa rocks!! The fact that she caught flak from those older guys just shows that they felt intimidated by our girls' skills!! And I don't mean to put too fine a point on it, but she's got balls...for days!! And she shows her "true Ballet-ness" while up against the absolute worse environment and situations that most people would pay good money to avoid, while still maintaining a sense of humor and individuality....and looking good too. I could go on and on( I REALLY like to hear myself talk...or watch myself type...tomato/to-mah-to) but the world needs people like Lisa; smart, brave, skilled, confident and very, very cool. And yes...very hot(but that's just me crushing. She's married God-dammit!!) But seriously, whether she likes it or not, this woman is a potential role model and a trail blazer and has earned the respect of not only her peers, but the rest of us as well!! Keep it up girl!!

August 23 2011 at 4:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


August 16 2011 at 10:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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July 12 2011 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wow those trcker babes are so beautiful i wish i had them as long as they dont sexualy harass men at work

June 27 2011 at 12:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How much are they paid per load?

January 29 2011 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Anne's comment

How much are YOU "paid per load"? BAH-DUM-TSHH!! Bad joke, I'm sorry. Would probably be funnier if we were actually speaking. The IRTs get a pretty good chunk ...uh..per load, or per RUN, if you prefer. Anywhere between $800 to $2000 per run, depending on what they're hauling and where thay're taking it. I realize that it's been about 8 months since you asked your question and you probably won't be back to see if anyone answered it but I just couldn't let the "paid per load" thing go. I'm a bad monkey.

August 23 2011 at 4:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jana Cowden

I am a big fan of Ice Road Truckers and absolutely loved IRT. Dave, Lisa and Rick are great. Rick kept me in stitches. I hated to see it end and I hope they will come up with another show on dangerous trucking with the same 3 characters. If Ice Road Truckers returns for another season I hope Hugh is gone. He is a big fat foul mouthed ass who ruins the show in my opinion. Please keep these 2 shows going and Lisa, you are the greatest. You make the show so you go girl.

December 07 2010 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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