Putting the hammer down: Sterling woman to be featured on 'Ice Road Truckers'

Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009

Winter driving can be challenging, but no where near as much so as for truckers driving big rigs carrying loads of more than 88,000 pounds on some of the iciest highways in Alaska.

The daughter of an area man knows exactly how it feels and has been chosen as the focus for the upcoming season of a reality show.

"My daughter, Lisa Kelly, has been chosen as a driver for season three of Ice 'Road Truckers,'" said Mark Clore of Sterling.

"Ice Road Truckers" is a series on the History Channel that illustrates the perils drivers face during the short, but high-paying winter driving season in the arctic. Season's one and two were filmed in the Northwest Territories, Canada, including travel on the Mackenzie River ice road, which runs more than hundreds of miles over frozen river and sea.

"This season they're filming on the (North Slope) Haul Road," Clore said.

More formally known as the Dalton Highway (Alaska Route 11), the Haul Road is a 414-mile road that begins at the Elliott Highway, north of Fairbanks, and ends at Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean and Prudhoe Bay oil fields.

The highway was built as a supply road to support the trans-Alaska pipeline system in 1974 and directly parallels the pipeline. There are only three towns along the route: Coldfoot (population 13) at Mile 175; Wiseman (population 22) at Mile 188; and Deadhorse (25 permanent residents, 3,500-5,000 or more depending on oil production) at the end of the highway at Mile 414.

The extreme northern latitude of the road, combined with so few towns along the way, and little traffic during the winter months, makes the Haul Road one of the most isolated roads in the United States.

"She sends us updates and pictures. It's been fun to follow. She's been hauling 80-foot pipes, big tires, just about anything they send her out to do," Clore said.

As to how Lisa Kelly got into trucking, Clore said she has always been mechanically inclined and just sort of migrated to the hauling industry after graduating from Skyview High School.

"She's been trucking for about seven or eight years now. She made the transition from driving school buses, and she rode dirt bikes before that," he said.

Being a trucker and a prime-time celebrity aren't two things that typically go hand-in-hand, but Clore said he is excited to see his daughter on the reality show.

"It's neat to think she'll be seen on national TV," he said.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.

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