History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers had a good long run with its 11 seasons. Not many truck drivers can last very long out in the harsh snow storms of Canada and Alaska, but there was one woman who knew she had what it took. Lisa Kelly was originally featured as the first and only woman on the reality TV show until cast member Maya Sieber was introduced, but she quickly became a popular character until the show ended in 2017.
Originally born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lisa’s family made the big move to Wasilla, Alaska when she was just six years old. She claimed that she had no intention of becoming a truck driver, but watching her parents’ medical careers scared her from going the same route. She returned to Grand Rapids for a second time to attend Cornerstone University, but later dropped out. Instead, she held a wide variety of small jobs, including working at a gas station and as a school bus driver. It wasn’t until she had a job as a pizza delivery driver that she realized she loved being behind the wheel. This ultimately pushed her into getting her CDL.
Lisa Kelly’s Ice Road Truckers Career
In an interview during Trucking HR Canada’s annual Women with Drive event, Lisa opened up and gave people an inside look into what it was like showcasing her career as an American trucker on the dangerous Alaskan roads for the show.
Lisa now has an estimated net worth of $500,000, but it was definitely a grind to get where she is today. Lisa landed her first big rig job with a trucking company by the name of Carlile Transportation. It was there that she realized just how hard she had to work to prove herself. She said that because she was a woman, she felt as if people were waiting for her to fail, and that she would be quick to get called out on mistakes that other drivers would normally get away with.
Her boss forwarded a number for the TV show and asked if she wanted to be part of it, and Lisa agreed before she even knew what it was about. After getting more info, it was made clear that she was picked to be “eye candy” for the viewers. This only motivated her further to prove that she was capable of more than just looking good. The more she drove, the bigger her fan base got. While in the long run she may not have been portrayed exactly how she wanted in the show, she still undoubtedly proved that she was a hard-working woman.
Many articles came out with Lisa as the subject, but they focused on looks more than anything. When asked how she felt about an article calling her the “Sexiest Trucker Alive,” she chuckled and noted that it was better than being known as the fattest trucker alive. Regardless, her time on the show granted her with more fame than she had before, and she talked about the multiple fans that stop her along her journeys.
Not only was she part of the show for eight seasons, but she also was involved in the spinoff, IRT: Deadliest Roads with Rick Yemm and Alex Debogorski, where she spent a couple of months driving in India, Bolivia, and Peru. In later years of IRT, she began working for Darrell Ward’s new company, before his death after season 10. After finishing off the last season with the show, she’s extremely grateful for her time spent on screen, and admitted, “I don’t know how it went so long. I’m just pleasantly surprised.”
Lisa Kelly’s Personal Life
Still residing in Alaska, Lisa has been married to Traves Kelly since 2008, but they do not have any kids. Traves is an Aleut Native Alaskan and big into motocross, which is perfect for Lisa. Oh, did we mention that she was a state freestyle motocross champion back in the day? In her spare time, Lisa also enjoys riding dirt bikes, as well as horse riding, snowboarding, skydiving, and hang gliding. Safe to say she enjoys living life on the edge.
Lisa is also a big animal lover. She owns a miniature horse named Rocky and a cat named Tanzi. During her time on IRT: Deadliest Roads, she even brought a puppy for the ride, which she named Rampur Jackson. After the show was finished, the puppy was happily taken home by one of the producers from the show.
Lisa proved to everyone that just because she has good looks and blonde hair, doesn’t mean she’s blind to hard work. This chick is probably tougher than most of the men on the roads today. Maybe one day we will see her return to the television screen for another show, but until then, we wish her the best of luck out on the roads.
This post was originally published on October 1, 2020.