Even if every TV show is destined to end at some point, that surely doesn’t stop audiences from being extremely disappointed when it actually happens. However, while the same could be said about History channel’s show “Ice Road Truckers”, due to its unclear and unconfirmed cancellation, the truth is that many fans have come to terms with the fact the show most-likely won’t be back on air.
That being said, the show’s big fan favorites such as Lisa Kelly are undoubtedly still missed by the audience, who would like to know what’s really up with her career nowadays, if she’s on good terms with her former network, and even if she’s still a trucker.
If you’re one of those who also want to know what happened to Lisa Kelly after “Ice Road Truckers”, then you’re watching the right vid!
What Happened To Lisa Kelly?
Fortunately for all of us, Lisa Kelly was one of the few “Ice Road Truckers” who didn’t abandon public life after the show ended in 2017. Thanks to her official Facebook page, which has amassed almost a million followers, we know many details about her current life, such as that she’s still a trucker, living in Alaska, and doesn’t have any ongoing TV projects.
Lisa is currently an owner operator, an important level up in her career for which she had to make some sacrifices, including moving to Fairbanks from Wasilla, where she had lived for almost a decade. That being said, the toughest part wasn’t just leaving home, but her beloved animals, as she showed in a heartfelt video posted on her Facebook page in which she said goodbye to her ponies. Though it’s clear that she still owns her home and the animals are being taken care of for the time being, she admitted to not knowing exactly when she’ll return home.
As her most loyal fans might remember, Lisa used to work for Carlisle Transportation during her time in “Ice Road Truckers”. However, she apparently left the company not long after the show’s end, and worked for trucker friends for a couple of years, before finally starting this new business.
Online & Fan Projects
It’s known that fame doesn’t always end with positive results, but luckily for Lisa Kelly it did in her case.
While happily establishing her own business is undoubtedly a product of her hard work, her huge popularity has been getting Lisa a lot of sponsorships and deals after the end of “Ice Road Truckers”.
For starters, Lisa often makes public appearances in trucking and anything-automotive exhibitions and fairs, touring North America to attend events such as Dallas’ Great American Trucking Show, and the Quebec’s Diesel Fest in Saint-Eustache, just to name two.
Despite not pursuing an influencer career, Lisa notably gets quite a lot of sponsorships from companies related to the car world. These promotional deals have also opened further opportunities for Lisa, such as getting her online series “Life on the Big Road With Lisa Kelly” in 2021, sponsored by the electronic tracking device company Big Road. This project shows a deeper insight into her current life, becoming the closest thing to a TV series she’s been involved with since “Ice Road Truckers”.
As if that wasn’t enough, in 2021, Lisa started a YouTube channel on which she shares the most relevant content related to her life.
All in all, it’s great to see her so actively pursuing new opportunities, and making the best out of her job.
Why Did The Show End?
“Ice Road Truckers” was surely one of the most beloved reality TV shows from the last decade. Its successful 2007 premiere could be explained by the audience’s attraction to the inherent danger of ice trucking, but what really kept people tuning in season after season besides the obvious drama was the show’s memorable cast.
All of this came to an unfortunate end in 2018, when the show’s renewal never came, after the 11th season wrapped up. Though at first hopeful fans thought maybe History channel was giving the series a short end, in March that year the veteran trucker Alex Debogorski openly admitted he didn’t know exactly what was happening with “Ice Road Truckers”: ‘I have not heard a peep from those guys so I guess the show is in the dustbin of history [pun intended]’, he wrote on a Facebook post.
Not long after, History’s executive producer Susan Ievoli, admitted that the show’s future was undefined.
Regarding the possibility of a spin-off, in 2019 Lisa Kelly suggested that it wasn’t far-fetched, but nothing had been agreed yet: ‘I’m cool if they do. And, if they don’t, I guess I’ll have to go be a real truck driver again. It’s been nice to be a normal person again’, she told Truckers News.
Considering how long it’s been since “Ice Road Truckers” ended, it’s safe to assume that the show isn’t returning any time soon.
Even if “Ice Road Truckers” probably won’t be back on air, it’s never out of place to remember where and how its most memorable stars started.
In the case of Lisa Kelly, regardless of being born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she’s an Alaskan through and through. When she was six years old, her family moved to Sterling, Alaska, where they established themselves on a mini-farm located in a very small town.
Growing up in that environment surely influenced Lisa’s love for animals, and her simple and ble nature, but it also made her learn her father’s strict work ethic.
Her first jobs when still in in high school were in gas stations and convenience stores, until she matriculated and moved back to Michigan to attend Cornerstone University, but where she only lasted a semester: ‘I “knew” what I wanted to do, and wanted to go to a specialty school that mainly taught the kinds of things that I wanted to learn’, she wrote on her now defunct personal website.
Lisa never made it through said school, and instead ended up taking a variety of small jobs before deciding what her next step would be.
Just as many things in life, Lisa Kelly’s debut in the trucking world just naturally happened. After working as a pizza restaurant’s deliverer, and then doing the same job for a bakery, Lisa soon realized that she loved working behind the wheel.
Knowing well that she needed to obtain many certifications to level up her game, she got a job as a school bus driver, which provided her with the necessary free training and licensing she needed to later apply for a trucking job.
Carlisle Transportation was the only truck company that ever took her seriously, giving her a spot as a courier driver which allowed her to use her free time to practice big truck driving.
A year after joining Carlisle, Lisa obtained her trucking license, and some time afterwards, Carlisle invited her to join an ongoing History channel show as its first woman cast member, and not having a problem with it, she easily accepted: ‘I was really excited at first. I was telling everybody, even strangers I didn’t know ‘guess what? I’m going to be on TV’, she confessed to Daily News.
Lisa joined “Ice Road Truckers” in its third season, and rapidly became a fan-favorite. While her popularity keeps bringing her both positive and negative things to this day, the mark Lisa left on the show is impossible to erase.
When “Ice Road Truckers” fourth season was airing in 2010, Lisa was cast to appear in the show’s first and only spin off – “Deadliest Roads”.
This new show took Lisa and her co-stars to the Himalayas in India, where they took big risks to deliver several loads while driving over some of the most dangerous roads on Earth. Despite the danger of it all, Lisa successfully completed her journey of delivering supplies, Hindu statues and even animals up into the Asian mountains. The season wrapped up with her fellow co-stars Rick Yemm and Dave Redmon abandoning their last job in the country for weather reasons, leaving Lisa to become the only one who completed her mission of a load of jet fuel to a rescue team.
The second season, in South America, saw Lisa put her driving skills to the limit again, but this time she wasn’t on the road alone, but with Dave Redmon, who abandoned in the first episode, and left trucker G.W. Boles to become Lisa’s assistant driver. However, even if this time she wasn’t all alone on the road, she admitted that the experience was one of the scariest in her life: ‘In Bolivia, the truck was hanging the outside dual off the cliff most of the time’, she said in a Questions and Answers session on Facebook.
Hiatus From TV
Following “Deadliest Catch” second’s season wrap up, Lisa Kelly took a deserving break from TV. Of course this surprised her fans, but her time off was really something she needed.
Filming the “Ice Road Truckers” fifth season on top of spending several weeks abroad for “Deadliest Catch” definitely took its toll on Lisa, who chose to take things easy for at least a year, and enjoy her normal, simple life away from cameras. However, this doesn’t mean that her work relationship with her camera crews and producers was bad at all – as she affirms some of them even became her friends: ‘it helps having someone to talk to and hang out with and be friends with. It just makes the ride more interesting’, she told Hollywood Soap Box
Despite that, Lisa actually likes driving alone most of the time. As she affirmed in the aforementioned interview, driving is her ‘me time’, which is one of the reasons she doesn’t enjoy seeing herself on TV: ‘it’s just hanging out with cool people, and making friends, and traveling around, and driving different trucks and just having the experience that I enjoy so much’.
Although Lisa returned to the show for the seventh season, her time away from cameras was surely positive for her.
Feud With Co-Stars
It would be far-fetched to say Lisa Kelly had a feud with some of her “Ice Road Truckers” co-stars, but there was a lot of bad blood between them.
Rick Yemm had controversial opinions about Lisa, accusing her of having a ‘diva’ attitude, allegedly not driving ‘90% of the time’, on top of claiming that the show had lied regarding her time behind the wheel: ‘Let’s see, without production manipulation, who are the better drivers: Seasoned drivers, like myself and Dave, or show-made drivers, like Lisa and G.W. They are show-made people’, he told Huliq.
Hugh Rowland also never bit his tongue while criticizing, and once suggested that Lisa was there only for ratings: ‘they brought her in there so guys like me and you will watch the show’, he said on a video posted on the YouTube channel Joshua Nannie.
It’s also well remembered the episode in which he stated she shouldn’t be a driver ‘because she was a girl’.
Despite their claims, Lisa told the Los Angeles Times that she didn’t know where Hugh’s animosity came from: ‘I don’t know if he really does, or that’s just TV banter. I’ve never asked him, and don’t really care’.
Even if receiving such rude treatment from fellow co-workers would have taken a toll on almost anyone, Lisa is notably very confident in paying attention to it.
By debuting in “Ice Road Truckers” third season, Lisa Kelly became the first woman to join the show, a status she maintained until Maya Sieber joined in the fifth season. However, despite all the changes, her hiatus from the series and its ultimate cancellation, Lisa remains one of the most popular stars from the series even to this day.
That being said, not everyone warmed to her at the start. Besides the animosity steamed off from some of her fellow co-stars, Lisa also faced a lot of discrimination in the trucking industry for being a woman. Starting with not being contracted despite being qualified for it in her early career, to also constantly having her abilities underestimated: ‘I had to work twice as hard. I had to pull my weight and everybody else’s and get the job done as fast, or faster”, she told Daily News in 2009.
Although being told several times that she doesn’t look like a trucker surely weren’t the most pleasant experiences, Lisa truly doesn’t care about not fitting people’s stereotypes, and claims that trying too hard ‘doesn’t work’. All in all, Lisa Kelly is more than just a trucker who became famous on TV, she’s actually an example that working hard and being genuine can always put people on the right path of life.