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The untold truth of ‘Ice Road Truckers’ star

Known from movies

Short information

Date of birth December 8, 1980, March 5, 1970
Died August 15, 2013, Altadena, California, United States August 15, 2013, Altadena, California, United States
Husband Trave Kelly, Robert Joseph Gilliam

Lisa Kelly is an American truck driver and TV personality born on December 8, 1980 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. She is known for appearing on the History Channel show “Ice Road Truckers” and its spin-off “Deadliest Roads”.

Early life

Lisa Kelly’s childhood was spent in Sterling, Alaska after her family moved there when she was six years old. She quickly got used to the new lifestyle on her family’s mini-farm, learned to ride horses and became interested in dirt bikes at an early age. However, the most important knowledge she gained these days came from her father: “I grew up on a farm and my father had a good work ethic, so I always do my best.”

After graduating from high school, Lisa returned to her hometown of Michigan to attend Cornerstone University.


First steps

Although Lisa enjoyed her time in college, she never finished her studies due to her new found interest in outdoor activities, she told Esquire, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had gone to university and I liked school. I started delivering pizza and I decided I liked being outside the building, so I started riding a school bus to get my driver’s license.”

Lisa went back to Alaska and decided her dream job was to drive trucks, then tried to get hired by various trucking companies, though her attempts were unsuccessful as she was denied the job for being a “delicate looking” woman.

It wasn’t until she contacted trucking company Carlile Transportation that she got her first chance with trucks: “A lot of companies wouldn’t hire me, but Carlile was like, yeah, we’ll give you a chance. They didn’t look at what was on the outside.’ (…) ‘I had actually never been in a truck before working at Carlile and I announced before they hired me that I wanted to do that.’

As a woman in a male-dominated field, however, the recognition of her colleagues as drivers did not come naturally: ‘I had to work twice as hard. I had to pull my weight and everyone else’s and get the job done as quickly or faster.”

Not having a commercial driver’s license, Lisa spent her early years working for Carlile as a courier driver.

Lisa Kelly

However, she never lost her motivation to become a truck driver and practiced heavy driving on her company’s field. By the time she officially got her driver’s license, she started running local trails and then started on ice roads, which she became an expert at.

Ice road truckers

With several years of truck transportation experience, Lisa Kelly joined “Ice Road Truckers” in 2009. suggestion from the transport company: ‘They (producers) were trying out people within the company, and the boss recommended me. He thought I would be an interesting character. I know they really had to fight to get a girl on the show, and in the end I did well, so they let other girls in.”

This History Channel’s show has been running since 2007 and follows the road life of several truckers as they drive on dangerous icy roads in Alaska and Canada. Lisa Kelly’s first appearance on the show was in its third season and became a fan favorite in the following years.

During her time in “Ice Road Truckers,” Lisa teamed up with senior trucker and driving partner Darrell Ward to co-found Polar Industries. However, Ward tragically died in an accident in August 2016 when the plane he was piloting crashed near a Montana airport.

In 2018, Lisa Kelly spoke about her feelings about Ward’s death, and no longer working alongside him: ‘It was sad. It didn’t really dawn on me until I went back there (to the show) and didn’t have my partner anymore.

It also put a lot of pressure on me to get things done because Darrell usually took care of a lot of things, like arranging loads and hauling loads over really long roads. I could only take one with me, but he ran a lot faster than me, so he could get there real quick and back real quick while I might still be sleeping on the side of the road somewhere.”

Lisa also had problems running Polar Industries on her own. However, she got help from someone exceptionally close to Ward: “I got Reno, his son, to help me. It was also very good to work with him. The first year he was there, he was kind of a young punk boy. And the second he came over, he had really matured a lot and super knowledgeable and a lot nicer. He was fun to work with the second time around.’

deadliest roads

In 2011, Lisa Kelly faced new career challenges when she appeared in the “Deadliest Roads” spin-off “Ice Road Truckers” produced and broadcast on the History Channel. During the show’s two seasons, truck drivers drove on many dangerous routes in different countries. For Lisa, this adventure turned out to be a completely new experience: ‘We drove in India, Bolivia and Peru. It was really scary, but a lot of fun, and it challenged me. I thought it was cool that you could see what people in other countries are doing. So I personally found that more interesting than Ice Roads. India was my first time out of the country other than going to Canada. I was dropped in the middle of India and thought ‘holy culture shock’.

Come to the Dieselfest tomorrow!

Posted by Lisa Kelly on Thursday, June 13, 2019

Private life


In 2004, Lisa Kelly met motorcycle mechanic Traves Kelly while looking for a Kawasaki 125 motorcycle to buy. Due to their shared love of cycling, the couple hit it off and dated for four years until they tied the knot in 2008. Traves, who now works as a plumber and is an Aleut Native, is open about Lisa’s career: ‘I have a very understanding husband. He gives me the freedom to go away for so many months, and it’s great.”

Currently, the couple owns a 2-acre property in Wasilla, Alaska.


Besides her love of cargo transport, Lisa Kelly has also found many hobbies such as snowboarding, hang gliding and is an accomplished cyclist.

She is also an animal lover and owns a miniature horse and a large horse named Sky, both of which live in her small shed at home. Lisa also revealed that she rescues horses: “Usually from people who don’t have the resources to care for them or figure out the medical issues they have,” she told Diesel Spec.

Lisa also adopted a dog while filming ‘Deadliest Roads’ in India, though she couldn’t keep him at the time she came to the US: “He (dog) went home to Hollywood with my producer. There are so many dogs on the streets in India, starving, and I felt like if I adopted a dog, I would be doing my part. So I rescued a little puppy and kept him in the truck almost all season.

I couldn’t take him home because I was in an apartment, but my producer fell in love with him.’

Lisa also rescued a dog in Peru and a cat in Canada.

Net value

Although trucking on ice is an extremely dangerous job, it is very rewarding economically. On averagedoes a truck driver in this field have a salary of $250,000.

Because of this, Lisa Kelly’s estimated net worth is $600,000 which is a result of her work as an ice truck driver in addition to her income from appearing in “Ice Road Truckers”.


Lisa Kelly is a beautiful woman of white ethnicity. Her hair is naturally blonde and her eyes are green. Although her stature and weight are unknown, she has a remarkably slim figure.

Interesting facts

She was considered a ‘tom-boy’ growing up.

She doesn’t like big cities, prefer to live in small towns: ‘I am a country girl at heart.’

Her horse Sky is actually the horse she grew up with. Although it was sold by her family when Lisa went to college, she found it and bought it again.

General information

First and last name Lisa Kelly
Date of birth December 8, 1980, March 5, 1970
Died August 15, 2013, Altadena, California, United States August 15, 2013, Altadena, California, United States
Height 1.7 meters, 1.7 meters
Profession Truck driver, actor
Education The Theater School at DePaul University
Nationality American, American


Husband Trave Kelly, Robert Joseph Gilliam
Parents Thomas C. Kelly, Linda Diane Grimm


Music groups Celtic woman
TV shows Ice Road Truckers, that ’70s show

Links to social profiles




Title Year Status Character
Ice road truckers 2007-2017 Documentary about the TV series Herself – Ice Road Trucker / Herself – Ice Road Trucker: Polar Industries / Ice Road Trucker / …
Ice road truck drivers canada 2014 Documentary about the TV series herself
Luciana at night 2013 TV serials herself
IRT: Deadliest Roads 2010-2011 TV serials Self – truck driver
Late Show with David Letterman 2010 TV serials herself

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia


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