Todd Dewey On Trucking, Close Calls and Living Life

Todd Dewey, the trucker turned truck boss turned reality TV star, was gracious enough to carve time out of his busy schedule to be one of our first interviews for this blog. You might know Todd from starring in History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers TV Show, and prior to that, making his TV debut in Ax Men.

Interview with Co-star of Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men, Todd Dewey

Todd Dewey loves putting himself in the way of danger. He’s seen more remarkable events in his line of work than most see in a lifetime. He’s a self-proclaimed old-school trucker, though, he’s got ideas for where the trucking industry might be headed in the future.

Before we get started though, Todd wants you to know:

Safety, safety, safety – you’ve probably noticed I’ve been giving a lot of safety glasses away. Nemesis safety glasses have teamed up with me on being safe for safety eyewear (in the workplace).

It was last year, I had one of my tires blow up in my face and I almost lost my eyesight in both eyes. So I’m really keen on the safety.  Always have your safety glasses on now.  I’ve been really keeping up on and really trying to spread-the-word on this– being safe in the workplace!

 

Meet Todd Dewey

Questions and Answers

OnlineTruckers.org (OTO): I read in one of your other interviews that you told the producers of Ice Road Truckers that if they wanted to talk to you (about being a part of the show), they had to jump in your truck and ride along. What was that conversation like?

Todd Dewey: Well, that’s actually a funny story. That’s how I got on the show. It was like six years ago, we were filming the Ax Men because my other TV Show that we did here at home, I’m the Truck Boss and run and operate all the log trucks for Rygaard Logging on the Ax Men TV Show.

So on a Friday, one my drivers got into a fender bender, and I was trying to race home from dumping all the logs.  And on the way back, as a trucker, I’m always looking, “Well, if I’m going to be back on my way to town, I might as well stop to get a load. I think I’ve got enough time to get a load, get to town and take care of this fender-bender deal.”

So I swung up there to go grab a load, while they’re up there filming the show. Well everybody was gone, and the machine was sitting there, grapples are hanging in the wind, ya know.  Nobody around.  I was on a time schedule, and I started throwing a fit because I was pissed because nobody was there to load me!

So I jumped in the loader machine, grabbed my trailer in the back of my log truck, and threw it off my log truck.  Now mind you, this whole time I’m cussing because I’m not in a very good mood.  And, uh, I’m slamming the logs on my truck.

Well, they (film crew) were up there interviewing my cousin, Gabe for the end of the big interviews they do at the end of each day.  And they’re like, “Hey, what does guy think he’s doing? Who does he think he is?” And Gabe’s just is like, “Oh, that’s just my cousin Todd.  Leave him alone.  Don’t bug him, he’s doing it his own thing.”

Anyway, the guy came down right in middle of me not being in a very good mood and said, “Hey, we’re looking for one new person for the Ice Road Truckers Show.  You’re a trucker.  Do you want to do an interview for the TV Show?” And I basically gave him (the look of) I could’ve cared less.  Because I was just in the mood of trying to get going.  I said, “If you ain’t in that truck in five minutes, you ain’t getting your effin’ interview.”  So by the time I strapped the load down, put my binders on and crawled in, he was sitting in there, camera ready and ready-to-go!

So that’s how the interview happened.

And then in the middle of the interview, he was asking some personal questions because he already knew my family kind of from Gabe, and our family history, and personal questions he asked Gabe over all the years of filming.  He started talking about my dad passing away years ago and that was just a touchy subject for me and I was like, “Hey, that’s not really any of your business. We’re doing an interview for a TV Show– we’re not talking about my dad.”

But little did I know that, when they do these interviews, they want the emotion from ya. They want to ask you questions that’s going to make you emotionally spike and see how you are on-camera.

Well, he got a pretty good emotional spike out of it when about the fourth time he asked about my dad and I knocked the camera out of his hand and told him ‘no more’! Because I was really upset that he was trying to ask me the same question over and over.

So I get home, and I told the wife about the interview. She asked how the interview went. I told her, “Yeah, not very good, I don’t think they’ll be calling me!”

They called me. Told me I was up running for the show. When I asked them how they picked me out of all the people they interviewed, they told said, “When you knocked the camera out of that guy’s hand and all the emotion we seen on the TV screen, we knew you were the guy.”

OTO: Considering your experience being on two different reality TV shows, do you feel as comfortable in front of a camera as you do driving your truck now?

Todd Dewey: Oh yeah, after years and years… Like, the first year you’re filming, especially on the ice roads or even up in the woods, you’re really trying to concentrate on your driving: where you’re placing your load at, trying to pay attention to your mirror, where your low bed’s tracking at, trying not to get in the ditch or the mud or the snow or sliding off the road, and then they’re in your face the whole time with a camera asking you questions.  So imagine how insanely crazy that’ll drive ya.

You know, you’re like, “Hey dude, you’re right in my mirror.  I can’t see my trailer.  Get out of my mirror!” And they’re trying to ask you a question and get you on camera. It’s like, sometimes it would get really irritating.  But then after years of doing it, you get real comfortable in the seat, you almost don’t even realize the cameras are there anymore.

It also helps that I’m not a shy guy and I like to say what’s on my mind.  Obviously, if you’ve ever watched the show, you know I love to talk.  And for me being in front of the camera, it was no big deal to begin with.

That’s part of the reason how they picked their personality for the show.  If you’re camera shy, of course, they’re not gonna want you on it because you’re on camera.  So I was never camera shy to begin with, but now after all the years of filming, I’m so comfortable and used to the camera that it’s just, like, climb in the truck and go to work or standing in front of the truck and giving an interview.

OTO: Are there moments now when you’re not around the cameras where you’re now, like, “that would be a great scene for my next TV appearance”?

Todd Dewey: Oh yeah, definitely. Whenever you’re filming during the year, of course, things do happen. And then you make a scene out of it or do whatever.

Or, you know, sometimes during the off season, if I’m trucking down the road and something does happen to me, I’m like, “Oh man, that would be a good scene on Ice Road Truckers Show.”

The main thing about that show that a lot of fans don’t get is: they think we’re out there being complete dumb asses.  What we’re doing is showing what does happen to people who do drive the ice roads.

A lot of stuff does happen to us out there. I mean, you really do get stuck, you really do have snow storms, you really can go through the ice, people really do get stuck, you really do have to help each other out.  But some of those scenes, we will replay just to show where we’re located, and here’s what happens and here’s what you need to do to get out of that situation.

So when I’m in the off season, and something does majorly happen up here in the mountains in my truck, I’m like, “Oh man, that would’ve been an awesome piece on the ice roads,” and then I’ll remember it for the next season and then see if it can happen.

OTO: For people considering entering into the trucking business now, do you have a perspective for where the trucking industry is headed?  Will trucking, in your opinion, be automated in our lifetime?

Todd Dewey: Oh, my personal opinion about trucking now, because I’m such an old school trucker being a logger from the mountains and trucking off-road all the time, I have a hard time with all the new computerized trucks. And that’s obviously where the industry is heading.

From the States to even in England, the things these guys are coming up with, you know… They got some trucks over in England now that you drive them down the road, and you can’t even change lanes– it won’t let you change lanes– because it reads the lane markers where the truck’s at, and you can yank on the steering wheel, but it won’t let you go. That computerized stuff is just unbelievable.

For anybody who’s trying to get into trucking, that’s just such a wide subject because obviously, the whole world is hurting for truck drivers.  I mean, we’re so far behind in the truck driving jobs. It’s basically part of the pay because of how many hours you’ve got to put in, and a lot of times you’ve got to be on the road and away from families, you don’t make enough money.. And, boy, that’s just such a wide question.

Now, if they want to be an ice road trucker or a log hauler or even on-the-road, you’ve got to dedicate yourself.  You’ve got to learn your truck inside and out.  You’ve got to know everything about your truck– not just be a driver of the truck, but you also need to be able to work on it, too.  And be able to diagnose a problem when it happens so that you can keep on trucking and not be stranded and be waiting on someone to come and save ya.

OTO: For truckers considering entering into showbiz, what advice might you give them?

Todd Dewey: Haha well, the only thing I can say is that if you ever do get the chance to go into show biz, don’t think the hype that it is, like, “oh, you’re gonna become a millionaire, you’re on TV” because that’s not the case at all, whatsoever.  I mean, we’re not movie stars from Hollywood.  We’re just actual, normal everyday truck drivers who have drove trucks all of our lives to support and take care of our families and we just happened to be at the right place at the right time and got asked to be filmed while we were doing our jobs.  And that’s all it really comes down to.

But, when you get into the show biz, you’ve got to remember: not everyone is gonna like ya. You get people who love ya, and you get people who hate ya.  I guess that’s just part of the job.

Me being a ole backwoods, redneck hillbilly from up in the mountains, it was really hard at first taking the negativity and people (saying), “Oh you don’t even know how to drive a truck.. You probably never even sat in a truck!”  When they’re judging you when they don’t even know you, but that’s just a part of being on TV, so you kind of get to the point where you just blow it off– it’s no big deal.  If you don’t like me, then I guess you don’t need to talk to me.

Showbiz is show biz. I mean, it has grown into, for me, it’s been a huge blessing for me and my family.  I’ve been driving a truck for 25 years, 16 hours a day– because remember, we drive in the mountains where we don’t need have to keep log books so I drive as many hours up there (in the mountains) as I want to.  I’m not on the highway; I’m off-road.

So we drive those kind of hours in the logging business up here– that’s what the log truck drivers drive. They put in 16 hours a day, 5-6 days a week and I did that for 25 years and of course, all my heavy equipment and moving big machinery into the mountains.  So after I started doing this show, of course, it was a break away from my trucks at home, but of course, it was right back into another truck where you’re doing the same thing on the ice roads.

But now it’s turned into where I’ve actually got some ins over in the UK and Europe, and I host a big truck show over there in the UK during the summer time and spend a little time away from having to just truck 16 hours a day, 6 days a week– where I’ve actually been out of a truck for a little bit, and my knees are starting to feel a little bit better and my elbows are feeling better. So it’s been a blessing.

OTO: When you’re not in your truck, what keeps you busy nowadays?

Todd Dewey: Me and Lisa Kelly, for the last two years, we’ve done eight different shows a summer over in Europe (all over the UK) and we’re the hosts of a big truck show over there called TruckFest.  It’s a massive truck show. They have a celebrity guest over there for signing, meeting with the fans. The TV Show, Ice Road Truckers, is huge over there because they don’t see snow like we do.  And if they even get a light coating of snow on the road– they’re done, they shut down– there’s nobody on the roads.  So the show– to them– they’re just totally fascinated by what we do and how we drive the trucks up there on the ice roads. So it’s a huge hit, and they love having us come over there.

So eight times during the summer between May and September, I travel to the UK– eight times (per year)!

One of my favorite hobbies at home is I love to go Jeeping.  Me and my wife have a couple of 4-wheel drive Jeeps and we’re in a little club here in the peninsula Northwest.  We do a whole bunch of Jeeping.  Matter of fact this Sunday, we’re gonna put the Jeeps on the trailer, head back up and go get muddy head-to-toe!

OTO: Do you have any hidden talents?

Todd Dewey: Funny you ask, even though I have hands the size of a gorilla, I can play the piano like nobody’s business!  And not only the piano, I can play the trumpet, saxophone, the guitar.  That’s always a hidden talent I’ve had– I’ve always loved playing music.

Even when I was on the ice roads, I used to take a keyboard with me in my truck. So when I’m on the ice roads late at night, and there’s nothing to do, I play my keyboard back in the sleeper.

OTO: Do you have any favorite trucking songs?

Todd Dewey: I don’t really have any favorite ones, but I listen to a lot of older country, like, Johnny Cash– people like that. I do like popping in a CD like that and just letting it play all day long.

Other than that, when I’m up in the mountains hauling that heavy equipment, my mouth and my lips are so dry, I’ve got the music down and windows open and I’m so good where that lowboy is going I ain’t thinking about nothing else!

OTO: Craziest thing you’ve ever seen while driving?

Todd Dewey: The craziest thing I’ve ever seen was a tree fall from the tower– when they were logging — and go right across the cab with a guy inside the cab and it killed him.  I’ve seen a couple pretty crazy accidents up in the woods throughout logging.

I’ve seen several people killed: from either hand cutters, or trees falling the wrong direction, or a log falling on a log truck coming out of the woods. So I’ve seen a lot of crazy things in my line of work.

Three years ago I think it was, on the ice roads, where we were just about to cross one of the big ice crossings during a blizzard, and a guy on a grader from one of the communities was trying to put the snow off, and the grader all of a sudden just disappeared and fell thru the ice and it killed him.  We were just getting ready to cross it with a loaded truck so imagine how that would make you feel.

OTO: If fans want to reach out and stay connected with you, how do you suggest they do so?

Todd Dewey: I’ve got your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are my main ones. I do all my own communication with my fans.  Answer all questions, do lot’s of giveaways, and stay connected with them because it’s so much fun to communicate with them and see what they have to say.

Key Takeaways

  • Take it from a truck boss: know your truck inside and out.
  • Keep a running list of scene-ideas in case you ever get the opportunity to be a star in a TV show.
  • Not everyone is going to like you if you do get an opportunity to work in showbiz.
  • It takes dedication to be a trucker.
  • Take it from Todd: always wear your safety glasses — be safe in the workplace!

We hope you enjoyed our interview with Todd Dewey.  If you enjoyed this article please consider sharing it with your friends, and give us your review– what stood out for you– by ‘creating your own review’ in the section below.

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Average rating:  
 4 reviews

It sounds just like him, great insights into the show!

by Jeff D. on Todd Dewey Interview

Insightful and entertaining, I would have never guessed he was a musician. Great interview all around!

This is awesome, he's one of my favorites from the Ice Road Truckers show!

Great article. I can picture him doing all this!