When I rode with Alaskan Haul Road driver George Spears in the summer of 2006, he was planning to retire in the next year or so. However, he kept postponing the day.
Then he was asked to stay for production of the third season of the History Channel’s “Ice Road Truckers” during the 2008-2009 winter. It was the first time the show was done on the Dalton Highway, known as the Haul Road, between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay.
Spears says season four is also on the Haul Road, with many of the same characters. The producers filmed Spears’ retirement party, so if that makes the final edit, viewers will get one last look at him.
“They wanted to make it official that I took off and left,” Spears said this week from his home in Greenup, Ill. That’s near … well, it’s not really near anything, but it’s on I-70 west of Terre Haute, Ind. Spears has a farm there, as well as his mother and two sisters – and no shortage of fans.
“I didn’t realize that many people were going to watch that crazy show,” Spears says. “Everywhere you go, people recognize you.”
And some of the attention is from companies wanting him to drive, but he’s only interested in various personal projects. “I ended up hauling corn to town for the old boy that farms my place,” he says. “I tell you what, I looked good in that old day cab.”
Those going to the Mid-American Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., might get a glimpse of Spears, who plans to attend all three days, March 25-27. He’s been asked to help with the Rockwood Products booth, though he says he also really wants to see the show, so look for him elsewhere on the floor, too.
The next season of “Ice Road Truckers” will launch this summer, featuring some returning drivers and two new ones, says History Channel spokeswoman Vicky Kahn. “This season will focus on monster loads that require dual trucks as well as an ice road over a river,” she says.