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Eastern Report

Ice Road Trucker Star, Alex Debogorski, Gears Up for Special Olympics By George Fullerton


nne Marie Shannon, Coordinator of the 3rd Annual World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics Nova Scotia, scheduled for September 20, 2014 said the enthusiasm for the event is building in a big way. At mid-July she explained there were 112 trucks of a 140 truck convoy already committed, and the word was abuzz that Honorary Convoy Marshal and Ice Road Truckers star, Alex Debogorski, will attend. Debogorski has been a central part of the History Channel’s 8-year long Ice Road Truckers reality show. As convoy marshal, Alex will ride in the number two truck, following the lead position which is reserved for the truck and trucker who raises the highest amount of pledges. Funds raised go to support athletic, educational and social activities for people with intellectual disabilities. The Nova Scotia Convoy is one of many convoys across the continent which combined with others makes this the World’s Largest Convoy for Special Olympics. In addition to catching a glimpse of Alex in the convoy through the streets of Dartmouth, the public can also meet Alex at a public event scheduled for Friday afternoon at the Enfield, Nova Scotia Irving Big Stop. Irving Oil has thrown their support behind the Nova Scotia Convoy, signing on as a presenting sponsor. The scheduled Big Stop appearance is the best chance for fans to get up close to meet Alex as the general public’s access will be restricted. Of course, if anyone is really keen to get up close with the reality TV star they only have to register for the Convoy and sign up with a big mitt full of pledges. 8    August 2014

Since Alex is making a commitment to this important cause, Eastern Trucking News, thought it only appropriate to interview Alex, arguably one of the most famous truckers in the world. Speaking from his hometown in Yellowknife, NWT, Alex explained his interest in the Special Olympics event: “Special Olympics event is very important to me. I did a Convoy for Special Olympics in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a few years back and met a Special Olympian and we had a great time. It was an exciting and very important event for him and we had a great time doing the Convoy. I kept in contact with him for a time, but unfortunately he has since passed away. So many of these Special Olympians struggle with, more than just a few issues in their lives.” Alex continued, “I still have a place for the Special Olympics movement, and I like to support the effort whenever I can. Special Olympics is a powerful movement, and it is important everyone support their efforts.” He went on to comment that fund raising Convoys are an excellent opportunity for truckers to participate in community efforts. Most truck drivers are on the road for long periods of time, away from their family and when they are home something like a Convoy is a good way for them to give back to their community. Out on the road drivers face a lot of burdens; they work extremely hard, they deal with increased regulations, and always face the risk of mechanical breakdowns. They miss a lot of important things going on at home; birthdays, graduations, anniversaries. They miss a lot of family and community events. Trucks and driving

are a big part of their life, so if they can combine home time with a little of truck business mixed in it is good for them and their family.” Participating in Convoys by gathering pledges and driving in the convoy shows their dedication to their community, and also puts a smile on faces, explained Alex. He continued, “Fund raising convoys are an opportunity where the general public gets up close to a truck and puts a face of a driver to the trucks. They see trucks every day, but they don’t understand very well the challenges that the drivers deal with. Convoy events are a chance to meet drivers and others from the industry, and maybe gain a little better understanding of the industry and the challenges the drivers face. We aren’t ogres. Some of us might look like ogres, or smell like ogres after we have been out on the road for a spell”, he said, punctuating his jibe with his trademark belly laugh, “We are just people, working hard to make a living for our families.” Alex was born in Alberta and has lived the past thirty seven years in Yellowknife. He boasts that he has eleven children and nine grandchildren, has 150 vehicles including a 1994 Freightliner in his back yard. The Freightliner had seen duty doing ice road work, but over the past few seasons the TV gig has taken him away to other regions of the north and he drives whatever truck History Channel has arranged. “I could bring my own truck and make a little more money, maybe, but I have to get it there and get it back out, and you never know what mess might happen. It is a lot simpler to fly in, jump in somebody’s truck, work

Alex Debogorski, a central part of the History Channel’s 8-year long Ice Road Truckers reality show, aaid: “I am really looking forward to participating in the Nova Scotia Special Olympics Convoy. I have not been in eastern Canada much, and I know there are a lot of ‘Ice Road Truckers’ fans out there.” the season to get it done, and jump on a plane and get home.” Alex recalled, “When I came to Yellowknife in 1976, at the time we crossed ice over the Mackenzie River to get to town in the winter. In the early 1980’s I began hauling north on ice roads. We work two months, February and March usually, but it all depends on the freeze up. For two months, you just run as long and as hard as you can go, then it is done, and you go home and on to something else.”

In the ice road ‘off season’, Alex concentrates on work with his gravel truck, hoe and dozer, operating around Yellowknife under his banner Eagle North Contracting. In addition to making topsoil, Alex does landscaping contracts in his community. Alex concluded his talk by reiterating his interest in the Special Olympics: “I am really looking forward to participating in the Nova Scotia Special Olympics Convoy. I have not been in eastern Canada much, and I know there are a lot of ‘Ice Road

Truckers’ fans out there. I am looking forward to meeting a lot of them, and meeting a good bunch of Special Olympians. All sorts of people come out and support this cause that is so important to the life of the Special Olympians. I hope to see you all in September.” You can support the Nova Scotia Special Olympics Convoy through Alex’s facebook page, or through truck-convoy-novascotia.


#75 August  

Eastern Trucking News, Issue 75, August 2014