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Ice road truckers have to be ready for everything our winter weather and isolated ice roads can throw at them. Ice Road Truckers was shooting in Alaska at that time.

International headlines about the stranded St. Teresa Point truckers caught the attention of the production company in Los Angeles. Te filming crew showed up at the annual winter roads meeting in Selkirk. “Tey were planning on following another company, and when I saw them there I went and introduced myself. I showed them photos from the front line in St. Teresa Point. Some of us had gone out in pickups to bring food and fuel to the guys stranded. “Brandon Killion, the Ice Road Truckers series producer, was intrigued as it was so different from the show they were doing in Alaska. He decided he wanted to do a couple runs with us that year. Ten, a few weeks before filming started, he contacted us and said we’re going to go exclusively with you this year for Manitoba. We were in our second year of business, so it was a little intimidating. We definitely felt the pressure,” says Mark. Tat season Polar moved the airport building, a three-

part modular structure, up to St. Teresa Point. It was quite the story-line for the show. Vlad, former Polar employee, clipped a power line which took out the power in the whole community. For those who watch the show, Vlad later be- gan rival company VP Express, which is now defunct. “Every year we try to do something bigger and better.

We have a business to run, but we want to provide enter- tainment as well, and we want to keep it interesting. We push the limits. Tere is a lot of freight that has to go up

1. First load: 2009 construction supplies for the new school in St. Theresa Point First Nation, Manitoba.

2. Largest load: 130,000-pound crane to Pikangikum First Nation.

3. Longest load: 85-foot-long roof truss- es for an arena in Red Sucker Lake.

4. Longest ice road in the world: Art Dewey and four other trucks travelled along the route from Thompson to Gillam to Shamattawa to Fort Severn and then to Peawanuck along the coast of Hudson Bay. The trip took seven and a half days.

5. Furthest north they’ve driven: Lisa and Todd drove from Churchill to Seal

32 • Winter 2015

north and a lot of it is interesting freight. If we can help to showcase that and show people what is going on up there on the ice roads, it’s like bragging rights. Tis is what goes on in our back yard every single year,” Mark says. Te show

It’s not only a boon for Polar Industries Ltd, but a boon

for Manitoba to be featured on History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers. You could say it has been unreal. Mark is always surprised by how many people watch the show. It is aired in 38 countries around the world, and he receives calls and emails from people who love the show all the time. “We have a big following in the United Kingdom, South

America and Germany. I’ve had people stop in our shop that came from Germany, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, and the list goes on, that were in Winnipeg and just had to come and see us. We get orders to ship our Polar sweaters and other fan merchandise all over the world,” he says in amazement.

“One of the funniest things that has happened since the

show started occurred when my wife and I were on a holi- day in Mexico. I was in the shower and she’s screaming my name from the other room. I figure it’s a bug or gecko or something and go running out, but when I get in the next room she’s pointing at the TV. Tere I am on the tele- vision, with my voice dubbed over in Spanish on Rutas Mortales, (Ice Road Truckers in Mexico). It was the fun- niest thing ever,” he laughs.

10 hard cold facts about Polar Industries Ltd.

River across Hudson’s Bay with cat trains hauling an excavator and construction materials.

6. Polar hires drivers from some of the communities they service and constantly maintains a 30 per cent First Nations work force.

7. They’ve been filming with History Channel for the last five years and are hoping for a 6th season.

8. The show is seen in 38 countries around the world, U.K. has the largest following.

9. Giving back: Polar gives back to the First Nation communities they service as

well. Last season, Polar donated the cost of a trailer, fuel and driver, Alex Debogor- ski, to haul donations from a food drive organized by Clarina Taylor of Gimli (who was responding to a call for help from a resident of the reserve) to St. Theresa Point.

10. Polar Industries made Canadian Small Business Magazine’s PROFIT 500 list- ing as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies in the last five years. They were ranked 31st overall in Canada, first in the transportation and logistics indus- try and first among Manitoba companies, with an astonishing growth rate of 2,416% in the last five years.

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