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Famed ice road truck on display
Alex Debogorski's truck from season one of Ice Road Truckers is now parked in front of Northern Frontier Visitors Centre; cardboard cutout of reality TV star may follow

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Saturday, May 14, 2016

One of Yellowknife's best-known celebrities and one if its staunchest tourism ambassadors is leaving his mark - and his truck - at the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre. Ice Road Truckers reality television star Alex Debogorski has lent the visitors centre a truck he drove in season one of the show.

NNSL photo/graphic

Ice Road Trucker TV star Alex Debogorski stands in front of the truck that he is lending to the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre. The truck, which Debogorski says was used in the first season of the show, is now parked out front of the centre and the plan is to have a cardboard cutout of Debogorski to go along with it. - John McFadden/NNSL photo

There is also a tentative plan to create a cardboard cutout of the iconic trucker and put it in front of the truck so that visitors can get a photo of themselves with a likeness of the larger than life Debogorski.

Tracy Therrien, executive director of the visitors centre, did not want to reveal too much about the cardboard cutout plan until all the details are finalized.

The jovial Debogorski said the centre approached him with the idea earlier this year and he was all for lending out his truck and helping in any endevour that could boost tourism in the city.

"It's not my department - the attraction part - I'm just happy they are storing it instead of me storing it," Debogorski chuckled. "I spent an awful lot of time exposing myself to the rest of the world in different places. I might as well be here in Yellowknife when people come to visit."

Debogorski is not just Yellowknife's best known trucker - he truly is one of the most famous truck drivers on the planet. He said he is heading to Salem, Oregon at the end of this month to make an appearance with the American Historical Antique Truck Society. Debogorski said that will be followed by another appearance at a show in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He's also made several appearances at shows in the British Isles. Debogorski added that he doesn't just attend these events to promote himself and the TV show - but also to sell Yellowknife and the territory as a spectacular tourism destination.

"I've passed out over two thousand pounds of NWT brochures in my travels and autographed every one of them - tens of thousands of brochures," he said.

Therrien said that Debogorski's celebrity status makes him invaluable as a spokesperson and advocate for the visitors centre as well as the territory's tourism industry.

"Alex is the first ambassador who has made a difference in putting us on the map," she said. "Since Ice Road Truckers has been on the air, I can be in Arizona or on a cruise ship and say I'm from Yellowknife and people know exactly where it is. He has a huge fan base. This is going to thrill his fans coming to visit Yellowknife."

Debogorski said he wishes there were more tourism ambassadors like him in Yellowknife. He added that it does not take much - just a willingness to help out-of-towners feel at home.

It's not just the Northern lights tourists come to see - it's the people," Debogorski said. "When you see a tourist, you should take them home and feed them dinner, take them out on the lake. I travel. I forget some of what I've seen but I remember the individuals I've met. If tourists don't make a return visit it's because we've done something wrong."

Debogorski has been a mainstay of Ice Road Truckers since it debuted on the History Channel in 2007. The show chronicles the adventures of the drivers who guide their rigs on winter roads crossing frozen lakes in the NWT, Alaska and northern Manitoba. The show has aired in Canada, the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

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