Hugh Rowland’s Decades Driving Through the Ice Roads

(Last Updated On: Dec 1, 2017)

Hugh Rowland is a Canadian truck driver, entrepreneur, and TV star who has been described as a man of divine and challenging spirit. He is best known for his role in the History Channel’s reality television series “Ice Road Truckers” (IRT). Hugh had been a strong-willed truck driver decades before the show premiered, but the show that chronicled his efforts and that of his crew made him popular as it has been viewed by millions in the US, Australia, UK, New Zealand, and Canada.

Between 2007, when the series premiered, till 2014, Rowland served as the main truck driver and made up to 112 appearances. The show followed the exploits of long-haul truckers as they ply the harsh terrain of Canada’s Northwest Territory and Alaska, connecting drilling and mining crews to mainland supplies. This ‘ice roads’ are actually frozen lakes that are passable at certain time of the year. Rowland, over the years, have proved himself as a trucker that gets things done. He has delivered severally under tight schedule.

Birth and Early Life

Hugh Rowland was born in 1957 (50 years) in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. He is a son of farmers and spent most of his early days in the farm. He is of French descent. The tough driver has not shared much information about growing up and educational background, but has stated that he grew up driving around the family farm. According to him, he has been driving when he was just about 6 years and has not stopped ever since. He started with the standards and then gravitated to the trucks slowly. At the age of 15, Rowland started plying the ‘ice road’ in the Northwest Territories. From the moment he laid his hands on his big rig licence he has been on the ice roads.


Rowland had spent about two decades driving through the ice roads. He started his venture as a driver, delivering several loads and building his financial muscle. With time, Rowland was able to buy more truck and invest in several other business interests. As at the time Ice Road Truckers premiered, Rowland had four trucks on the road. The trucks were all registered under the R & R Hoe Services, which Rowland owns. He was at the “The Crows Nest” which he had been driver long before the show started. The other drivers that drove for him were Drew Sherwood, Rick Yemm, and Todd White.

In the first season of the show, all of his hired drivers ended up leaving the ice road prematurely due to different reasons. The first to leave was White who was banished for excessive speeding in the fifth episode. Sherwood was the next to leave due to the fact that his truck broke down severally and he had to call it quit at the seventh episode. The working conditions of Rowland’s trucks were called into question again in the ninth episode of the show after heated arguments.

Hugh Rowland had to hire another driver after Sherwood left. The new man was named Danny Reese and he was able to finish the show. Rowland was not able to finish the season with “The Crows Nest” as it was sideswiped by another driver in the very last episode. He had the finish the season with the truck that was originally driven by Yemm.

Asides from the trucking business, Rowland has built other successful businesses. He explained in one interview that he is mechanically inclined. He owns a big truck shop where he does all kinds of mechanical stuff. He also owns an excavation company with several caterpillars, excavators, track machines, trucks and other and other heavy machineries.

Exit from the IRT

While viewers anticipated the return of the ninth season of the Ice Roads Truckers, nobody thought Rowland will not return. The “Polar Bear”, as he liked to be called, was the mainstay of the first eight seasons of the show had had an accident in the previous season, and being the tough guy he was, viewers expected that he will return despite that. It was later learnt that Rowland had left the show due to a lawsuit he filed in 2014. In the suit, he claimed that a producer’s reckless driving had been responsible for injuries he sustained in an accident. He claimed that he had sustained severe and permanent injuries and her wife collaborated the claims by stating that she was deprived of “love, companionship, and the enjoyment of sexual relations.”

Other TV Appearances

Asides from IRT, Rowland has made other television appearances. He appeared in two episodes of the Primetime Emmy Award-winning talk-show “Jimmy Kimmel Live”. He also made an appearance in another Primtime Emmy Award-winning sow “Late Night With Conor O’Brian in 2008.


In addition to his TV works, Hugh Rowland has appeared in a number of movies though they are all based on the TV series IRT. He appeared in “Ice Road Truckers: Off the Ice in 2007. In 2011, he appeared in “Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads.

Net Worth

Hugh Rowland has made a lot of money from his trucking business, his television appearances, as well as other business interests. He has invested heavily in the trucking business and has diversified into excavation and related activities. His television appearances has also contributed meaningfully to net-worth. Currently, his net-worth stands at $3 million and is likely to grow because of his numerous business interests and investments.

Personal Life

Hugh Rowland is married to Dianne Rowland and the couple live together in their home in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. When Rowland filed a lawsuit against “Ice Road Truckers” and producer, Will Morrison, about an accident, the wife collaborated with him. According to the couple, Rowland suffered permanent injuries as a result of the accident and some important aspect of his life, including sexual performance was affected. The accident happened when Rowland was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by Will Morrison. He insisted that Morrison’s reckless driving was the main reason behind the accident. He also alleged negligence on the part of the producer and “Ice Road Truckers”.

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