Saturday, May 25, 2013
Driver: It's the Top Gun of truck Driving
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "It's the Top Gun of truck drivers," says Ronald Mangum, a.k.a. "Porkchop", cast member of 'Ice Road Truckers'
For Ronadl Mangum, driving on roads made of snow and ice is a way of life.
"This is a road that is nothing but gravel and you can't drive on it but 2-3 months out of the year, once the snow gets built up on it enough and it freezes hard enough to where you can make it up there and go out over the ocean," says Mangum.
From January to March of this year, Mangum was one of the stars of the History Channel's hit reality show, 'Ice Road Truckers,' viewers know him as "Porkchop."
"You have one truck stop for 491 miles, whereas here, you have one about every exit," says Mangum.
He's among an elite group of only 500 drivers world-wide who can drive in such extreme conditions, like crossing the frozen arctic ocean.
"It took us a full day to go out and back," says Mangum.
All with danger lurking the entire way.
"At any moment you could go through the ice and you're gone," says Mangum.
The temperature outside many times is more than sixty degrees below zero.
Crandall Sims reporting, "Because of the extreme temperatures, drivers must wear protective gear at all time, such as what I have on. What you see here is just one layer of the gear, there are actually three more layers to this. Drivers must wear this, if not there skin could freeze in a matter of seconds."
The job is tough to say the least, even for his son Jackson.
"When I'm sleeping I keep dreaming that he's going to fall through the ice," says 8 year old Jackson Mangum, "Porkchop's" son.
Yet, Jackson along with his sister and Mom are the very reason "Porkchop" does this.
Mangum says he makes up to $2,000 for every 491 miles, compare that to here.
"For that 500 miles, you're making about 150 bucks," says Mangum.
So for him, he's making a better life for his family, but the danger of the job never leaves his mind.
"Make right with your maker, know that at anytime you're out there, that can be it, you can go through and you ain't coming home," says Mangum.
Wind: 6 MPH
Humidity: 55 %