America’s roads and highways are the trade routes for a bustling economy. Every week, hundreds of trucks carrying valuable cargo go missing.
Stolen and abandoned, these big rigs have to be hunted down and hauled in or the trucking companies lose money. Each missing truck carries a bounty if recovered and an additional reward if the load is found intact. Big Rig Bounty Hunters follows five groups of truck hunters from across America as they embark on the some of the most dangerous hunts to retrieve missing truck loads. This cast of colourful characters compete against each other as well as a ticking clock. There’s money to be made from locating the trailer, and if there’s anything left of the load inside, the hunter gets a percentage. From retrieving stolen loads to collecting repossessions, a day in the life of a truck hunter is never easy, but the dollar signs keep these truckers hunting.
Animal got his nickname while serving in the Special Forces in Vietnam. During a particularly brutal battle, his team said he fought like an animal, using everything including his now-missing teeth, and the name stuck. When he got back state-side, he started driving trucks out of his home state of California. He drove log trucks and pipes up to the Alaska pipeline, all the while keeping his secret passion for dancing under wraps. Unbeknownst to many of his fellow drivers, Animal had trained to be a ballet dancer before he was drafted! Now those quick moves come into play whenever he is called to recover trucks. Animal’s expertise is driving in dangerous weather; he’s driven through tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards. He says that when other truckers bail, they send him in. That’s why he is an animal!
Steve Irwin’s parents brought him over from Ireland when he was a baby. Steve met Animal at a wild, late-night party during the early 1960s, and the pair found each other again when Steve had to teach him hand-to-hand combat in Vietnam. After the war, they both started driving trucks for an “easy living,” and now Steve’s been driving for almost 47 years. He started by harvesting wheat from local farms and then driving the grains all over the country. His CB handle is “The Red Flash,” because he survived numerous bombings during his tour of duty. A true rebel, Steve was part of the Northern California chapter of the Hell’s Angels in the 60s.
Big T and Bek are truck hunters from West Virginia who have been dating four years. This year, they are headed to new territory and will be hunting trucks in Ohio. They are the only team with a female member and they believe this works to their advantage. Bek proudly refers to herself as “the bait”—she can successfully go to locations and speak with male truckers without looking like a bounty hunter. Big T is a massive man, but he can’t claim to be the exclusive “muscle” on the team—Bek is a second-degree black belt and has knocked out unruly men in the past.
Danny and Willie Holden are a father and son team that has been in the trucking industry for several generations. Danny’s father is famous in Texas for registering several million miles in over 40 years as a trucker. Both Danny and Willie want to carry on the prestigious Holden name as the premier big rig bounty hunters in Texas. They proudly claim to be the best at driving trucks, fixing engines and finishing fights. They do everything the “cowboy way”–they do what they say and don’t go home until the job is done.
Eric Johnson started out as a truck driver 20 years ago. He owned a fleet of flat beds, but when his company fell on hard times, a sweet-talking collector stepped into his life and changed his world. That collector is now his wife Joanie. Eric, Joanie and all of their eight children, including Rob, come together to recover trucks in their family business. Their close proximity to the border means many drug cars, illegal trucks and impounded trucks end up in their care. Recently, Eric had to sift through rotten produce to make sure there were no narcotics hidden in a load. He spends a lot of his time assisting Border Patrol with investigating suspicious trucks. With his knowledge of the desert, he’s a valuable asset to many law enforcement agencies.
At 20 years old, Eric's brother Rob is training to take over the family business but knows he has a lot to learn. Most days he’d rather practice with his band and hone his guitar skills than his truck hunting skills. As the navigator and co-pilot, though, he’s always there for the hunt. He is an expert at crawling into small, tight spaces to get into a tractor.
True to his nature, Jaxon loves to roam. He started driving trucks with his dad as a teen, and he has driven in every state except Hawaii. Although he has had driving partners before, Jaxon found his personality was more suited to being a loner. He got into recovering trucks when several companies he worked for complained about drivers not showing up to do the job. Now he recovers trucks full-time and spends his spare time working on cars, servicing semis and raising horses.
John Picnic comes from a family of truckers and mechanics, and he has been a truck driver for almost 20 years. He knows how to do virtually everything mechanical under the sun and has a natural affinity for precision driving, maneuvering big rigs through the toughest spaces and most difficult routes. John took up Russian martial arts to protect himself and his loads after a string of truck thefts swept the Eastern seaboard. Soon his tough guy attitude landed him in the recovery business, where he once beat up his own partner in front of a would-be thief just to prove a point. John’s motto is “Who’s better than me?” because his success rate of over 90% has earned him a nearly flawless reputation.
Gene Marino was a cop in New Jersey for nearly 25 years. He married John’s sister, and the rest is history. He says the two of them could not be more different, but somehow this odd couple makes it work. Not willing to sit around after retirement, Gene began joining John on a few truck hunts and found he could be a great asset with his police background. All those years on the force taught him how to read people and diffuse potentially explosive situations. Gene says that while John is always up for the fight, his job is to keep everyone calm and John focused
Korchenko got his name back in the 1980s when he started wrestling professionally. As a kid growing up in Tampa, Florida, his father often took him to wrestling matches. It was during the Cold War, and audiences came in droves to boo the “Russians.” Years later, Korchenko decided to use the Russian gimmick to advance his own wrestling career. He spent the next 13 years wrestling professionally and driving trucks in rock quarries when gigs were scarce. A natural “tough guy” at 6’4”, he once pushed a 17,000-pound tractor until it caught a gear. He retired from wrestling in 1993 and became a full-time truck driver and recovery expert. He met his best friend Marshall in a bar, and they bonded over their love for big trucks and wrestling. Five years ago they partnered up as full-time recovery experts.
Marshall Clements, the son of an ex-sailor who went into trucking, grew up in Southeast Texas. At 6’ 6”, he played football throughout his school years but fell in love with big rigs when his dad took him driving all over the country. He knew instantly it’s what he was meant to do. Marshall has accumulated over a million miles in his 13-year career and has seen just about everything from Florida to Washington state. He became a driving instructor, teaching student drivers how to drive through challenging mountain terrain and adverse weather conditions. His expertise soon led to truck recovery and a chance meeting with Korchenko at a truckers’ sports bar. They merged their extreme talents and created a hugely successful truck-recovery partnership.
Michael is a truck driver, biker and proud Texan who is either your best friend or worst enemy. Michael is also the soon-to-be father-in-law to his partner Chad, who is deputy sheriff. They’ve teamed up to use Michael’s biker contacts and Chad’s law enforcement experience to beat the crooks. Chad’s first job is to keep Michael out of jail and recover the missing trucks without breaking the law. They are the classic odd couple, but have a talent for finding trucks that nobody else can.
Shawn Zimmerman met his best friend, Vince Jones, in kindergarten. The two immediately disliked one another and got into their first brawl, landing them in time-out. That pattern repeated itself for the next 20 years, and time-outs turned into jail time. Shawn finally started cleaning up his act when he got his commercial driver’s license in 1998 and learned how to drive a truck for his father’s heavy equipment hauling business. But the lure of excitement and adventure drew him into truck recoveries, where he now gets his adrenaline-junkie fix by bringing wayward rigs home. When he isn’t doing that, he spends time with his wife and four children and rides his Harley across the country.
Vince met Shawn in kindergarten and says it was hate at first sight. But the two kept crossing paths and soon became inseparable. Vince got a reputation as a bad boy with a knack for getting into bar fights and consequently spent 18 months in jail. When he got out, he went into construction, working union jobs building highways and bridges. Soon, though, construction jobs started to dwindle. Vince needed to support a family of four kids, so he partnered up with Shawn to recover trucks. He doesn’t mind being “the heavy” during truck hunts. In fact, he says it’s the legal way to get his aggression out.
Dave and Don Wolf are identical twins and have been trucking together for over 30 years. They’ve spent the last few years chasing after missing trucks so they can stay closer to home and keep an eye on their elderly mother. They dress the same while they are on hunts to give them an advantage when dealing with their adversaries. Trucking and family is all they know. They are the nicest, yet trickiest twins you’d ever meet.
As the new season begins, three Ohio teams, Shawn and Vince, Big T and Bek, and the Wolf brothers, are on high alert for stolen trucks, missing cargo, and AWOL drivers. When a truck filled with $1.3 million of cell phones and electronics goes missing in Dayton, who you gonna call? Well, no one, if the truck had your phone. That's why the Buckeye State's big rig bounty hunters have been dialed up. With a bounty of $4,200 on the line, the three teams must outhustle one another to get the 411 on the payload and be first to track it down. Later, the Wolf brothers are asked to recover a Kenworth truck that's been stolen by a driver that's been known to get violent. Hot on the trail of the truck, the Wolfs' recovery takes a surprising turn when they ask for help from an unexpected source.
It's a bone-chillingly cold day in the heart of Ohio, but big rig bounty hunters never sleep... Well, Vince and Shawn certainly don't. Up at the crack of dawn, the pair is out on a risky job that finds them attempting to recover a rig from a driver who's an ex-felon. Later in the day, the ante gets upped when a call goes out about a missing truck and driver carrying a high-value load of titanium prosthetics. The bounty is a staggering $8,000, and all three bounty-hunting teams excitedly go in hot pursuit of the big prize. The search takes a shocking twist when bad news turns up about the missing driver.
When a truck carrying $1.3 million in flu vaccines goes missing, Ohio's top Big Rig Bounty Hunters are called into action. They learn the driver suffered a seizure, is hospitalized, and has no recollection of where his truck is. Time is of the essence in finding this rig, and earning the $3,500 bounty, because if the truck's refrigerator isn't working, the vaccines will be ruined. As this search unfolds, a second bounty is up for grabs... A driver in a pay dispute is holding for ransom his load of nearly $40,000 in specialty lumber. The trucking company refuses to pay the ransom and reward bad behavior. So, in order to earn a bounty of $4,500 the teams must outsmart the driver and trick him into giving up his load.
Relationships are put to the test when constant bickering almost tears apart all three Ohio big rig bounty-hunting teams as they search for a missing Peterbilt truck containing auto parts bound for Detroit. The team that recovers the rig will earn a $3,800 bounty, but first they'll have to overcome some bumps in the road. A Wolf brother almost has his head ripped off when he wanders onto private property. Big T and Bek's chase finds them confronting Shawn and Vince in a game of cat and mouse where each team tries to throw each other off the trail. By day's end, one team is pulled off the chase to deliver a truck full of beer that may be ruined by the cold Ohio weather...and another team comes close to breaking up their partnership.
A rig filled with beer, wine and liquor with a value of $120,000 has been stolen from the parking lot of a liquor store. With a bounty of $3,300 up for grabs, the race is on for the Big Rig Bounty Hunters to be first to find the truck and grab the prize. But before their chase has begun, Big T and Bek are detoured by a call for help from a driver who is experiencing road rage from a guy in a car. Push literally comes to shove when Bek confronts the perp in a knock down, drag out fight in the Ohio snow.
As winter plunges Dayton into a deep freeze, Ohio has become a hotbed of truck thefts as no less than three rigs go missing. Two rigs carrying $450,00 in energy drinks have been stolen from Platinum Trucking's home base in what looks like an inside job. To track down the thieves, the three teams must go head to head. And with each rig carrying a bounty of $5,000, a big payday is on the line. Later, a second bounty comes in, a domestic dispute has stopped a truck driving couple from delivering their load of $90,000 worth of furniture. The team arriving at the location must take the load from the feuding couple to earn the $3,000 bounty, forcing them to be Big Rig Bounty Hunters...and relationship counselors.
A truck carrying a valuable load of prime Texas steaks has gone missing. The veteran driver is not responding and the company fears his life could be in jeopardy. One team follows the load thinking the meat is being offloaded quickly around town while another team senses the load is lost but the valuable steaks and parts could be at one of the areas many chop shops. One of the teams peels off of the hunt for the missing steaks when a box truck carrying a load of youth football equipment fails to make its way to the kids.
Texas runs on oil and when a thief hijacks a big rig hauling a load of specialty oil drilling pipes, it's up to three of Houston's top truck hunting teams to find the stolen truck before 29 hard-working roughnecks are put out of a job. A family feud is stirring as rival teams, the In-Laws and Big Texans, find cousins Michael and Marshall in a battle over territory. Meanwhile the Holden's are having trouble coming together on a strategy to find the stolen pipes. After taking a pit stop for a quick bite they decide to swap an evasive bounty for a sure thing. But what was supposed to be a simple recovery brings about a surprising twist in the dog-eat-dog world of truck hunting.
An exotic car rental company reports a Red Ferrari was just stolen from the back of a truck and is offering a $10,000 bounty for its quick return. The call has all three of the Texas truck hunting teams combing the downtown streets of Houston in a race to land the largest payday any of them have ever seen. And a repo job tests the character of the one of the teams as they have a run-in with a driver who is unwilling to part with his rig.
It's the Holden's and the Big Texan's to the rescue, as they are called upon to help find a truck that's gone missing carrying food to the Houston Food Bank. With enough canned goods to feed 1,500 needy families for a month, it's a top priority to find this truck, and find it fast. Meanwhile, in another part of Houston, the In-Laws are on one of the strangest hunts of their illustrious careers--a prized steer, showcased at county fairs and corporate conventions has mysteriously disappeared. The owner has called upon Chad and Michael to find his blue ribbon beef...and that's no bull. Ultimately, the steer is found in the unlikeliest of locations.
A flatbed carrying a load of roofing shingles has been stolen, bringing the Big Texans and In-Laws on a collision course that could reignite their ongoing fight over family and territory. The In-Laws utilize Chad's police skills and Michael's biker buddies to try and win the bounty while the Big Texans search local construction sites hoping their experience pays off. Meanwhile, a late start adds strain to the Holden's relationship and threatens their chances at the bounty. The father and son team need to put aside their differences as a late blast sends them on a manhunt for a dangerous truck thief.
Monsters are running amok in Houston, Monster trucks, that is. The Holden's are asked to help a family friend by chasing down a Monster Truck, which has been stolen by a man with a hair-trigger temper. Meanwhile, the In-laws, Chad and Michael, go head to head against their archrivals, the Big Texans, Marshall and Korchenko. The two teams are trying to be the first to find a missing truck containing high-end consumer electronics and, most importantly, the truck's driver whom they fear is the victim of foul play.
In Ohio, Truck Hunters Shawn and Vince must track down and deliver a big rig filled with highly classified cargo but mid-route they pick up a mysterious tail whilst, in Texas, a trailer filled with prized cattle is stranded on a track, and Marshall and Korchenko is the trucker's last hope to avert a disastrous collision. Plus in New Jersey, brothers-in-law John and Gene are on the hunt for a hijacked truck full of a million dollars worth of laptops and in Denver, Animal and Steve discover the perils of trying to deliver a hot load on a tight deadline, as the President's visit locks down the city's traffic grid.
The Jersey Boys, John and Gene, go to blows with a delinquent driver who isn't paying the bills on his truck lease. Meanwhile, the Ex Cons, Shawn and Vince, are sent to rescue a disabled tractor and its load, but this big rig is for the birds, literally. Plus, The Texans, Marshall and Korchenko, put their perfect recovery record to the test as a disoriented driver can't give them his whereabouts and The Desert Dogs, Eric and Rob, a father and son truck hunting duo, must deal with a disgruntled driver who won't hand over his rig.
The Vets chase after a rogue driver who is out to stick it to the trucking company and the Jersey Boys are called in to rescue a driver who has been attacked by hijackers. Plus The Texans are on a long hunt for 16 tons of frozen shrimp and the Ex-Cons must track down a big rig that's been taken off the grid by a driver who thinks his truck is being followed by space aliens.
The Texans must hunt down and take back a stolen rig, before the thieves cross into Mexico whilst in Arizona, The Desert Dogs are called in to sniff out a snake In Ohio. Plus the Ex Cons kick into high gear hunting for a missing race and The Jersey Boys are called in to take possession of a backhoe that a disgruntled trucker is holding hostage.
The Jersey boys, John and Gene, are called out of Newark and out of their element in search of a stolen tractor whilst The Ex-cons, Shawn and Vince, run into a series of unfortunate events after securing a truck with a high value load that needs to get to Houston. And the Vets, Animal and Steve turn up a load of produce that's not fit for human consumption.
The Ex-Cons chase down a missing load with a $5,000 bounty, but they're not the only bounty-hunters on the job. The Texans, Korchenko and Marshall, search scrapyards in the pre-dawn hours after a load of drilling pipe vanishes. And Jersey Boys, John and Gene, search high and low (and through strip clubs) in Newark's underbelly.
The Desert Dogs have a hot lead on a hot-headed trailer thief whose finally come back to town, while the Jersey Boys John and Gene are called to try and solve a cold case which takes them to danger-filled Atlantic City. Meanwhile, Animal and Steve are on a wild goose chase with a driver who is holding a load hostage and the Ex-cons chase down a stolen truck filled with beer.
The Jersey boys need to find an abandoned rig and take it to the port before its ship sails, while the Vets are close to blows after a hard night leaves Steve 50 shades of cranky. And the ex-cons risk life and limb driving up the highest road in the country to pull a tractor back from the ledge.