Regina Propochuk

Regina Propochuk

Posted on 2024-05-18 20:09:04

Regina Propochuk is our Rig of the Month for May/June. She has run everything from loader to big heavy haul. When I found out she also has horses and likes hunting, I jokingly told her that if she liked fly fishing too, she would be what I considered the perfect woman. She replied that she loved fishing! Wow! Okay, you trolls out there – that was not meant as a sexist remark.

I was born and raised in a small town in Manitoba called Sandy Lake. Horses and hunting were all I could think about at the time, so ending up as a truck driver was almost a shock for the first couple of years out of school. Considering no one in my family has anything to do with trucking. This was a big problem with my dad at the time as he was an old-school Ukrainian who thought trucking was definitely not a job for a woman. It took almost four years to convince him otherwise, but after he figured out that I wasn't going to stop, he finally changed his mind and then couldn't stop telling everyone what I did.

I started with Cando Contracting out of Brandon, MB, right out of high school, where I ran a loader in a tie yard. I ended up getting my class 1 in March of 2005 and have been doing it ever since. I was very fortunate to start my career with Cando, as I had a great teacher at the time, an old-school oilfield trucker, and a nice truck to start with. It was a 2005 9900i day cab. It's also with Cando, where I had my first but not last substantial injury…lol. I lost my middle finger due to wearing a ring. So, the life lesson there was don't wear jewelry while working.

After a few years at Cando, I ended up at an equipment moving company in Winnipeg. That is where I started to learn how to run lowbeds and bigger equipment. Then, after that, I ran my own truck for almost six years, brokering my loads, and for the last couple of years, I worked with Pinnacle out of Acheson, which got me more into the heavy haul side and pipeline work.

 After that, I started with Q-Line out of Saskatoon and worked with them for almost six years. I learned a lot about oversized loads and everything in between. I've run ice crossings and been into Alaska. That's where I ran into the biggest storm I've ever driven through. I parked for the night and woke up to 4 feet of snow on my hood. I've been across Canada and even got to go to Newfoundland. It was an interesting crossing in November with horrible weather. I've also been down to Arizona and a few other states with oversized loads. Thankfully, I've never had a bad border crossing.

 Last year at Q-Line, I met my fiancé, Rafail Proios. We have a mutual friend that I visited at the truck stop in Acheson. He said he had a buddy who was going to stop in and say hi, and here was this pretty green Pete rolling into the lot. After that, Rafail and I became good friends and never looked back. We decided it was time to move in together in Edmonton in 2021. So I left Q-Line to work for Sharp Oilfield, and I got the opportunity to pull some big wheels from the 13 axels to the 40-wheeler, which is super fun work, by the way, and I moved my biggest machine with them, a 670 Hitachi hoe.

  I then decided to stay in Alberta and ended up with my current employer, Paradox Access Solutions. To date, it is the best place I've ever worked. I run a 2018 t880 heavy spec, 565 ISX, 18 speed and 4:10s with a set of specialty super b steps, hauling equipment and rig mats everywhere in Alberta. You can usually spot me, especially at night, from the insane green glow lights, thanks to Rafail.

 It was in 2023 that Rafail took me to Greece to meet his family and proposed to me there, which was the most amazing moment in my life.

In my years of driving down the highways, I've seen a few unfortunate accidents, some not so bad and some really bad, but one that will always stay with me as the craziest.

 One summer day in 2012, I was bobtailing to Quebec. It was only around 8:30am, and I had just gone through Matheson ON. It was very quiet on the highway on a Sunday morning when I came to a passing lane, and an older couple riding a big Harley passed me going nice and easy. They didn't get more than 100 yards in front of me when suddenly the bike flipped end over end, and both riders got thrown onto the pavement. I jammed the brakes as hard as I could and thankfully stopped. As I scrambled out of the truck, I yelled at my partner to call 911. Thankfully, the couple escaped with relatively minor injuries. When I asked the gentleman what happened, he said he had hit a deer. So, after I made sure both people were ok, I started walking back behind my truck, and lo and behold, a big doe was lying in the ditch. I still, to this day, can't believe they hit a deer on a bike and survived, and their bike survived too.

We've all had close calls with wildlife driving. Some, unfortunately, get hit. The majority are deer and moose, with the occasional bear. Up to 5 years ago, I had never hit any wildlife except the occasional bird, but did I ever get a crazy experience on one of my many trips to Yellowknife.

On one trip, I had stopped for the night north of Fort Providence NWT. In the morning around 5:30am in the pitch black, I was traveling along when, out of nowhere, a huge bull Buffalo ran out right in front of me. I managed to dodge most of him but ended up catching him with the driver's side of my truck. He dragged me across the highway, almost into the opposite ditch. Somehow, he didn't total my truck but did some pretty good damage to the hood. I ended up being able to drive to yellowknife to grab my loaded trailer and go all the way back to Saskatoon. I later figured out I broke my thumb from him spinning the steering wheel when I was dragged across the highway. Since then, I have not encountered any more wildlife - knock on wood.

All in all, it's been a great career. I don't think I'd do anything different. I love this industry. I know when I started, it was not as common to see a woman driving a truck, not to mention pulling decks and lowbeds. Thankfully, I've seen more and more out there, which is awesome. The trucking community, for the most part, is amazing. Ive had my fair share of meeting bad drivers, but they are very few and far between. The majority of my friends are truckers, and so is my fiancé. Who I'm sure a good majority of you know, especially drivers in Alberta.

When I'm not in a truck, whether it's mine or Rafail's, you'll find me out at the barn riding and training my horses. So good luck trying to get hold of me when I'm not working.