DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
BURNET — Keeping his future father-in-law out of trouble is one of Chad Taliaferro’s tasks as the two head out and track down missing or lost 18-wheelers. And it’s a job he will do as millions of people watch.
Taliaferro, a Burnet County Sheriff’s Office deputy, and his future father-in-law, Michael Hoffman, are one of several teams starring in the upcoming season of “Big Rig Bounty Hunters” on History Channel. The second season begins May 22.
Taliaferro and Hoffman are kind of an odd couple when it comes to hunting down the missing rigs. Taliaferro is a career law-enforcement officer. Hoffman is a hardcore biker and truck driver.
“We’re just combining those (backgrounds), and it works great,” Taliaferro said. When it comes to looking for missing rigs, Taliaferro can work his law-enforcement contacts, while Hoffman reaches out to his biker and truck industry connections. Putting it all together, hopefully, leads them to the missing big rig before another team.
The show features the search for missing 18-wheelers and their loads. When a truck goes missing, for a number of possible reasons, the truck owner or shipping company reaches out to teams such as Hoffman and Taliaferro to look for it and bring it back.
And it’s not easy, or even safe.
Taliaferro explains a truck and its load can go missing for any number of reasons, including theft or a disgruntled driver taking off with it or just leaving it somewhere. Finding the load requires getting out on the ground and working the information and contacts.
“One of the things I’ve learned is truck driving is dangerous,” Taliaferro said. “Some of these trucks are carrying million-dollar loads across the country.”
Those kinds of numbers packed into the back of an 18-wheeler makes it a tempting target for thieves. Sometimes, it’s just too big to resist.
Typically, when a truck or load goes missing, the owner or shipping company calls big rig bounty hunters to help locate it. Often, they contact several in the area, which serves as the premise for the show.
“So you’re out there racing the clock and the other teams to find the truck,” Taliaferro said.
The hunt itself can lead to potentially dangerous confrontations. Somebody who steals a truck or “misplaces” a load isn’t necessarily going to give it up easily. So Taliaferro and Hoffman must rely on all their skills and instincts to find the trucks and get them back without getting themselves hurt.
The two teamed up about a year ago after Hoffman learned one of his friends was on the show.
“We said, ‘We can do that and do it better,'” Taliaferro said.
The year has brought some exciting times for the two, but Taliaferro won’t share them.
“You’re going to have to watch the show and be surprised,” he said.
While he tackles wayward, lost or stolen big rigs, he still puts in his time as a Burnet County deputy and plans for his upcoming wedding. But with his future father-in-law riding shotgun, he shouldn’t be late for the wedding.
Unless, the two are out hunting a big rig.
Go to www.history.com or more information about or to watch previous episodes of “Big Rig Bounty Hunters.”