How Quincey Walker became ‘Tough As Nails’

By Bobby Bryant, Editor editor@newsandpress.net

The rules of network-TV production have put diesel mechanic Dequincey “Quincey” Walker in an odd situation. He knows the future. The Lamar native who lives in Florence and works in Darlington has already finished filming his role as one of 12 castmates on CBS’ rugged reality series “Tough As Nails.” But the series’ 10-episode third season only premiered Oct. 6, so we won’t know for months how Walker fares on the show that celebrates hard-working men and women. And Walker can’t even hint at how it all went. You just can’t reveal these things. But as far as Walker is concerned, just being on the show helped him get over something that had been bothering him a long time. Flash back to 2005. Walker is a player on the Lamar High School football team, facing off against Bamberg-Ehrhardt for a state championship. Five minutes into the game – five minutes! – he’s hit by a tackle in a way that breaks his leg and ankle. The Bamberg-Ehrhardt tackle “hit me dead on my leg,” recalls Walker, 34. “All his weight went on my leg and ankle.” He’s out. His team loses to Bamberg-Ehrhardt 10-7. And he sort of blames himself. “You need everything you’ve got on the field, all four quarters,” Walker says. “I was unable to help them win. I don’t think they blamed me. It just haunted me.” But now – without spoiling how he did on “Tough As Nails” – Walker feels that just being on the series helped him. “I think I made it up to my teammates just by being one of the chosen 12,” he says. No spoilers here, but “I feel like I done great. I feel like I done good. I have my appearance on ‘Tough As Nails.’ I’m happy. … I feel like I got my redemption.” So exactly how did Walker, a diesel mechanic for Darlington’s Nucor Steel since 2014, wind up on “Tough As Nails,” a reality show that, CBS says, “celebrates everyday Americans who get their hands dirty while working long, hard hours to keep the country running”? (This season’s cast includes a fire captain, a crop duster, a lineman and an ironworker.) Walker’s wife, Tiffany, submitted his name. They were both fans of “Tough As Nails,” and she thought Walker could do the same kinds of things they saw on the show. “You can do that. You can do that,” she told him. In February or March, Walker says, Tiffany submitted his name online as a potential contestant, or cast member. “I had no clue,” he says. “She surprised me with it.” The show’s producers contacted Walker and said they wanted to interview him by Zoom online. The first interview was mostly general questions, he says. Then he got another interview by Zoom, this time with a panel of producers. Walker thought it went well. “It wasn’t a for-sure thing at that time, but I felt I had a good shot.” He was invited out to California, where the series is produced. It was only after he arrived that Walker learned for certain he had made the cut. The cast members spent several weeks shooting this season’s episodes, starting around June, Walker says. “I was nervous, but I was also motivated,” he says. He knew more or less what to expect – he’d already seen the show’s first and second seasons. Unlike the daddy of reality-TV shows, “Survivor,” you don’t get “voted off the island” on “Tough As Nails,” Walker says. “You stay there the entire time.” The producers of the show don’t put castmates in embarrassing situations, he says: “They want you to look good.” “It was a surprise every day,” Walker says. “We didn’t know what we would be doing day to day.” The new season of “Tough As Nails” kicked off at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in Southern California. The winner from the show’s first season, Marine veteran Kelly “Murph” Murphy, put the cast “through a series of military-style challenges.” Other locations this season, according to CBS, include Mount Baldy, the highest peak in Los Angeles; the Coast Guard base in San Pedro; and the Irwindale Speedway.

Author: Rachel Howell

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