‘I fought hard, so hard, all the way to the end’

Quincey Walker finished second during the just-concluded season of reality series “Tough as Nails.” Walker is a Lamar native who lives in Florence and works in Darlington. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

By Bobby Bryant, Editor


“I didn’t think I would get that far,” Quincey Walker says of his second-place finish on CBS’ make-you-sweat reality series “Tough as Nails.” Walker’s claiming the No. 2 spot was revealed to the nation Dec. 8 when the series concluded its third season. For Walker – a Lamar native who lives in Florence and works at Nucor Steel in Darlington – it meant he could finally talk about his experience as a cast member on the show. All 10 episodes were filmed during June and July on the West Coast, and the new season began airing in October. Walker, 34, was obligated to say nothing about what was going to happen on the series until it ended. “When I got back (from filming), the first question was, ‘Did you win?’” said Walker. “I would say, ‘You just have to watch.’ I knew what was expected of me. It wasn’t hard not to say anything.” Walker ended the silence with a viewing party at a Lamar restaurant as the series’ finale was broadcast. “Finishing in the top two was an accomplishment,” said Walker, a diesel mechanic at Nucor since 2014. “All those times I felt like I was going to punch out gave me fuel to be able to fight, fight, fight,” he said. “I never doubted myself. I never doubt myself. … I gave it all I had. … I fought hard, so hard, all the way to the end. … I don’t have any complaints. I feel good.” Finishing first on the series that “celebrates everyday Americans who get their hands dirty” was cast member Lia Mort, an ex-Marine from Pennsylvania. She claims a $200,000 cash prize and a 2022 Ford Super Duty pickup truck. “I knew that whoever won, they were worthy of winning,” Walker said. “I don’t feel bad losing to Lia. She’s a phenomenal person.” But the close loss “bothered me a little bit,” he said. Walker said he “kind of deflated” for a while. Walker said that, as far as he knew, he would not be receiving any prizes for coming in second. But all the cast members were paid for being on the series, he said, and the teams – Walker’s team was the Dirty Hands – divided cash awards when they completed a challenge first. The challenges on “Tough as Nails” were “physically demanding,” Walker said. “(But) we do blue-collar work, so we understood it.” While filming the series, Walker suffered pulled muscles, pinched fingers and banged his knee – pretty much the whole cast had minor injuries at some point, he said. The series’ producers kept medics on the set “every single day.” Did he ever feel that it was too much? “At some points, I was like, ‘Man!’ … Yeah, I felt like that” a few times. At some other times, Walker said, he felt that he was being somewhat held back and not allowed to do all that he could. Overall, he said, “What we had to do this season was more fun” that what he’d seen while watching the series’ first two seasons. (Walker and his wife, Tiffany, were fans of the series even before she submitted his name as a possible cast member.) The hardest challenge the show threw at Walker, he said, was “the Moving Challenge.” In that task, broadcast on the show’s Oct. 20 episode, the cast members had to haul a truckload of office furniture up four flights of stairs into an office building, make sure each piece of furniture was put in the right room, and make sure the manifests for the deliveries were correct. That one, Walker said, took “the most energy.”

Author: Stephan Drew

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