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‘Tough Grit’ TV show puts farming in the spotlight

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:00 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:21 a.m. CST
(Submitted photo)
"TOUGH GRIT" contestant Scott Jantzi, participating in one of the challenges on the show. He is being guided by the show's expert Hank Will and his episode will air March 11 at 7 p.m. on RFD-TV.

The agricultural lifestyle is taking a swing toward the mainstream thanks to a new reality TV show called “Tough Grit.”

The show’s website gives a brief description, “Tough Grit” is a weekly 30-minute television show produced by Grit Magazine and Tractor Supply Company. It combines expert information with humor to help viewers complete common rural-based DIY projects correctly and safely. To demonstrate the projects, contestants from Team Grit and Team Tractor Supply compete in hands-on challenges to win up to $1,000 in Tractor Supply gift cards. “Tough Grit” airs each Monday at 6 p.m. (4 p.m. Pacific Time) on RFD-TV.

Scott Jantzi of Newton, Kan., is set to appear on the March 11 episode. Jantzi is a varsity soccer coach and special education teacher and is originally from Arizona. Although he lives in very rural town in Kansas now, he has had no previous experience in any kind of farming activities.

“Well, it is a farming show, and I didn’t do much farming growing up because I grew up in Arizona,” Jantzi said. “I didn’t live on a farm but lived in a city, basically. It was a brand-new experience for me. I have lived in Kansas for 20-plus years but still never lived on a farm or anything like that.”

The show. hosted by Caleb Regan and Shannon Reilly, placed Jantzi outside of his comfort zone. In his episode he competed in two garden preparation challenges that were judged on efficiency, accuracy and safety. Jantzi recalls his experiences performing the challenges.

“Learning how to chill and learning how to put up a fence, an electrical fence, I think that was good experience,” Jantzi said. “My wife eventually would like to have a garden of some sort, and what I learned there, I think I can put to use.”

In addition to the two hosts, the show has an expert to help the contestants out in Hank Will, who is also the editor-in-chief of Grit Magazine. Will is a former college professor who did farming on the side. He turned his love of farming into a career and left academia behind to fully pursue his interests in agriculture.

Regan and Reilly are also no strangers to farm life. Regan grew up on a farm in southeastern Kansas and in addition to his hosting duties still serves as a writer for Grit Magazine. Reilly is an Iowa State University graduate and has an in-depth background in theater, which comes in great for his hosting duties.

“Tough Grit” first began airing last September and is quickly becoming one of the most popular shows on RFD-TV, which is impressive when you consider that the network is devoted entirely to rural television. The network even proclaims itself, “Rural America’s most important network.”

If you want to find out how Jantzi did, tune in next Monday at 6 p.m. to RFD-TV, which can be found locally on Mediacom channel 78, Dish Network 231, and DirecTV 345.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com.

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