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A cement mason from Portland, mariner from Bremerton among ‘Tough As Nails’ Season 2 cast

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 8, 2021

The challengers on the upcoming Season 2 of “Tough As Nails” include a Portlander, second from left, and a Bothell, Washington, man.  (Cliff Lipson/CBS)
The challengers on the upcoming Season 2 of “Tough As Nails” include a Portlander, second from left, and a Bothell, Washington, man. (Cliff Lipson/CBS)
By Kristi Turnquist Oregonian

In its first season, the CBS reality show, “Tough As Nails” became a 2020 summer success, featuring what the show’s publicity describes as “everyday Americans who get their hands dirty while working long, hard hours to keep the country running.”

Since “Tough As Nails” earned good ratings, it’s no surprise that it’s returning for a second season, scheduled to premiere on Feb. 10.

Spokane drywaller Danny Moody competed in the first season, while Oregon was represented by Callie Cattell, a commercial fisherman who lived in Sisters.

The 12 challengers in Season 2 will include another Oregonian, Liz “Knuckles” Nichols, who the CBS release says is a 36-year-old cement mason who lives in Portland, and whose hometown is Waltham, Massachusetts. The season will also feature a mariner from Bothell, Washington.

The show brings together competitors who compete in challenges that test their skill, strength and smarts. In Season 2, challenges will, according to CBS, take place at “real-world job sites including farms, construction sites, high rise buildings, fishing boats and a Pick-a-Part where they need to build a drivable car. One competitor will be crowned the champion and win the coveted ‘Tough As Nails’ belt, but anybody that ‘punches out’ of the individual competition still has the opportunity to win additional cash prizes in the team competition that continues throughout the season.”

The CBS website for the show provides some bio details for Nichols.

In answer to questions, Nichols said her work includes pouring, finishing and repairing concrete. In detailing a typical day, Nichols said, “I’m usually on a deck pouring by 6 a.m. and in the summer it can be 3 or 4 in the morning. We begin our work rodding the concrete to grade, balancing on rebar the whole time.

“As the concrete gets harder, we skate across it on sliders with different trowels or hand floats. When we leave there’s a finished floor or sidewalk, something completely new that didn’t exist that morning.”

Answering the question, “What makes you tough as nails?,” Nichols said: “Being a concrete finisher makes me tough as nails. We work long hours doing backbreaking work. I also consider myself tough as nails for working through my pregnancy. I was rodding and troweling concrete at nine months pregnant.”

“Tough As Nails” is created and hosted by Phil Keoghan, who also hosts “The Amazing Race.” In Season 1, the winner, Kelly “Murph” Murphy, a Marine Corps Veteran from Paragon, Indiana, took home the $200,000 prize. Oregon’s Cattell also won prize money, as a member of the “Dirty Hands” team, one of two teams that competed in the final.

In a phone interview with the Oregonian in July, as Season 1 was debuting, Cattell talked about why a show celebrating blue-collar and other workers seemed especially significant at a time when the coronavirus was dramatically impacting employment.

“I think it’s a great time for a show like this to come on, because a lot of people are out of work right now, and a lot of people are really struggling with the current situation in the world,” Cattell said. A show like “Tough As Nails” helped shine a spotlight, she said, on “people who go to work and come home absolutely exhausted, just trying to provide for their families, and keep the world as we know it as happy as we can keep it.”

The 12 competitors on Season 2 of “Tough As Nails” also include a welder from Chesterfield, Virginia; a bricklayer from Queens, New York; a UPS delivery driver from East Greenville, Pennsylvania; and a steelworker from East Chicago, Indiana.

“Tough As Nails” returns for Season 2 at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10 on CBS.

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