ATHENS, Texas – The last competition among two remaining finalists competing for a $10,000 prize in Season 1 of RV Unplugged came down to a photo finish.
The final episode was released Saturday night and shown before a live crowd of nearly 200 RVers taking part in a four-day RV Unplugged rally. The event took place on the same property adjacent to the National RV Training Academy’s (NRVTA) campus, which was used to host the competition.
Howard and Katelyn Newstate, founders of Newstate Nomads, represented the Blue Team for the final competition while Aaron and Chris Willers, with Irene Iron Travels, represented the Red Team. Phil and Stacy Farley, from Today is Someday, served as coaches for both teams, which each started with eight contestants. Phil coached the Blue Team and Stacey led the Red Team.
For the final competition, the Newstates and Willers had to complete three tasks, including:
- Building a water distribution system from scratch.
- Creating a working solar power array.
- Igniting a campfire strong enough to catch a log on fire using only kindling, wool and a flint fire starter.
The fastest couple to complete all three tasks walked away with a $10,000 prize and bragging rights as the Season 1 winners. It was neck-and-neck during the final competition as each couple took a different approach to building their contraptions. Yet, in the end, flames appeared on the Willer’s side of the log mere seconds before they were visible on the Newstate’s side.
Because it was so close, Todd Henson, who served as RV Unplugged’s director, and Tony Flammia, who produced the series, had to review video of the competition to confirm the final result.
To get to the final episode, the Newstates and Willers had to survive multiple challenges, such as:
- Navigating to the competition site using a crudely-drawn map.
- Building a water distribution system using only pipes and fittings found around camp.
- Snatching a flag suspended by a drone and dropping it 50 feet onto a target while speeding past on a zip line.
- Making a fire from scratch using only leaves, twigs, branches and a flint spark igniter.
- Swimming along a course where directions were underwater, including notice of a lane change.
- Building a solar system, including a battery, panels, wiring and an inverter.
- Squaring off at a family fun center and surviving a paintball challenge and go-kart race.
- Finding their way out of a Bates Motel Escape Room.
In the final episode, even some previously-eliminated contestants said the competition was very evenly matched and several predicted a photo finish.
“We could not have asked for a better inaugural season of RV Unplugged,” said Flammia. “The contestants were incredible to work with. They demonstrated an uncanny ability to adapt to whatever challenges we imposed. When the cast interacted with rally participants for a question-and-answer session Friday afternoon, they all admitted to having an enjoyable experience meeting and working with other social media influencers.”
“We had never done anything like this before and serving as director was a bit out of my comfort zone,” said Henson. “But Season 1 was so successful that we have already decided to do it again next year. In fact, Phil and Stacy Farley have agreed to serve as coaches for Season 2. One of this year’s contestants, Charity DeVries, will serve as the competition director to come up with unique challenges and rules for the next season.”
The Season One contestants included:
- Mike and Susan Scarpignato, from RV Blogger
- Charity and Ben DeVries, with Grateful Glamper
- Howard and Katelyn Newstate, founders of Newstate Nomads
- Aaron and Chris Willers, with Irene Iron Travels
- Tanya and Dave Villa, from Let’s Turn It Up World
- Chris & Katrina Bellofatto, with Our Everyday Getaway
- Ryan Miller, co-founder of Millers In Motion
- Chris & Martha Peters, also known as Venturesome Couple
In addition to NRVTA, the episodes were sponsored by:
- Alliance RV
- Grand Design Recreational Vehicles
- Jayco Family of Companies
- National RV Inspectors Association
- RV Mattress by Brooklyn Bedding
- RV Technician Association of America
For more information about RV Unplugged and to watch all the episodes, visit www.rvunpluggedtv.com.
For more information about NRVTA and its programs to help people become professionally-certified RV inspectors or technicians, visit www.nrvta.com. To speak with an admissions advisor, call (903) 386-0444 or email [email protected]
Cutline one: RV Unplugged Season 1 winners accept their $10,000 prize. From left: Tony Flammia, NRVTA sales and marketing director; Rob Boyer, Alliance RV’s community outreach and education manager; Chris and Aaron Willers, with Irene Iron Travels; and Todd Henson, NRVTA education director.
Cutline two: RV Unplugged rally attendees crowd into the National RV Training Academy’s large service bays to watch a live viewing of Season 1’s final episode.