ATHENS, Texas – The National RV Training Academy (NRVTA) released Episode 1 of its nine-part RV Unplugged video series March 11.
More than 20,000 views of the show were tallied on YouTube within the first 24 hours, and the number has climbed to nearly 30,000 since then. A live chat during the premier attracted 1,000 participants.
Filmed at a remote location near Dallas, eight contestant couples competed against the clock and each other to be the first to complete different challenges. The winning team will be crowned the first-ever RV Unplugged champions and receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Titled “Drought,” Episode 1 starts with contestants relinquishing their cell phones upon arrival so they would not have access to outside resources which could give them an unfair advantage, said Tony Flammia, who produced and directed the series. He also serves as NRVTA’s director of sales and marketing.
Each of the eight teams received a hand-drawn map to the competition area and were given one hour to find it. The final team arrived with a little more than four minutes to spare.
As the series name implies, contestants are unplugged from shore power, water and sewer for two weeks during the competition. However, by their performance in various challenges, they can earn “Beard Bucks,” modeled after competition director Todd Henson, to buy essential supplies and services, or earn advantages during the week.
For example, a gallon of water costs 10 Beard Bucks, a 10-minute shower would require 20 bucks and contestants need 40 bucks to dump a single black water tank. Contestants were told in advance to dump their water tanks, but bring enough bottled drinking water to last two weeks. Water tanks were emptied as soon as camp was set up to ensure no contestants had a secret supply.
After captains Phil and Stacy Farley selected their team members, Henson announced all teams would switch so that Phil would work with people Stacy selected thinking she’d have a competitive edge, and vice versa.
A klaxon sounded at 6:30 a.m. to signal the start of the first day of competition. Each team had to construct a water distribution system by using parts and components scattered around the field. Team members filled a five-gallon bucket by pouring in water one gallon at a time. Then, the contraption had to pump water from the bucket into a 60-gallon team water bladder that would supply all team members.
Henson added a twist by giving each team 40 Beard Bucks, which they could keep for future use while building a water distribution system on their own, or use the gift to hire an NRVTA-trained technician to create it for them. Both teams opted to bring in professional assistance; however, only one team won the 80 Beard Buck prize.
“It was fun watching teams come together and contend with the challenges we presented to them. I was impressed how well the teams were able to adapt to the twists and work together to overcome problems,” said Henson. “Yet, I suspect, future episodes will be even more challenging as teams figure out ways to sabotage their competitors.”
Episode 1 can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KepbyMHibI.
The next episode, which airs March 18, will feature a unique zip line challenge. While moving quickly across a zip line, contestants must grab a flag from a hovering drone, and then drop it closest to a target.
For more information and to register for the RV Unplugged rally, visit www.rvunpluggedrally.com.
CUTLINE: RV Unplugged Season 1 competition director Todd Henson, who is also the director of education for the National RV Training Academy.