Rednecks do Rapid: Reality TV show highlights the Black Hills

2013-02-23T05:00:00Z Rednecks do Rapid: Reality TV show highlights the Black HillsKayla Gahagan Journal correspondent Rapid City Journal
February 23, 2013 5:00 am  • 

So what did a bunch of self-proclaimed rednecks from Louisiana do when they went on vacation in the Black Hills?

Well, y'all, they went hog wild while mining for gold; they played possum during a Wild Bill shoot-out reenactment; and they were much obliged as they went about fixin' to gander at tham thar presidents at Mount Rushmore.

And in classic reality television style, it was all captured on camera and will be broadcast nationally tonight during the hit(?) show "My Big Redneck Vacation," hosted by renowned B-list star Tom Arnold. It airs today on local cable channels at 7 p.m.

There’s no script for the show on CMT network, said cast member Tammy Barker. And that held true during the episode that was filmed in South Dakota this fall.

“I think that’s one of the reasons we were chosen,” Barker said from her home in Shreveport, La., where the family is on a break from filming. “We’re ourselves, in front of the camera or off of the camera.”

The show, which features the Barkers and their extended relatives, chronicles the family’s adventures, antics and drama as they travel the country. Now in its third season, the family visits well-known places including Washington, D.C., Miami, Area 51 in Nevada and a Native American reservation in the Grand Canyon.

Their trip to South Dakota included a visit to Deadwood, where they were surprised by a Wild Bill shooting re-enactment. They also made attempts at mining gold, a six-shooter competition and made a visit to the Cosmos mystery park.

“We did so much,” Barker said of her first visit to the state. “I loved it. It was beautiful countryside. I loved the woods.”

The vacation sites, Barker said, are always a surprise for the family because they are chosen by the network. “We wake up in the morning and we don’t know where we’re going,” she said.

A self-professed “girly” belle on the show, Tammy is married to Tommy, who is a father of three and avid outdoorsman. Sharing part of their lives on TV was an adjustment at first, she said.

“In the beginning, it was stressful,” she said, but they have grown close with the camera crew. “They’re sort of like family now. They’re just part of our vacation.”

There’s no pressure, she said, especially when it comes to living up to what a redneck is supposed to be.

“It’s not scripted, and if we don’t want to do something or say something, we don’t,” she said. “We are true to ourselves.”

And even with all the y’alls and yee-haws that might be heard on-screen, Barker said the show provided the family a great opportunity to break the stereotype of what a redneck family looks like.

“Everybody has their own view of what a redneck is,” she said.  “We’re not toothless and live with dump cars in our yards. It’s a way of life. It’s about family and friends and hunting and fishing. It’s not about the way people look.”

And besides the perks of hanging out with celebrities at the CMT award shows, it’s the fans who make the show the most fun, she added.

“I think we represent all rednecks,” she said. “We get a lot of people who tell us we make them smile every Saturday night.”

Especially this season, she said, when the family later travels overseas. “It’s political; we’re opening their eyes to new things,” she added. “We go into a state or town and we make friends in the area and bring our culture to them.”


Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. rcwraith
    Report Abuse
    rcwraith - February 25, 2013 7:36 am
    I agree. So many other places to film, but they can only fit so much into the alloted time. I feel the Mammoth Site would have been great for tourism, and the Wild Horse Sanctuary would be great for their cause. Maybe they will come back and do another stint here next year. I guess this is where we tell them the obligatory..."Ya'all come back now, ya hear?"
  2. snowflake
    Report Abuse
    snowflake - February 23, 2013 8:04 am
    It is surely too bad they didn't get to Hot Springs.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick