TV show tests Basehor woman’s know-how on rural-life projects

“Tough Grit” isn’t your typical game show, but Hollie Journey’s rural childhood fully prepared her to win her challenges, including the birdhouse pentathlon.

Journey, who grew up in Basehor and graduated from Bonner Springs High School, is a fan of GRIT magazine on Facebook. So when she saw the publication was looking for contestants in a new game show last February, she signed up thinking it looked interesting. After a brief interview, the show invited her to film on a scorching August afternoon in Burlingame.

“Tough Grit” calls itself the Rural America Challenge and is a game show that incorporates rural-lifestyle experts at GRIT magazine and Tractor Supply Company with competitive challenges. Journey, 32, was paired with Hank Will, editor-in-chief of GRIT magazine.

“It was fun to meet him,” she said. “He is a really nice guy.”

With Will’s guidance, Journey’s challenges were to plant a tree and complete a birdhouse pentathlon, which involved a series of challenges such as constructing shelters for different kinds of birds.

In order to win the grand prize of $1,000 to Tractor Supply Company, she had to complete her tasks before her competitor.

Planting the tree was no easy challenge, especially on a hot day during a drought, Journey said. She had to dig a hole 18 inches deep and three feet across for her tree, plant it, mulch and water.

Fortunately, Journey said, her experience planting trees in her mom’s orchard in Basehor helped her out with the challenge.

“I usually don’t do it all by hand, though,” she said with a laugh.

Journey ended up winning both of her challenges, landing her the grand prize.

“I’m enjoying spending my prize money at Tractor Supply,” she said.

Shelly Journey, Hollie’s mom, said she wasn’t surprised her daughter did so well, but she was surprised how quickly she could plant a tree.

“We’re pretty amazed that she won, but I wasn’t surprised,” she said. “Hollie’s so good at everything she does. She’s very creative.”

Shelly recalled that when Hollie was a 4-H member, one of her crowning achievements was to train a donkey. Everyone told her she wouldn’t succeed with the notoriously stubborn animal, but by fair time, Hollie could get her donkey to back up on command, winning her a purple ribbon.

Journey’s episode, “The Birds and the Trees,” will air at 6 p.m. Monday on RFD TV, DirecTV channel 345, Dish Network channel 231 and Knology channel 108.

Viewers can also watch the show online at