September 19, 2008 08:43 PM by Lisa Stauber
America’s Toughest Jobs puts the contestants to the test again tonight, and they remaining 9 will be flying to Texas to work the oil rigs. There’s heat, danger, and rattlesnakes – definitely one of America’s Toughest Jobs!
“The oilfields in Texas are busier than ever,” Josh tells them. Henry McElroy is their new boss, and they’ll be judged on teamwork, skill, attitude, and how hard they work. If they mess up the rig, it will cost Henry $1 million in lost revenue. Their main job today are to roll pipes to be added to the structure and load heavy bags of bentonite. Tomorrow, they’ll graduate up to making pipe connections.
Each pipe is 30 feet long and weighs 500 lbs. Roy, the assistant boss is directing. Michaela and Ben are up first, and Ben’s dreadlocks are getting in the way of the hardhat. Sandy, Rommel, and Chris have to haul the heavy bags, and Sandy’s showing up the guys. “Chris just ain’t cuttin’ it,” assistant boss Terry says. “That girl’s working these guys to death!” It’s over 100 degrees outside and they guys are wearing out.
Eric, Bryce, and Rie are set to work washing things down. Eric couldn’t get up the poles, but Rie took right to it. Soon they’ll have to screw the pipe onto the drill, which is a hard, filthy job. The workers must watch their hands and feet at all times, and Steven almost loses some fingers. The boss warns him that if it happens again, he’ll be off the site.
Rie and Bryce are rolling pipe together, but Bryce is just standing around again as usual. He thinks the women have it easy because there’s not much expected of them. Chris is up on the screwpipe, and he’s having trouble keeping up. Eric, Chris, and Steven are all struggling while Rommel, Sandy, and Michaela shine.
The contestants finish their day and mosey on down to the local bar. Chris shows off his kids, who are his reason for being on the show. Rommel wants to make his parents proud. Rie wants to buy a house in Florida so she can be near her daughter.
The next day dawns and it’s a new shift. It’s time to replace the drill bit, and 6500 feet of pipe must be removed. The bit costs $60,000. They have to disconnect the pipe into 90 foot sections, and put them on a lift. The contestants also will have to scale a 9 story tower to the monkey board to help stack and sort the lengths of pipe. Michaela has to go first, but she gets the hang of it right away. Eric is having trouble getting the tongs around the pipe. “I don’t like the oilrigs,” Eric says. “I don’t like what they are doing to this universe.”
Rommel is the first to scale the tower in 30 mph winds. Steven’s up next, and then it’s Ben’s turn. “I’m not afraid of the height, I’m not afraid of the mud,” he says. “This job is pretty cool, actually.” Chris has to climb next, but he’s scared of heights and can’t stop looking down. His arms are sore from working, and he’s having trouble hanging on.
Bryce and Sandy are pulling pipe now, and Bryce embraces the dirt. He finds a rhythm and gets into the swing of it. Now Rie is helping him, and she’s covered in mud, too. Steven’s convinced that they are being soft on her because she’s a girl.
There’s a battle of the sexes brewing! A first year roughneck makes about $35,000 a year, and that’s added to the pot for the grand prize. Rommel and Rie are voted the best, and then Henry names the bottom four. Steven is called out for being unsafe, Eric is chosen for not being aggressive, Chris is named because he lacks stamina, and Bryce doesn’t think things through. Host Josh Temple asks why the girls are kicking the guy’s tails, and Steven whines that everyone babies the girls.
The bottom four have to race against each other, and the slowest time will be sent home. First, though, Ben and Chris get into a war of words. “The only reason I didn’t deck the guy, is that I had 12 cameras in front of me.”
The final contest is to roll 10 pipes, load 5 bags, and then climb up the rig and clamp the tong. Bryce is up first, and finishes in 3:30. Steven is a tiny bit slower, at 3:34. Eric really struggles, making mistake after mistake. Chris is in no hurry to get things done, taking his time walking along. He makes it in 5:22, though, and Eric’s going home.
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