Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Tough As Nails airs Wednesdays 8/7c on CBS and streams on CBS All Access.

\u200bHost Phil Keoghan and a reality show contestant at tryouts for Tough As Nails.

Host Phil Keoghan and hopeful competitor Luis Yuli at tryouts for Tough As Nails.

Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.

Last November, a casting call for Tough As Nails went out to Americans across the country, looking for people who "keep the country running and define what it means to be tough." Applicants were then asked to perform eight minutes of burpee pushups.

"It wasn't just about the number they did, but what they could take mentally," says Emmy-winning producer and host Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race), who was inspired by his working class family to create the reality competition show. "Who went to a place where they could shut out the pain and continue?"

Hardworking Americans test their brick-laying skills on reality series Tough As Nails.\u200b

These hardworking Americans test their brick-laying skills on the series premiere of Tough As Nails.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

The twelve skilled workers who proved adept at both are the worthy competitors who attempt to complete exhausting tasks in places including an oil field, a construction site, and a fire academy—with one person emerging the victor at the end of the tenth episode.

Regardless of the man or woman who is left standing, Keoghan hopes audiences will come away with a renewed appreciation of those who make our everyday lives possible. "I would like us never to take for granted the people who make this country work," he says. "Whether they are rod busters, welders, or carpenters, they are valued members of society. These are people whose prized tools are their hands, and they're not looking to get a manicure."

THE TOUGH AS NAILS CONTESTANTS

Contestants pushing wheel barrows in mud on a reality competition show

Pictured (L-R): Melissa Burns, Tara Davis, and Linda Goodridge of reality competition series Tough As Nails.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

The Sturdy Dozen

Pure strength and endurance aren't enough to make you Tough As Nails. Here's a heads up on each competitor's special strength.

Linnett Key

Contestant Linnett Key of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 34

PROFESSION: Welder/Fabricator

SECRET WEAPON: Resilience. This single mom works 16-hour days before coming home to her four kids.

Young An

Contestant Young An of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 36

PROFESSION: Firefighter

SECRET WEAPON: Family values. An supports his parents, Korean immigrants who worked for a better life.

Melissa Burns

Contestant Melissa Burns of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 28

PROFESSION: Farmer

SECRET WEAPON: Business sense. Running a farm requires hard work, innovation, and risk-taking.

Kelly "Murph" Murphy

Contestant Kelly "Murph" Murphy of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 48

PROFESSION: Marine Corps Veteran

SECRET WEAPON: Leadership. Murphy supervised 210 Marines his last deployment and brought every one home.

Michelle S. Kiddy

Contestant Michelle S. Kiddy of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 62

PROFESSION: Former Teacher/Airport Gate Agent

SECRET WEAPON: Patience. From screaming students to entitled travelers, Kiddy stares down pressure every day.

Lee Marshall

Contestant Lee Marshall of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 62

PROFESSION: Roofer

SECRET WEAPON: Follow-through. After two years' work, Marshall recently finished roofing a $70 million senior community.

Linda Goodridge

Contestant Linda Goodridge of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 30

PROFESSION: Deputy Sheriff

SECRET WEAPON: Integrity. Goodridge helped build a program helping inmates find jobs—and hope—outside prison.

Danny Moody

Contestant Danny Moody of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 33

PROFESSION: Drywaller

SECRET WEAPON: Strength. Drywall sheets are big, heavy, and fragile–and Moody hangs sixty every day!

Callie Cattell

Contestant Callie Cattell of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 28

PROFESSION: Fisherman/Diver

SECRET WEAPON: Endurance. Cattell often works 24-hour days for ten weeks at a time with little sleep, no toilet, and no shower.

Myles V. Polk

Contestant Myles V. Polk of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 28

PROFESSION: Forestry Tech

SECRET WEAPON: Versatility. Polk does everything from wildfire control to scientific surveys and trail maintenance.

Tara Davis

Contestant Tara Davis of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 31

PROFESSION: Ironworker

SECRET WEAPON: Community. Davis' union supports her and her family, and she's proud to represent them.

Luis Yuli

Contestant Luis Yuli of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 36

PROFESSION: Scaffold Foreman

SECRET WEAPON: Pride. Yuli grew up poor, and hopes to show his kids and neighborhood that anything is possible.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, July-August 2020.

SEE MORE: Don't Miss The New Digital Issue Of Watch—Check It Out!

Tough As Nails airs Wednesdays 8/7c on CBS and streams on CBS All Access. Please note new Wednesday night air time of 9/8c starting August 12.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

By Nate Millado

Tough As Nails has a two-hour premiere on Wednesday, July 8 at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.

As reality competitions go, Tough As Nails is as real as it gets: real folks with real jobs—think a farmer and a firefighter—competing in real-life challenges for guts and glory. These 12 hardworking Americans epitomize the motto "dirty hands, clean money," rolling up their sleeves every day to keep the country running.

Host and executive producer Phil Keoghan in front of a large poster with the Tough As Nails logo

Tough As Nails host and executive producer Phil Keoghan.

Photo Credit: Ronda Churchill/CBS.

"Tough As Nails was inspired by my proud working-class family of farmers, gold miners, builders, and coal miners," says host and executive producer Phil Keoghan. (That's right, our next summer obsession is brought to us by the globe-trotting host of The Amazing Race!) So who's the toughest one of them all? Get to know the Season 1 competitors.

Linnett Key

Welder Linnett Key wearing a gray work jumpsuit with her name and profession embroidered on it

Tough As Nails contestant: Welder Linnett Key.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

This 34-year-old welder describes herself as "passionate, resilient, and motivated," and you've definitely got to be all three when you're a single mom of four juggling two jobs. Linnett Key's 16-hour workday consists of grinding, torching, painting concrete, and writing blueprints.

Danny Moody

Drywaller Danny Moody poses with arm crossed

Tough As Nails contestant: Drywaller Danny Moody.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Confident and competitive, this 33-year-old drywaller says he has "no quit! I go until I can't anymore and no pain will stop me." Aside from his wife and kids, Danny Moody is most proud of working on several Habitat for Humanity homes for the needy.

Melissa Burns

Farmer Melissa Burns poses wearing a flannel and gloves.

Tough As Nails contestant: Farmer Melissa Burns.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

This bubbly farmer, 27, is her own boss. Melissa Burns' day starts at 3 a.m. and ends well after dark, "busting our butts" on the farm she created with her husband. Depending on the season, you'll find her in the field or at the feed mill.

Young An

Firefighter Young An poses in his tan firefighters uniform and black and yellow helmet

Tough As Nails contestant: Firefighter Young An.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

The self-described "goofy" firefighter, 36, attributes his toughness to his immigrant parents, who taught him to "go three times harder than the next person." Although Young An's job isn't always glamorous ("I have been on many calls dealing with a lot of puke, blood, and poop…lots of poop"), he loves visiting schools, where the kids make him feel like a rock star. "The first time a little Asian kid saw me, his eyes lit up!"

Linda Goodridge

Deputy sheriff Linda Goodridge poses in her navy blue police uniform

Tough As Nails contestant: Deputy sheriff Linda Goodridge.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Can you win with honesty and integrity? The 29-year-old deputy sheriff hopes so—and she's got mental toughness to boot: "People would be surprised to learn that my job in the jail is not easy," Linda Goodridge says. "I face sexual harassment and sometimes a hostile work environment." Despite the odds, she's excelled in her career.

Luis Yuli

Scaffolder Luis Yuli poses wearing a yellow and gray safety vest

Tough As Nails contestant: Scaffolder Luis Yuli.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

The 35-year-old scaffolder is competing for his kids. "My son sees me as a superhero and I would love to make him proud," Luis Yuli says. He's certainly got the brawn to challenge for the title: Materials at his job can weigh as much as 3,000 pounds!

Kelly “Murph” Murphy

Marine Corps veteran Kelly Murph Murphy poses in a black and gray checked flannel work shirt

Tough As Nails contestant: Marine Corps veteran Kelly "Murph" Murphy.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Quiet but determined, this 47-year-old Marine Corps vet wants to prove to himself that he can "still get the job done" like he did on active duty. Kelly "Murph" Murphy's proudest moment? "During my last deployment, I was the Senior Marine for my company," he says. "We deployed with 210 Marines and returned home with all of them."

Callie Cattell

Fisherman Callie Cattell poses wearing a wet mud dotted slicker in bright orange

Tough As Nails contestant: Fisherman Callie Cattell.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

As a commercial fisherman, the 28-year-old spends two and a half months out at sea "with no toilet, no shower, and crappy food"—which has helped Callie Cattell maintain a level head in tough situations. Fun fact: She once worked for NASA training astronauts underwater for their spacewalks!

Myles V. Polk

Forestry tech Myles V Polk poses wearing a yellow hard hat and a flannel shirt under a mesh safety vest

Tough As Nails contestant: Forestry tech Myles V. Polk.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

As a forestry tech, the 28-year-old has a varied job description: cleaning hiking trails one day, suppressing a wildfire the next, and climbing a 100-foot tree to collect pollen and cones the next. If he wins, Myles V. Polk would help his family out of debt and give his girlfriend the wedding of her dreams!

Tara Davis

Ironworker Tara Davis poses wearing a hard hat and a lime green shirt with a construction harness

Tough As Nails contestant: Ironworker Tara Davis.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Only 1% of ironworkers are women—and the 30-year-old is part of that exclusive club. "Blood, sweat, and tears have earned every dime on my check," Tara Davis says. Just as tough is her job as a mom of four, one with special needs. But her determination just might help her cross the finish line: "I have the heart to not give up even when my body hurts."

Michelle S. Kiddy

Gate agent Michelle S. Kiddy poses wearing glasses and a gray blue button shirt

Tough As Nails contestant: Gate agent Michelle S. Kiddy.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

At age 62, she's the oldest competitor—but is the airport gate agent also the toughest? Michelle S. Kiddy wants to win to prove that "real people, hardworking people like me who are older, educated, and experienced are 'like gold.'"

Lee Marshall

Roofer Lee Marshall poses with his arms crossed wearing a brown T shirt and safety harness

Tough As Nails contestant: Roofer Lee Marshall.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

The 61-year-old roofer is a man of few words but lets his hard work do the talking. So what makes Lee Marshall tough as nails? "I don't make excuses." 'Nuff said!

Tough As Nails has a two-hour premiere on Wednesday, July 8 at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.

MOST POPULAR

By viewing our video content you are accepting the terms of our Video Services Policy.
© 2019 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.

Follow us: