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A double shot of Americana from the Sportsman Channel Thursday night left viewers smiling from coast to coast. Amazing America with Sarah Palin made its long anticipated debut and for an extra treat a second episode ran immediately after the premiere. The back-to-back shows featuring the former Alaska governor were both enjoyable from start to finish.
The first two installments of Amazing America with Sarah Palin gave us a good idea of what we can expect for the season. Each thirty-minute program was packed with unique, interesting stories focusing on the outdoors and the Americans who love to work and play there.
In the first episode, Palin hosted from a studio wearing a pink “Girls With Guns” T-shirt. She introduced the segments and then kicked it over to her field hosts. Palin would interject with commentary and factoids as each story unfolded.
The first stop was Tennessee. That’s where field host Jerry Carroll paid a visit to professional wrestler “Cowboy” James Storm. The grappler gave Carroll quite a show. First he broke the ice by giving Carroll some wrestling duds to wear. Storm then invited Carroll into the ring and picked him up for a body slam. Luckily, for the fifty-something Carroll, Strong did not follow through, instead electing to lay Carroll down gently on his feet. When the real grappling started Carroll tagged out and let his “body double” take the beating.
Storm then brought Carroll along for an inside look at his cowboy lifestyle. They fired guns and rode horses. Storm showed off his Henry rifle. The guys finished up at a local watering hole for some beer. Both Storm and Carroll smiled ear to ear throughout their time together. At the end of the segment Palin returned and lauded Storm for the way he lives his life. “How great is it that so many years after they’ve tamed this land that we love, there are still modern day cowboys keeping the spirit alive in America,” Palin said.
The next amazing American featured was Julie Golob, the world class shooting champion. Field host Mark Christopher Lawrence met up with Golob at her home in Montana. The bubbly marksman proceeding to put on a clinic.
In sub-freezing temperatures, Golob competed with Lawrence in various events. Steel challenge, short course of fire, and IDPA were all on the docket. Lawrence did well and had a lot of laughs, but the world class champion Golob stole the show. Palin called Golob a “modern day Annie Oakley.”
After braving the cold, Golob invited Lawrence into her home. There, the Army veteran, wife, and mother of two showed off some of her most prized possessions…her guns. Lawrence’s eyes popped as he looked at what he described as a “small arsenal.” Golob shared some fun stories including the time she and her husband shot a deer while out on a date, all while she was pregnant. You can see why Palin wanted Golob on the show.
The visit ended with a little venison chili prepared by Golob. Lawrence clearly enjoyed every moment.
“Women are taking up arms and defending this country in droves,” said Palin. “Today more than ever women are becoming some of the most enthusiastic and skilled shooters.” Julie Golob is the perfect example.
The premiere of Amazing America with Sarah Palin
left the viewer excited for more. Sportsman Channel accommodated them with a second episode immediately after the debut.
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In the second show, Palin left the studio and took to the outdoors herself. Fittingly, she was in her home state of Alaska. The entire show was dedicated to the Iditarod and one of its legendary mushers.
DeeDee Jonrowe is a hero to many in Alaska and around the nation. Not only is she one of the most accomplished mushers of all-time, but Jonrowe overcame cancer to get back on the sled. “DeeDee’s story is one every sportsman should know,” Palin said. She’s right. The perseverance and passion of this woman could serve as an inspiration to any athlete. Jonrowe, who just took part in her thirty second Iditatrod, was back in action just three weeks after chemotherapy. Her secret? “I feel God on my side,” Jonrowe told Palin.
Palin wanted an up close and personal story about the amazing dogs and mushers involved in the Iditarod. She got it…and then some.
First, Palin visited Jonrowe’s kennel, her office if you will, which is home to 62 dogs. Jonrowe introduced many of them to Palin including two playful pooches named Track and Trig. The Mama Grizzly gave the dogs some snacks and then things really got interesting.
Jonrowe suited up some of her dogs with pink, paw-protecting booties and took Palin out on the sled with a full mush team. “Unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes”, Palin joked.
The ride got off to a rough start as Palin completely wiped out and fell off the sled. In typical Palin fashion she jumped right back on with a smile. “I’m good, let’s go,” said Palin.
As the two Alaskan women trekked down the historic trail, Palin let it all soak in. “What a privilege to get to experience nature in this way,” she said. “This is what freedom means.”
Perhaps the sweetest and really most amazing part of the first two episodes happened when Jonrowe and Palin returned to the kennel. There, Jonrowe checked on the health of her dogs and then stretched out one of her four-legged friends. The dog’s expression was incredible. Clearly he enjoyed the special treatment from Jonrowe. The love between this musher and her dogs is powerful.
After spending the day at Jonrowe’s “office,” Palin returned the favor. She brings the Iditarod queen to her house for a full supper that includes that patented Palin moose chili. “Yes we eat organic,” said Palin. “We just have to shoot it first.”
The respect and admiration Palin has for DeeDee Jonrowe is vast. “She embodies that same pioneer spirit that without, there would be no America.” How true.
Amazing America with Sarah Palin is off to a roaring start. If the rest of the season is as well put together as these first two shows, Sportsman Channel has a real hit anchoring its Thursday lineup.
Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @KevinScholla