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REALITY TV: Area native crushes the competition

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 Heather Hudson topples one of seven competitors on the CMT reality show.

Heather Hudson topples one of seven competitors on the CMT reality show.

Heather Hudson is tough.

Just ask “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

Hudson, 23, says the former professional wrestling champion called her one of the “most badass” people he’d ever met after she won Sunday’s pretaped episode of “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge” on CMT.

“I will never forget that,” said Hudson, a Spotsylvania County resident and former star soccer player at Courtland High School. “That’s probably going to be my number one compliment that I’ve ever received in my entire life.”

Hudson beat seven other women on the show, where athletes compete in a series of challenges until all but one is eliminated. The last woman standing has a chance to complete the grueling, half-mile Skullbuster obstacle course for $10,000.

Hudson not only finished the obstacle course, but became the first woman in the show’s short history to do so. She could win another $30,000 if the women on this season’s remaining episodes do not beat her time of 8 minutes, 59 seconds.

So far, Hudson’s time is better than that of the only man to conquer the Skullbuster. She says she plans to use much of her initial prize money to help relatives in the Philippines who were impacted by last year’s tsunami.

Though the show’s dialogue may have been a little forced, Hudson says the competition itself was “100 percent real.” “You can’t fake physical fitness,” she said.

Heather Hudson (far right) led the entire pack on ‘Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge.’

Heather Hudson (far right) led the entire pack on ‘Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge.’

Hudson, who is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and 125 pounds, began the Skullbuster carrying a 30-pound log. She also had to submerge in 35-degree water before climbing the 100-foot Heartbreak Hill.

As Hudson pauses at the middle of the hill—which has a 40-degree incline—during the show, Austin can be heard shouting: “It ain’t just in your head—it’s in your legs, it’s in your lungs, it’s in your lower back, it’s in your entire body saying, ‘I can’t do it! There’s no way I can beat Steve Austin’s Skullbuster!’”

She finished the course with a 17-foot vertical rope climb.

The show was taped in March, Hudson said, and, needless to say, her phone got a workout after it aired.

“I felt like my phone was gonna die,” she said. “Everyone is just so excited. Honestly, I felt like I had the whole county rooting for me.”

Hudson also made several buddies on the show. She says she’s now Facebook friends with all seven of her opponents, including a 44-year-old woman whom she called an “old lady” on the episode.

Hudson isn’t normally a trash talker but says the show’s producers helped her show off a more feisty side. “It’s a little hard when you’re generally a nice and humble person,” she said.

She will appear on the Aug. 10 episode of “Broken Skull Challenge” to watch the latest female winner try to beat her time on the Skullbuster.

Hudson had quite the résumé, even before appearing on national television.

She is currently a football player for the all-women’s Legends Football League, formerly the Lingerie Football League. Redskins great Gary Clark, who predicted that Hudson would “dominate” the show, is head coach of her Baltimore Charm team.

Hudson also sells life insurance and is a waitress for Vinny’s Italian Grill & Pizzeria on Leavells Road. Not to mention, she spent several years in the U.S. Army after high school.

She hopes to become a personal trainer and says her success on the show “definitely will help to get some respect and recognition.” Who knows, maybe she’ll follow in Stone Cold’s footsteps and become a professional wrestler.

“A couple people have slipped the idea to me,” she said. “Right now, I’m so focused on so many different things, [but] if I keep excelling in the fitness field, that could be something that I could look at.”

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402