By Jesse-Ann Hennessey
Special to KingsCountyNews.ca
An inventive guitar stand/seat made from plywood is what got a South Berwick resident into the top 15 competitors on the popular HGTV show Canada’s Handyman Challenge.
Shannon Parker - an employee representative for Michelin, a minor hockey couch and volunteer firefighter - took some time off to audition for the show in Halifax, and it paid off.
Parker’s wife, Heather, saw the ad for the auditions and thought it would be funny if Parker tried out.
“I said, ‘Yeah, whatever, I’ll do that,’ not figuring it would ever amount to anything.”
When he was chosen to compete on the show, Parker admits he was surprised.
“I was a little surprised, I knew I had some handyman skills, but I wasn’t quite sure what they’d be looking for.”
Being in the competition and getting a chance to meet the other competitors was a lot of fun, said Parker.
“It was nice to meet some people from all over Canada.”
Celebrity judges Bryan Baeumler, Scott McGillivray and Paul Lafrance were really down to earth, he said.
The time limits competitors have to build the projects are no lie, added Parker.
“It was on your marks, get set, go - and away you went. You went for it and hoped for the best,” he said.
The time limit made building things difficult because Parker had to decide between finishing the project and it ending up sloppy or making sure everything was done really well and not finishing.
“You have to find a happy medium every time,” he said, adding that the idea was to show the judges you knew what needed to be done.
“That’s sort of their fine line, being able to show them your thought process and you know what needs to get done, as opposed to puttering along.”
Parker used to watch the show and remembers wondering why people built things a certain way or used the tools they did. Being on the other side of the camera gave him a greater understanding, he said.
“The time restraint takes out using exactly the right tool for the right job.”
Heather Parker and the rest of the family still don’t know what happens in the upcoming episodes, so on Tuesday nights, they have the family over and watch the show.
“It’s fun for me to sit back and look at it now to see how they edited everything,” he said.
Heather jokingly said the best part about it is that she now knows how quickly her husband can get things done.
“I’m excited because now I know under pressure he can make things in like two hours,” she laughed.
Parker can’t talk about what happens in the episodes to come, but he promises that the viewers will stay entertained.
“Some of the challenges are going to be surprising as to what we had to do,” he said.
When the competitors had to build a fence and gate, Parker came out as a favourite and has gotten some requests since the episode aired.
“I’ve had a lot of requests if I can build a fence and a gate,” laughed Parker.
Participants got to do a lot of fun stuff in the competition and it was a neat experience to go through, Parker said.
“Things turned out really well in Halifax and continued to go well up in Toronto.”
A fan favourite competition has started on the website; you can go and vote for your favourite competitor. Go to http://www.hgtv.ca/canadashandymanchallenge/poll/ to vote for Shannon Parker.