America’s favorite mountaineer MacGyvers Eugene Runkis (above) and Spencer “Two-Dogs” Boljack return for a brand new season of Appalachiangineering with tonight’s Hillbilly Blood season premiere on Destination America at 9/8c. In honor of the occasion I figured I would try to answers some of the most frequent questions asked about the show, and more specifically, about Eugene.
Where is Hillbilly Blood filmed? Destination America says the show is set in Cold Mountain, but Cold Mountain is not actually a town, but an actual mountain in the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it was the title of the National Book Award for Fiction winning novel by Charles Frazier and the Academy Award winning film adaptation starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger and more. However, don’t go looking for a glimpse of familiar sites from Hillbilly Blood in the movie because it was actually filmed in Romania.
According to his Facebook page, Eugene actually resides in (or near) Bryson City, North Carolina, which is in the extreme western tip of the state with the Nantahala National Forest to the south and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the north. In addition to being the meat in a national park sandwich, Bryson City is also right in the middle of three different mountain groupings. As you might have guessed, The Great Smoky Mountains rise to the north, the Cowee Mountains rise to the south, and the Plott Balsams rise to the east, according to Wikipedia.
Is Hillbilly Blood‘s Eugene Runkis married? Yes. Eugene has been married to wife Lisa Turfryer Runkis (above) for more than twenty years. They have a seven-year-old daughter (as of October, 2013) together named Tatjana (photo below). Eugene also appears to have a 22-year-old daughter named Ashley Runkis from a previous relationship.
How can I buy a knife made by Hillbilly Blood‘s Eugene Runkis? Eugene takes orders for his custom knives via his Eugene Trapperjacksurvival Runkis Facebook page. And if you’re curious about pricing, Eugene responded to a fan’s inquiry about how much his knives cost back in January by writing, “my handmade knives are $229 each and it comes with a handmade leather sheath and shipping is included.” He adds that to place an order, just send him a message via the Facebook page.
Is Hillbilly Blood fake? After doing a bit of research my conclusion is that these fellers are the real deal. As usual, producers do manipulate things a bit to keep the show interesting, but at the heart of the show are two genuinely brilliant guys living hardcore hillbilly lives.
Does Eugene’s mind ever turn off? “Nope, it doesn’t,” says his wife Lisa. “I know 20 years of it lol.”
Hillbilly Blood A Hardscrabble Life airs Saturday nights at 9/8c on Destination America. Here is some of what you can expect from the first two episodes:
Cowboy ATV/Ramp mobile Premieres Saturday, August 9 at 9/8c
Spencer and Eugene must build an all-terrain vehicle for Cowboy to harvest ramp plants. These mountain men must decipher Cowboy’s baffling descriptions to customize the ATV exactly as he requires. They use what they can to transform old equipment into a brand new ATV for Cowboy.
Lincoln Logs Premieres Saturday, August 9 at 9:30/8:30c
When a dying hemlock tree threatens to topple over onto Spencer’s forge, Eugene makes a plan for bringing the giant tree down safely, and then for using the 500-pound logs to build a valuable drying shed that will help Spencer grow his herb business.
And here’s a sneak peek video clip: