Tough as Nails is the gruelling CBS competition where everyday Americans are celebrated for their endurance and strength.

It is now back on our screens from October 6th, which involves 12 new contestants going head-to-head to show the skills they are made of.

From a carpenter to a crop duster, they come from a range of careers and backgrounds, and are getting ready to roll up sleeves and get hands dirty.

Reality Titbit found the season three cast on Instagram. We got digging (pardon the pun) so that you didn’t have to… meet them below!

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Takeru “Tak” Tanabe is a 35-year-old construction carpenter from Hawaii.

The contestant, of Japanese descent, describes himself as hard-working, fast, and strategic.

He said he is proud of all of the buildings he has worked on, and is mainly competing for his family.

Looking through his Instagram, he is a father to one daughter, who is less than a year old when the season begins.


Kelsy Reynolds, 30, is a crop duster from Mansfield, Illinois.

“Energetic, positive and fun” are the three words she’d use to describe herself, and is competing for herself and “all small females out there”.

She is busy during all seasons, from cropping dust in the summer months, harvesting during fall, and pushing snow in winter.

Running her own business, Kelsy works from sunrise to sunset, which includes filling the helicopter with oil and fuel in morning.

She then makes sure her maps and chemicals are set to have a productive day of helping farmers get their fields sprayed.


Christine Connors, 29, is an ironworker from Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

She now lives in Glendora, California. Her everyday job involves erecting steel buildings, connecting them, rigging them and welding them.

The contestant welded a whole school building by herself in California!

She is in a relationship with a woman named Katie.


Kalimba Edwards, 43, is a fire captain from Minneapolis.

She is a mother to two sons Ty and Mekhi, who she is competing for, as well as her own mom and herself.

The contestant hopes to win the cash prize so that she can help her mom retire, who has ran a daycare for 40 years.

Her job involves being the first to arrive at incidents, from heart attacks to shootings, adding that she has “been through just about everything”.


Sarah Ham is a 30-year-old cement mason from Queens, New York.

They build and restore structures using cement to guarantee stabilization and provide strengthen so that building can be around for many years.

A typical day for Sarah is heavy lifting, mixing cement or doing demo.

The contestant is competing for their nephews, niece and gramps in mind, and says they are always looking for ways to grow as a person.


Lamar Edwin Hanger, 54, was a carpenter in Eastvale, California.

Originally from Orange County, he is now a retired 31-year skilled professional union carpenter.

A typical day for him is staying active, exercising and working on home projects. He is competing for family and United Brotherhood Carpenters.

Buildings that he is proud of working on include Disneyland, the remodel of the Beverly Hills Hotel and Petco Park San Diego Padres!


Jerome Kupuka’a is a 48-year-old heavy equipment operator.

Currently living in Kapolei, Hawai’i, and originally from Ewa Beach, he is competing for his daughter Jerae, who signed him up for the show.

What he believes makes him tough as nails is that he has done “probably every type of construction trade from when he was 17 years old”.

He once worked on a 10-year project for military housing, his proudest structure that he has been part of.


Lia Mort is a Jill of all trades, and currently 54 years old.

Living in Richfield, Pennsylvania, and originally born in Lititz, she does several different jobs, from engine repair to farm tours.

In the past, she was a marine, firefighter, commercial tractor trailer driver, and large caliber gunner, to name just a few jobs on her resume.

Lin has also served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is her proudest moment in life.

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Elizabeth Rillera, 37, is a contractor living in Olympia, Washington.

From Shelton, she spends her days taking drawings from a piece of paper and brings them to real life.

She once dug 9 feet underneath a home on a steep hill and constructed a full basement!

A usual day for her involves moving thousands of pounds of concrete, by tearing it out and replacing, or constructing wood forms for new concrete.


Alfredo “Alfie” P. Rivera is a 55-year-old construction supervisor.

Originally from Santiago, Chile, he is now living in Lilburn, Georgia, where he opens a job site at 6.30am for five days a week.

His usual day involves the following:

  • Oversee construction crews build buildings
  • Close job site at 4.30pm
  • Head to the gym, work out for 1.5 hours
  • Eat a healthy dinner
  • Go home and stretch


Mike Shaffer, 32, is a lineman from Brewerton, New York.

Describing himself in three words, he said he is “perseverant, positive and humble”, and would love to win Tough As Nails for his family.

He also said people would be surprised to learn his job entails working in upstate New York’s brutal winters!

Mike told CBS:

What makes me tough as nails is working in any weather and playing with electricity in my hands every day. Being away from my family for long periods can be very hard at times, but I’m doing it for them.


Dequincey “Quincey” Walker is a diesel mechanic.

The 34-year-old is a resident Florence, South Carolina, but was born in Lamar. He is competing for himself and his family.

Quincey is also playing for his high school teammates that he let down during senior year, while playing football for the upper state championship.

Talking about what he does, he told CBS:

I pray, I work, I love on my family, I help people, I listen to people, I enjoy every day above ground and not take anything for granted.



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