Monticello assistant coach gets chance for revenge on CMT show

Monticello assistant coach gets chance for revenge on CMT show

MONTICELLO — If you've seen Ken Duffy running around his Monticello neighborhood with an 80-pound piece of barn wood on his shoulders, there is a method behind his madness.

The former college football receiver has been invited to participate for the second time in "Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge," and it takes hard work to prepare for the show's extreme sports categories that include the "Pulverizer" and "Trench Warfare."

His episode is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Tuesday on CMT.

Duffy, a former Decatur police officer who now works for Barcom Security and has been an assistant coach for the Monticello High School football team for five years, finished second out of eight in a "Skull Challenge" airing last season. He was then invited to take part in a revenge episode this year made up of former participants.

"It's quite a bit of an undertaking," said Duffy, a 2002 graduate of Heyworth High School who went on to be a receiver on the Western Illinois University football team. "I thrive on competition and seeing what my body can do. Without being in collegiate competition anymore, this is a way to do it."

He works out six times per week at CrossFit KMC in Monticello. No matter how tired he is at the end of a session, he always ends with "running and jumping on the rope, no matter how tired I am, and climbing to the top of CrossFit."

That helped him prepare for the television show effort, which was filmed at a set near Hollywood, Calif., that mimics Austin's Texas ranch where he invented his skullbuster workout.

The number of contestants is cut in half each week, with this year's winner taking on Austin's extreme obstacle course for a chance to earn $25,000. Competitors on the course typically start running — with a 65-pound weight on their back.

Hence Duffy's barn-wood-laden runs.

"People probably think I'm crazy when I run around Apple Tree" subdivision, he added.

Duffy is not allowed to reveal his results, but show runners informed him his first-round match this year was one of the longest in the show's four-year history.

At 6 foot 1 inch tall and weighing 185 pounds, he was one of the lighter ones in his weight class last year. Since this year's show includes returnees, Duffy said he was one again one of the smaller participants.

Featured events include the fan favorite Trench Warfare, where combatants have to wade through water and muck to get past their opponent and ring a bell to take the round. Another one sees two participants tied to each other in a sand pit trying to drag the other person far enough to win.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin is a retired wrestling standout who was named to the WWE Hall of Fame inn 2009. He is also an actor and producer, and has hosted the "Broken Skull Challenge" since 2014.

Steve Hoffman is editor of the Piatt County Journal-Republican, a News-Gazette Media community newspaper. For more, visit