Arts and Entertainment journalist Geoff Edgers had no intention of becoming a TV star. At 42, he was more than happy covering interesting subcultures for his gig as a staff writer at the Boston Globe. But his career path recently took a sharp turn and now he’s about to make his debut as the Travel Channel’s newest host on “Edge of America.”
It all started when Geoff set out to make a documentary about his efforts to reunite the Kinks. “Do It Again” quickly became a film festival darling and a cut down version aired on PBS. A clip also got into the hands of Travel Channel execs, thanks to a friend of Geoff’s who worked at the network.
And as Geoff recalled the process just snowballed from there, “We shot a pilot and they loved that. And they said like, ‘Let’s make another six.’ And we started making that and they were like, ‘We really like these so let’s make more.’ And there you go.”
The result is a nationwide journey to the most unusual not-so-hot spots in the country. On the show Geoff not only attends the Calf Testicle Festival in Oklahoma, but actually castrates a bull. He also wrestles an alligator and enters an off-road race that involves pigs — you’ll have to tune in to see what that’s all about.
Thanks to Geoff, viewers will be able to vicariously experience these often dangerous, uniquely American adventures. He acknowledged, “On this never ending road trip it’s been finding these events and this entertainment that can only happen in these places. The fact is you’re never going to see the Pig N’ Ford race. Trying to explain what it is almost impossible. When you see it you understand why it’s so awesome. But where else are you going to see that?”
This new take on local tourism might just give would be travelers a new perspective on what some states have to offer. Geoff noted, “ When you think about Oklahoma it’s like, where else are you going to go to a rattlesnake derby. And it looks like a carnival, it looks like something I see all over the place, and suddenly you realize there are thousands of snakes that are an essential part of it. People are eating snakes. They’re catching them. They’re killing them. They’re walking around with them. It’s crazy.”
But when asked what the scariest experiences he had were, Geoff answered, “Tackling an alligator and castrating a bull. I don’t even go to brises. I’m not a fan of blood. And I’m suddenly out in this field with a scalpel and these guys and I have to do it. And I knew I was going to do it but I didn’t really know I was going to do it. That moment where I go, ‘What’s that?’ Because really, I didn’t understand what I was doing, what the process was. I was just trying to keep my head in it. That was crazy. That was scary to me.”
Still Geoff has had some fun while filming, too. “A couple of days ago I skied down a mountain in Colorado with a Norse god named Ullr,” he recounted. “And I was dogsledding. I got to fly a seaplane in Maine. All sorts of things that I don’t know what these people are thinking when they allow me to do these things. I was in Pennsylvania and I got to enter a demolition derby. A guy just lets me smash up other cars. And I played something called unicycle football, which is just as ridiculous as it sounds.”
But when his television work is done, Edgers settle back in to his normal life in Massachusetts. And even he seems to be in a state of disbelief about what he’s put himself through for the sake of good TV. “It sounds insane. I have a pretty normal life and I’ll be walking my kid to school and she’ll be like, ‘Daddy, show them the picture of you with the alligator.’ And they’re like, ‘Is that real?’ And I’m like, ‘It’s totally real.’”
Tune in to the new reality of Geoff Edgers life when “Edge of America” premieres on Tuesday, January 22 at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. Central on Travel Channel.
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