Hear what Nick Hoffman, fiddle player extraordinaire, thinks will make Nick's Wild Ride a standout on Outdoor Channel.
Not every outdoorsman who ends up with a television show follows the same path. There's probably a fair amount of variety in the backgrounds of the folks you watch on Outdoor Channel day in and day out.
Still, it'd be tough to match the story of Nick Hoffman and his new show Nick's Wild Ride. It's also tough to beat the show concept itself, but we'll let the star speak to that in a bit.
Nick says he grew up in "Hunting USA," a.k.a. the area around the suburban town Nowthen, Minnesota, where whitetails, pheasants, duck, grouse, bear, and moose are never far away. Not a bad place for a budding outdoorsman, huh?
"I grew up in absolute small-town Midwest," said Nick, "and for some reason, I was the only guy out of all my friends that didn't come from a family who hunted."
Instead, he grew up in a musical family and started playing fiddle at age 5.
"Even still," he said, "I've always heard the call from the outdoors."
Absorbing books, articles, videos, and more, he started to learn as much as he could about the world of hunting. When a neighbor took him on his first hunt (for deer with a muzzleloader), that sparked a lifetime love. Though he didn't put down the fiddle for good, Nick admitted that hunting sometimes took time away from his music.
He wouldn't normally mention that, except that before his hunting TV show ever came into the picture, the fiddle had basically helped Nick reach stardom. He worked his way up to playing music with some of country's biggest names, including Kenny Chesney. Today, he's one-third of the group The Farm, still dazzling fans with his musical skills.
Over time, Nick's musical successes led to some natural crossover connections with people like Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, and Don and Kandi Kisky. He became friends with those who already had shows, "because I'm a fan, a consumer."
Finally, Dave Watson made the suggestion.
"As I kind of had some entry, once a year making a guest appearance on a TV show here and there, I starting meeting some people in the outdoors," Nick recalled. "After an episode with him [Dave Watson], he said 'Man, you really ought to have your own TV show,' and I was like, 'No, no, no, I don't have time for anything like that.' And he kind of had this idea, and said, 'You ought to just do what you do anyway. Be yourself and just travel around. Maybe bring some of your celebrity friends with you, and have like a hunting and travel show.'"
Nick let the concept marinate, realized it was unique and worth pursuing, and went after it. They made a pilot, showed it to the network, and the rest is history: "It's taken on a life of its own."
To get a taste of what Nick's Wild Ride is about, check out this trailer.
"I'm a nomad type of person," Nick told us. "When I go on a hunt, I search out the local food, local music, local beer, local people. I mean, I like to explore."
That distinction helps Nick's Wild Ride instantly gain an engaging and creative edge over other hunting shows, which can sometimes fail to focus on (or even mention) the location they're shot in. This show, which is already garnering positive response and critique, makes a strong connection to the people, places, and things that make a particular hunting location interesting.
"I think that people do this stuff anyway, and we're just showing it," Nick explained.
The highlight of the first season, Nick shared, would be the trip to Argentina for red stag. They spent nearly a week in Buenos Ares, one of the most populated cities in South America, which was then "juxtaposed with this desolate, gorgeous space that is Patagonia."
Nick said the experience of the horseback hunt is hard to put into words, but it's one he'll never forget.
That said, he wanted to stress another important difference between his show and others.
"I am not, and never will claim to be, an expert of any sort," he said. "I'm a consummate outdoorsman and have been hunting most of my life, but this is not a how-to show. What it is instead is just following me on my adventure, my wild ride. And if I screw up, you're gonna see it. If I do something awesome, you're gonna see that, too."
Though Nick admitted that the show, in addition to the time spent on his music career, prevents him from being home with his wife and daughter as often as he might like, he's still eager to pursue everything it has to offer.
"This TV show has given me an avenue to systematically check things off my bucket list," he said. "You're talking to a guy who's literally living his dream."
Sure sounds like it.
Nick's Wild Ride airs on Outdoor Channel on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. EST.