Summerland’s John Rousseau is vying for the coveted title up for grabs on the second season of Canada’s Handyman Challenge on the HGTV network.
A win would also will put $25,000 in his pocket, money that he already has plans for.
“Buy more tools,” said Rousseau. “I’m a tool guy. As many tools as you can think of. I just actually converted a portable shipping container into a fabrication studio. I love building furniture and mosaics out of stone, so tools and more tools would be great.”
The show airs on HGTV on Tuesday nights and puts contestants through rigorous challenges to test their handyman skills in order to be crowned Canada’s Best Handyman.
Rousseau first heard about the show from an online posting and, besides the chance at $25,000, the prospect of being on television was also appealing. But first he had to make it past a tough audition process in Vancouver that ended up with him showing the judges what he could do with a piece of plywood.
“Being able to show off what you can do with a piece of plywood is a pretty cool thing to be able to do,” said Rousseau.
Although, his “man-station” bench didn’t seem to go over that well with the judges, Rousseau even went as far as slightly mocking the judges in his one-on-one with the camera after he showed off his bench, but he managed to get picked for the challenges that day.
“I was being really cocky and you can see that going through the episode, because they later tore my hammock apart,” he said.
Tearing it apart in the literal sense, folding it basically in half to prove he hadn’t quite thought out his design so well. The challenge before that was just as tedious, having to hang mismatched doors.
“I had a target on my back for sure because of the attitude I came in with. But, confidence is key. You have to sell yourself. The first challenges were absolutely brutal… the whole thing about this show is they put you into a stressful situation. The short amount of time is the brutal part about the challenges. You have people constantly reminding you and they have cameras all around you.
Rousseau is actually a Journeyman tile setter by trade, but quickly found out time management is one of his downfalls when put in a crunch.
“You give a man tools and time and you get perfection. You give a guy tools and no time and you get deception,” he said.
The show wasn’t looking for professionals but Rousseau admits he “snuck” into the competition by telling them he was an artistic fabricator — just a fancier term for what he does.
“Well there are doctors that specialize in things like a cardiologist or a dentist, but a cardiologist doesn’t do root canals. I didn’t find my skill set really would even mean anything because your not setting tile or laying out a floor,” said Rousseau.
Judging the contestants are HGTV celebrities Scott McGillivray (Income Property), Bryan Baeumler (Leave It To Bryan, House Of Bryan), and Paul Lafrance (Decked Out, Deck Wars). The ultimate handyman, Mike Holmes (Homes Makes It Right, Holmes Inspection) will weigh in on who will be crowned the winner of Canada’s Handyman Challenge. Rousseau said it is his dream to be a HGTV celebrity, hosting his own show renovating bathrooms. Obviously comfortable in front of the cameras, his musical background helped him his performance.
“With what I do there is no bathroom-specific show on HGTV and if this goes well and people like me, maybe I could be a host. I have the skill set to do that. Helping rich house wives spend their husband’s money on TV,” joked Rousseau, who can be followed on Twitter @Johnthehandyman.