Still, Richards made it through casting for a second time and prepared to fly out to L.A. to begin shooting in November of last year. That’s when his year-and-a-half journey came to an end.
“Literally two days before I fly out there, I get a call, and they say, ‘We cut the cast from 14 to 12. You’re the first one out,’” Richards said.
He jokingly refers to himself as the show’s first loser.
“It’s disappointing,” he said. “You get that far. You’re right there. You can see it. You can taste it, and you can’t quite get there.”
The producers still asked him to fly to California as a backup in case one contestant quit. Richards decided to go because he knew it’d be a unique opportunity, he said.
“The first day of the shoot came, and, lo and behold, no one dropped out, so they threw me on a plane and sent me home,” he said.
In his exit interview, NBC asked Richards if he’d be willing to do a second season. He isn’t sure that he would.
“Business here is first and foremost,” he said. “It would have been extremely hard to be away from my family for that long.”
Of the several thousand applicants for the show, Richards was essentially number 13, a fact he and Engebretson are proud of.
“Obviously, they saw something in me that they liked and saw something in what I do in my business that they liked and that they thought would work out good for the show,” he said.
“He’s got high quality and high standards in the building industry,” Engebretson said. “He thinks outside the box and does something unusual or different from someone else.”
Richards doesn’t regret his decision to apply for the show. Going after something you want is important, he said.
“It’s like anything in life. If it’s something you think you wanna try, go for it,” he said. “Be willing to take every opportunity possible when you can and just run with it.”
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