Wednesday, 08 August 2012 00:00

Pair of preachers put ‘picking’ talents to the test in Picked Off competition

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art frBy Peggy Manning • Correspondent

Two Western North Carolina preachers were chosen for an episode of the new Picked Off television series, pitting their talents against other “pickers” searching for items they hope will bring the best price.

The Revs. Stacy Woods, pastor of Iotla Baptist Church in Franklin, and his best friend, Kris Estep, who is pastor of Barberville Baptist Church in Waynesville, both have backgrounds in antiques and auctions. Both are also fans of the American Pickers television series.

When Estep learned about the challenge presented by the new series, he told Woods, and the two decided to submit information about themselves to the producers of the show. The producers called back to set up an online Skype interview, which ended up being an hour and a half long, Woods said.

The two preacher pals were selected and in March drove to the site where their episode would be filmed for four days. Although they signed an agreement with the producers not to reveal that site, the History Channel website gives it away in a teaser about the episode.

According to the website, four teams of amateur pickers met in Louisiana to film their episode, “Pickin’ the Big Easy.”

“Outside New Orleans, the teams head to a historic plantation house where a once-in-a-lifetime estate sale is being held. One couple disagrees on which item to take to the dealers’ room and another resorts to hiding items so others won’t find them. In the second round, finding something Mardi Gras-related leaves all of the teams outside their comfort zone,” says the teaser for the episode.

Woods said he and Estep were given $100 to purchase their first item, which they then brought back to antique experts, brothers Todd and Ethan Merrill, to appraise.

The team whose item brings in the lowest appraisal gets “Picked Off” and goes home. The remaining teams go on to the next challenge – this time with their “profit” from the first challenge to be used to purchase the next item. In the third and final challenge, the two remaining teams compete for a winner-take-all $10,000 grand prize.

Woods grew up in the antique and auction business, with his parents Thad and Lee Wood taking their children with them to their weekend auctions, which they started 37 years ago.

The couple started their auction business in 1975 in a small building in downtown Waynesville, which only seated 60. As the auction became more popular, they moved it to a larger facility on U.S. 23-74 in the Balsam community west of Waynesville. That building seats 300 and is packed to capacity every weekend.

“I’m really proud that Stacy is on this show,” Thad Woods said.

Stacy Woods has been a licensed auctioneer for 16 years and said being able to work with his best friend, who he met eight years ago when the two were in Bible school, will definitely be a lasting memory.

Woods has been in the ministry 11 years, four years at Iotla. Estep became a preacher five years ago and has been at Barberville for a year and a half.

Twenty-eight year old Estep said his interest in antiques also started when he was a young boy. An uncle collected antiques, which he stored in several barns and sheds. Every time Estep visited his uncle, he would take him out to the barns and sheds to show him all his new additions and to box up a few things to take back home with him.

Filming the Picked Off show was a new experience, as was buying in an area he had never been to before, Estep said.

“Stacy and I have always bought in North and South Carolina, so this was a learning curve and a big step outside my comfort zone,” Estep said. “When we brought our item back to be judged, we wondered if we had made the right choice and bought the right item.

“But, it was a wonderful experience, and I would definitely like to do something like that again,” he said. “It was just amazing to see how many people it takes to put together a production like that.”

Although anyone wanting to know the results of the challenges will have to watch the series to find out, Thad and Lee Woods are just delighted that their son and Estep will be among those featured on the show.

The other five episodes in the six-part series that premiered July 11 on the History Channel include: Firemen to the Rescue, filmed in Mississippi; Radio Fight, in Alabama; Outside the Box, along the Gulf Coast; What the Early Bird Catches, in Florida; and Cagey Strategy in Louisiana.

“Pickin’ the Big Easy,” featuring Stacy Woods and Kris Estep, will be on the Aug. 15 episode at 10 p.m.

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