News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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January 28, 2007

Role in home makeover show one of many talents for Terre Haute man

TERRE HAUTE — By now, Brad Hauter can deal with the police. Angry homeowners are another matter.

It’s not hard to feel their pain. Imagine winning a home or backyard makeover by professional contractor, and then watching the work crew leave the project in a disastrous mess with no apologies and only a suggestion of someone to call to clean it all up.

That’s the premise of the syndicated TV show “Junk’d,” starring Hauter — a soccer coach with limited construction skills — and Bret Skipper — a real-life landscape contractor. They take on a dream kitchen or patio job, Hauter messes it up, and then they shrug and tell the duped homeowner it’s finished, and face his or her wrath. Finally, Hauter and Skipper let the homeowner in on the joke, and give the project a proper completion.

Most laugh. A few don’t.

Hauter tries to explain “as well as you can while yelling over your shoulder as you run, ‘It’s only a joke. It’s only a joke.’”

Since “Junk’d” debuted in 2003, Hauter has seen irate homeowners call the police “five or six times.” After three seasons, the “Junk’d” crew now calls the local law authorities before starting a makeover project in Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Anchorage, Biloxi or South Carolina.

Most often, though, “It’s a playful show,” said Hauter, the 41-year-old coach of the men’s and women’s soccer teams at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

And Hauter is the center of that playfulness.

His pairing with the 47-year-old Skipper is an entertaining train wreck of personalities — the serious straight man (Skipper) colliding with his cut-up sidekick (Hauter). It’s also a reunion. Skipper runs Rose Brook Farms, a landscaping firm in Zionsville, with his wife. Years ago, Skipper actually hired Hauter, then a teenager in school at Park Tudor High and later DePauw University.

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