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“American Grilled” contestants Jason Duhamell, Joanna Dunn, John Vanetten and Damon Holter of Hudson stand ready for the Wrigley Field challenge. (Submitted photos)

Hudson man competes on ‘American Grilled’ episode

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life River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Hudson’s Damon Holter competed in an episode of the TV show “American Grilled” that aired at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, on the Travel Channel.

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The show was taped this past spring at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Holter competed against three other grill masters for a $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights.

The owner of a company that makes barbecue sauces, marinades and dry rubs, Holter said: “Everything grill related is pretty much what I do. It’s my life. It’s my hobby.”

His Croix Valley Foods company, located in River Falls, has a barbecue team that travels the country competing in grilling events.

He learned that “American Grilled” was looking for competitors for its Wrigley Field show through Facebook and submitted an application.

After phone and Skype interviews, he got a call saying he had been selected and asking him to be at Wrigley Field in three days.

He and his wife, Lu, were already scheduled for a grilling competition in Appleton. After helping Lu get prepped for that event, he left for Chicago at 3 a.m. on a Saturday for the “American Grilled” taping.

“I was kind of pulling an all-nighter. I think I was the only one who showed up on the set smelling like barbecue,” Holter said.

He could only talk about the first challenge of the show.

In keeping with the baseball park theme, the competitors were presented with all-beef frankfurters and Cracker Jacks to use in making an appetizer.

“I was really just thrown for a loop when I saw the Cracker Jacks. What do you do with that and hotdogs?” Holter said.

But his dish turnout out really well, he thought.

“The experience was an absolute blast. It was so much fun I would do it again in a heartbeat if I had the opportunity,” the 39-year-old said.

Holter hosted a viewing party Wednesday evening at American Sky Brewery in Hudson, where guests sampled barbecued foods and watched the “American Grilled” episode to see how he did.

The Holters have six children (three girls and three boys) between them, all living in the same household. Each has three children from a previous marriage. They’re all between the ages of 11 and 16.

“We’re the real Brady bunch,” Holter said.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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