‘Mantracker’ star quits series
Mantracker fans are as pissed off as peeled rattlesnakes.
You just don’t mess with their hombre.
“You throw a cowboy up against the wall and he’s liable to say screw you,” Terry Grant tells me down the line from his spread near High River, Alta.
Grant is the steely-eyed star of the popular reality show. Ex-star, I should say. He’s been unhorsed. Rode hard, put away wet — and “retired.”
He ain’t happy. Same for his followers.
I give Dan, my condo security man, the grim news.
“Whaaat?” gasps Dan. “He is Mantracker.”
Was, amigo, was. They’re already auditioning for his replacement.
Well, set a spell, have a mess o’ beans, and I’ll explain.
Unless you’ve been dead or hiding in the woods, you know Mantracker is to Canadian reality TV what the Kardashians are in the States.
Just like the Americans have Survivor, a soap opera on the beach, and we have Survivorman, in which Les Stroud, armed only with a camera, goes to some godawful place and lives on grasshoppers or snow.
Canadians like their reality harsh. Thus, Canadian Idol never soared like its American cousin.
If only Terry Grant could sing. Instead, he spent 25 years working such legendary Alberta ranches as the Bar-U and the OH, dragging heifers out of blizzards and such. He’s a certified tracker and helped found the local search and rescue service.
When Mantracker hunts two human prey through the wilds, he’s not acting. Neither are the prey.
Fear Factor was never this taut, or Wife Swap so fraught with peril.
The prey have 36 hours to traverse brush and swamps infested with bears and cameramen before Terry rides ’em down, which he does about 70% of the time.
Just watching gives you chills. The show is a hit and will soon shoot a seventh season — without Terry Grant.
Two weeks ago, Calgary made him a “white hatter.” It’s like being knighted.
Now this. End of the line. His TV trail boss in Toronto says Grant quit. The cowboy says he had no choice. The details are lost in mudslinging, though Grant insists he wasn’t asking for a raise in his $84,000 annual grubstake.
Well, sir, Grant, 53, has a huge herd of couch potatoes — and they’re boiled.
For days they’ve peppered Bonterra Productions and Rogers’ OLN network with e-mails and they’ve launched a protest Facebook page that quickly soared over 5,000 members. Mostly women, I notice. Oh to be a fireman or a cowboy.
“OLN, you are a Man-Wrecker,” writes Cathy Wyman.
“Keep up the pressure, folks! OLN is in our sights with Bonterra in the cross-hairs!” says Rosemary Keutzer.
Bookstores must be selling out of cowboy glossaries.
“This one is for you, Terry,” says Marian Hedrich, among many who’ve made Mantracker their profile photo.
Says Bethany Mollie: “Mr. Grant is Mantracker. There can be no other.”
Whoa, Bethany, looks like the horse is out of the barn.
Show creator and Bonterra boss Ihor Macijiwsky is just back from auditioning 132 potential new Mantrackers in B.C. and Alberta.
“It’s like James Bond,” Macijiwsky, 57, tells me. “I loved Sean Connery, then Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig and the others came along and I adjusted.
“They have the same set of skills, but different styles.
“That’s the excitement in looking for a new Mantracker.”
But his fans say there’s only one Mantracker.
“I created the character,” says Macijiwsky, “before Terry came along. Then I went out and found the guy to fill it.
“But nothing is forever.”
Grant will prowl your screen this summer — the season is already in the can, including the opener with Coyotes captain Shane Doan as prey.
But in real time, he’s already hung up his Mantracker spurs and will go back to carpentry, rescuing folks and riding Nickel, his Appaloosa. (See trackingwithterry.com).
“It was a great run and I’d love to go back to the show,” he tells me. “But I’ll get on with my life. It was a matter of principle.”
The code of the range?
“You might be miles from the nearest building and you’re dealing with a bull that doesn’t want to come out of the bush but you say, OK, I’m a cowboy on a horse, you’re a bull and you’re coming out of that bush.”
Here’s a reality show I’d like to see: Keeping Up With the Kardashians, except it’s Terry Grant tracking Kim, Khloe and Kourntney through the kountryside.
Follow the perfume, Mantracker.
And beware the claws.
‘Mantracker’ star quits series