Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge season 4 finale is upon us Sunday (Jan. 29) at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The upcoming episode is unique in that it brings together past Skullbuster winners from past seasons. Not only will the winning veteran take home a win, they will also take home the largest prize of any season, $25,000.
Heather Hudson, 25
5’3, 130 lbs Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA Occupation: CrossFit Gym Owner Specialty: Olympic Lifting
“I’m in the best shape of my life. And I’m coming for Jackie,” explains Hudson.
This former Legends Football League player became a legend at the Broken Skull Ranch in season one as the first woman to ever defeat the Skullbuster. In season two she faltered, leaving the door open for Jacqueline Abshire to steal her crown. Despite this loss, Heather accumulated $60,000 of Broken Skull money, making her the all-time money leader amongst the women. Since her time on the ranch, Heather has trained ferociously, waiting on a call from Steve Austin.
Jacqueline Abshire, 29
5’3, 120 lbs Hometown: Longwood, FL Occupation: CrossFit Coach Specialty: CrossFit
“Steve Austin believes in me. I’m going to prove he was right,” assures Abshire.
Dominance. Intensity. These are the best words to describe Jacqueline’s time at the Broken Skull Ranch. In season two, Jacqueline tore through her bracket, crushing all competition on her way to the Skullbuster. After destroying Heather’s Skullbuster time by nearly five minutes, she yelled in Heather’s face, “I know I beat that time. I know it!” Jacqueline won $20,000 before Christina Riddering sent her down the road. Regret at not staying around longer has driven Jacqueline’s training.
Jess Bova, 30
5’6, 139 lbs Hometown: Zalienpole, PA Occupation: CrossFit Coach Specialty: CrossFit
“This is my chance to re-write my story. This is my time,” says Bova.
She began her climb up the Rope Burn with visions of $10,000 flashing in her mind. Just a few more feet and the winning time would be hers. And then, suddenly, it was all over. Jess slid down the rope and Christina’s Skullbuster time remained unbeaten. “I was crushed. Absolutely crushed.” Jess attacked the ranch with precision, focus, and the stoic demeanor of a true champion. But the ranch has a way of stopping even the most elite of athletes. Jess, a mother of two, has spent the last several years training for this moment.
Emily Rachal, 34
5’6, 130 lbs Hometown: Prairieville, LA Occupation: Stay at Home Mom Specialty: CrossFit
“Beating Christina was my proudest moment as an athlete. And looking to Candice left a bitter taste in my mouth that I haven’t been able to shake,” says Rachal. “This isn’t just for me anymore. This is for my family.”
Emily experienced some of the most extreme emotional swings of any competitor in Broken Skull history. After outworking her opponents in three brutal rounds, Emily took on the Skullbuster, attacking it with everything she had in her body. She defeated Christina’s time by five seconds, the closest finish ever seen on the ranch. But in her first title defense, Candice Wagner took down Emily’s time by over a minute. Recently, Emily lost her home to flooding, further motivating this mother to find victory at the ranch once again.
Candice Wagner, 31
5’3, 135 lbs Hometown: Fort Worth, TX Occupation: Marine Veteran Specialty: CrossFit
“As I walked off the ranch, I was already dreaming of a shot at redemption. And now here I am,” explains Wagner.
Making bracket competitions look easy is sometimes more impressive than a great Skullbuster run. Candice did this in spades, disposing of her bracket with seemingly little effort. After a successful Skullbuster run that sent Emily home, Candice accumulated $50,000 of Broken Skull money. It wasn’t until Cassidy came around and beat her time by a mere sixteen seconds that Candice’s tenure at the ranch ended.
Amanda Hardeman, 27
5’7, 150 lbs Hometown: Cincinnati, OH Occupation: Grocery Clerk Specialty: CrossFit
“Steve Austin thinks I can do better. I know I can do better. I will not underestimate this place again,” says Hardeman.
One bad step and some muddy shoes. This has haunted Amanda for the last year. With Candice’s Skullbuster time squarely in her sights, Amanda’s misstep in the Mud Bath derailed her chance to become the new Broken Skull champion. Though her time was good enough to defeat previous champions, Amanda left the ranch unsatisfied. Her training since then has been nothing short of monstrous, and she returns to the ranch bigger, stronger, and ruthlessly competitive.
Cassidy Watton, 27
5’9, 143 lbs Hometown: Miami, FL Occupation: Pro Obstacle Racer Specialty: Obstacle Course Racing
“All of these women want what I have. Good luck taking it from me, ladies,” boasts Watton.
After defeating Candice to end season three, Cassidy returned this season and put up a vulnerable Skullbuster time. Despite the time, Cassidy was adamant: “I’m ten times the athlete I was last season. It’ll take a perfect run to beat that time.”
She wasn’t wrong. Cassidy’s season four benchmark time stood, and she’s now accumulated $50,000 in Broken Skull money. Now facing the best women to compete on the ranch, Cassidy remains confident; something expected of one of the best OCR and Spartan athletes in the world.
Kaitlyn Kassis, 22
5’7, 140 lbs Hometown: El Dorado Hills, CA Occupation: CrossFit Coach Specialty: CrossFit
In her first obstacle course ever, Kaitlyn took on and defeated the toughest obstacle course in the country. Her run had moments of greatness, and moments of hesitation. In the end, she came up several minutes short of Cassidy’s benchmark time. Steve Austin saw Kaitlyn’s true potential, and had little recourse but to bring her back. After displaying incredible raw power in the brackets, it was clear Kaitlyn was one of the most elite athletes to take on the ranch. A second chance may just make the difference for this young phenom.
Who will win the season finale? Follow the conversation and tweet your prediction with #BrokenSkullChallenge. Tune in Sunday (Jan. 29) at 10 p.m. ET/PT to find out who takes home all the cash.