Editor's note: The season finale of Sweet Home Alabama airs Friday (Dec. 9) at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
As a leading man looking for love, Tribble Reese entered the second season of CMT's Sweet Home Alabama on a mission.
"I had to man-up and realize that my end goal was to find a soulmate and someone I could really connect with and really have a love for. And in order to get there, I had to eliminate girls along the way and send girls home," he said during a recent visit to CMT.
"I don't think I've ever broken up with a girl," he said. "Or, if I have, there's been a reason."
In the season finale, Reese chooses between Jacqueline Honulik, an employee of the New York Yankees, and Tristan Smith, a nursing student from Robertsdale, Ala. But in the meantime, the attractive Atlanta entrepreneur discusses the overwhelming eliminations, the extravagant dates and, of course, finding love.
CMT: After meeting the girls initially for this show, how soon did you start feeling a connection with some of them?
Reese: At first, there's 22 girls, so it's a little overwhelming. I mean, I can remember the first time I walked out and saw them all. I was just like, "Holy God, this is going to be intense." It takes a couple days to get adjusted to who everybody is. ... I'd say when it got down to about the Top 12, that's when I knew that I could really start focusing and honing in on the girls that I had chemistry with and that I was feeling a connection with. But up until then, it's really just figuring everything out and getting adjusted to the whole situation because it's overwhelming at first.
Were the eliminations as tough as you thought they'd be?
The eliminations were by far the hardest thing that I did on the show. And not only that, probably one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. Going in to the whole thing, I knew they would be tough, but I was more excited about the whole experience and excited that I was going to meet 22 girls, and I really didn't think about, "God, I'm going to have to break up literally with 21 girls." That was tough. It was gut-wrenching at times. Especially as it got further and further and further, it broke my heart just as much as it might have broken theirs.
What do you think the biggest difference is between country girls and city girls?
I'd say the biggest difference is just their overall personalities. I think that a lot of girls are the same, because you have a bunch of girls in their 20s. They're going to have similar attributes, and they're not going to be that different. ... Most of the city girls dressed a lot louder and a lot more outlandish than the country girls. The country girls were happy with jean shorts and a little plaid shirt and cowboy boots. City girls would want to wear heels to everything. ... We went to go see alligators, and they wore heels to that. As far as dress goes, that really stands out. But then the personality that goes with how they dress: being more outspoken, more just out there. But there wasn't too much of a difference when it really got down to it.
Jackie and Tristan are the final two. What attributes of those two women did you really find a connection with?
With Jackie and Tristan, they're so different, but at the same time, they're so attractive in how they carry themselves. Jackie is this sleek, lavish, and really sophisticated woman from the city. But at the same time, even though she works for the Yankees and is like a big city girl in how she dresses and she's a pageant girl in how she carries herself, she's still she's such a sweet a girl when you talk to her. You can really make a connection with her. And I did. That girl's awesome.
Then Tristan, she's your true Southern belle. She's the sweetest girl I've ever met. She has the biggest heart. I really felt a connection with her just because she opened up to me about her dad passing away and just a bunch of other stuff. We really just have an amazing connection.
What were some of your most favorite romantic dates?
We had so many cool, romantic, amazing dates. One girl and I flew on a 1928 biplane over the Mobile Bay. And it was incredible. On another, I was in the pool underneath the stars at this amazing house -- it was more like a resort -- right there in Fairhope, Ala., and it was incredible. We took a private plane over to Fort Walton Beach one time with one of the girls to watch the sunset. It was just amazing. Being up in New York, we took a 100-foot yacht and watched the sun set over the Statue of Liberty. It was stuff I couldn't even imagine. It was incredible, and I'll never forget them.
Who planned all these dates?
Me and my extreme budget that I had. (laughs)
Without the show, do you think you'd be able to plan something so extravagant?
I do! I'm always a guy that likes to do dates outside the box, whether it's going skydiving or whether it's you know doing something besides the dinner and a movie. I like to do activities and really get to know a person and have fun. ... Dinner and a movie, that's always going to be there, but I like to be a little more creative with different dates. I don't think I could budget those necessarily, but I think I could think of them.
What are you looking forward to next?
Now that the show's wrapped and I found love, I am looking to really focus on my career. ... I've always been interested in being an on-air personality, maybe hosting, stuff like that. I also have my app -- snatcher.com. .... I'm going to get a demo reel done for broadcasting and hosting and then just pretty much living in the moment -- just taking it one day at a time and knowing that God has a plan.
And you broke out the word "love" already. So you found a keeper?
I found a keeper.
CMT.com's Stephanie Pendergrass contributed to this report.