Texas State alumnus competes in NBC’s “The Titan Games”

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Courtesy of Blake Wright

Blake Wright, Texas State alumnus and founder of the university's Powerlifting Club, is a contestant on Season 2 of "The Titan Games", an NBC sports competition series hosted by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Aidan Bea, Sports Editor

Blake Wright, former football player for the Bobcats and founder of Texas State’s powerlifting club, has made his TV debut on season two of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s NBC reality sports competition show “The Titan Games”.

Wright, a middle school coach, was going through a rough patch in 2019 when he saw an advertisement about auditioning for the show. After completing an “extensive” application which included questionnaires and video submissions, Wright received a call about six months later inviting him to the combine for the show.

Blake Wright poses with his middle school football team.
Before participating in “The Titan Games”, Blake Wright (center) was a football coach at Chapel Hill Middle School in Tyler, Texas.

The combine, or tryouts, was conducted in Los Angeles where 60 potential contestants (30 men and 30 women) were tested for their athletic abilities in a variety of scenarios. Two weeks later, 15 men and 15 women were selected to compete in the show.

Wright was excited to find out Dwayne Johnson recognized him from the combine; he has been a fan of Johnson since his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) days and the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise.

Wright’s signature look—a big black cowboy hat—stood out to Johnson. Wright said being from Crosby, Texas, a small town outside of Houston, he wears the cowboy hat to show hometown pride.

“Growing up [we were] low socioeconomic and didn’t quite have the money, but I always liked cowboy hats,” Wright said. “I thought they were just so cool. I always told myself when I got some money in my pockets, I would go buy me a couple of nice hats. I ended up getting this nice black felt hat, and anytime I go out, I always like to wear it. It’s just kind of a symbol of achievement for me.”

Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson talks to the cast of "The Titan Games."
Blake Wright (center) can be seen wearing his signature black cowboy hat as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson addresses him and the other contestants.

Six of the contestants are preselected pro athletes, including Olympic gold medalist and boxing world champion Claressa Shields, 10-time NFL Pro-Bowler Joe Thomas and Super Bowl champion Victor Cruz.

The competition took place in Atlanta and was split into regional brackets: West, Central and East—one male and one female professional athlete to represent each region.

The show pits contestants from the same region against each other and the so-called “professional Titans” in a series of challenges testing “the mind, body and heart.” When a contestant wins they must defend their position as “Titans.” In the finale, the regional “Titans” will compete against each other and one man and one woman will be crowned champion and win $100,000. If a professional contestant wins, the prize money goes to charity.

Wright says while he enjoyed his time on the show, it was somewhat difficult to adjust to life on set and deal with long hours of production.

“It’s not just a competition, and [thinking it was] was one of my biggest mistakes,” Wright said. “It’s a production; there’s a lot of production value. You have very extensive interviews and you have to redo interviews. You have to talk like it’s the first time you’re saying something, but in reality, you’ve already said that same line 30 times over, so it becomes repetitive and mundane. Most of the time, we would have 12 to 16 hour days of just filming, not even competing.”

Despite the grueling schedule, Wright liked the experience and became close with the rest of the cast.

“Above anything, the group of people that made the show, and the type of people, were astounding,” Wright said. “We come from such diverse backgrounds, which is just amazing. You have like monster truck drivers; you have competitive eaters; you have nurses and military men and women; you have flight attendants; you have other coaches and teachers, doctors. You have just such a wide range of people and it’s really, really cool.”

Carson Edmonds, Wright’s best friend and former member of the powerlifting club, says it was more than Wright’s personality that made him perfect for the show.

“He is pretty much a very, very charismatic person who gets along with pretty much everyone in the world,” Edmonds said. “Whatever walks of life they come from, he can pretty much connect with anyone.”

Wright even found romance during his time on “The Titan Games”. During the combine, he met 1st Lt. Haley Johnson, an army nurse, who was also a contestant on the show. Wright said he first noticed Haley Johnson during one of the tests and thought she was “stunning.”

They met on the last day of the combine as the contestants were saying their goodbyes and stayed in touch before learning they were both selected for the show. Once filming for the show began, they spent a lot of time together.

“We are actually living together, and we have kind of a whole life planned out together,” Wright said. “She actually went on to do a lot better; she did pretty well, and she stayed a little bit longer than I did, but we kept in touch so now we are together, living together and kind of starting our lives together which is really awesome.”

Haley Johnson said it was Wright’s physical strength that really impressed her.

“I think the part that caught my eye the most [about him] was probably whenever at the actual combine whenever I saw him deadlift 675, I believe,” Haley Johnson said. “Like, I have never seen anyone pull that kind of weight before.”

Haley Johnson, who is also a bodybuilder, said although Wright’s wait to get chosen for the show was prolonged, she had no doubt his opportunity would come.

“If there was one thing that I was sure about, it was that he was going to make the games,” Haley Johnson said. “I mean, he wore that cowboy hat to sprint a 40; he wore it to deadlift; he wore it to do all these obstacle courses in. I knew he would stand out, not to mention he is just such a nice human being with such a giving job that he does.”

“The Titan Games” airs at 7 p.m. Central, every Monday, on NBC. To see more of Blake Wright, visit his Instagram and Twitter


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