Berkeley Springs, W.Va., friends to be on 'Picked Off' game show

August 05, 2012|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE |
  • Berkeley Springs, W.Va., residents Jeremy Unger, left, and Scottie Simpson look over some items as part of Picked Off. The reality show that pairs picking with prizes airs Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Submitted photo

Call Jeremy Unger a modern-day picker.

Most days the 20-year-old Berkeley Springs, W.Va., man can be found scouring flea markets, yard sales or diving into a Dumpster to find one man's trash and turn into another man's treasure.

But Unger doesn't shy away from using eBay as another source to make some money.

"I'll buy something for $2 and sell it all-day for $20," he said.

Because the bottom line is to make profit.

"It doesn't even have to be antique, just anything I know I can make money on," he said.

A fan of the History Channel's "American Pickers," Unger has been a follower on Twitter of the show, which chronicles two pickers as they find items to resale.

And because of a simple "like," Unger found himself as a contestant in the network's newest game show, "Picked Off." The episode in which he will appear with buddy Scottie Simpson will air at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, on The History Channel.

Unger said there were people tweeting about "Picked Off."

"I didn't think it was real," he said. "They only had 30 people following them."

"Picked Off" takes four pairs of contestants who use their picking skills to get to the next level. The first-round contestants each have $100 to use to find their treasure and must return to a certain site within a limited number of hours.

Once they return, Todd and Ethan Merrill, experts in the antiques and auctioneering field, assess each item and then offer each team a price. Those whose item is least-valued is "picked off," or kicked off the show.

The object is to stay to the last round and walk away with $10,000. The show is hosted by former NFL player Keith Neubert.

Producers asked if Unger wanted to participate. First, he needed a partner who had to be at least 18. So Unger turned to Simpson, also 20, of Berkeley Springs and works at Unger's parents' shop, Ridersville Cycle, in Berkeley Springs.

After Simpson agreed, the wait began. Unger said it was about six months before they heard anything.

"I was stoked," Simpson said. "I was kind of dumbfounded. At first I didn't think we were going."

This was Unger's first trip that far south. Simpson said he was at least familiar with Mobile, Ala., where they had flown into. But Mississippi was new picking grounds for the pair.

Because the show was new and hadn't aired yet, Unger and Simpson weren't able to get ready before they participated.

"They said to be prepared for anything," Simpson said, ticking off a list that included raincoats and bolt cutters.

  For the first round, the pair received their $100 and were sent out to a pre-selected spot by the show. There, they found a Honda Scooter that they picked.

"The objects kind of popped up," Simpson said. "We had two to choose from, one we didn't know anything about."

To find out if they made it to round two, tune in.

One of the biggest obstacles isn't the pick itself but getting past the judges.

Unlike Mike Wolfe from "American Pickers" who likes things with a little rust, the Merrill brothers believe condition is key, a sticking point sometimes to the contestants.

"Those guys are real nitpicky about condition," Unger said.

Unger said it was stressful and they flew in and out pretty quick, but he said they had fun.

"It was truly a fun, good experience," Simpson said.

 For those thinking of picking again Simpson had two tips: first, to study as much as you can before you go out, and second, "know what you're picking."

Want to watch?

"Picked Off" airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8 on the History Channel. Check your TV listings for additional showings.

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