Local appears in History Channel's off-roading competition Sunday

COHOCTON — Big trucks and big stakes will play out on the airwaves this weekend.

Atlanta resident Mark Sick will make an appearance on "Truck Night In America" — an off-roading reality-TV competition series on The History Channel.

The show will soon enter its much anticipated second season, but Sick will be appearing in the second of two special, stand-alone episodes, being aired this weekend to promote the network's Truck Week, sponsored by Ford Trucks. The episode titled "Turn and Burn" will air Sunday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. (The other airs Saturday at 8 p.m.)

Sick is a 2010 graduate of Wayland-Cohocton school, and currently lives in Atlanta. He has been into modifying and off-roading trucks most of his life. A fan of the first season, which he watched with his dad, he decided to apply for casting after seeing the application on Instagram.

He started in motorsports as an amateur Motocross racer as a kid, and participated in mud-bogging trucks at places like Kirby's Kompound in Palmyra, Wolf Springs in Northern Pennsylvania, Good-Times 4x4 in Manchester and others for much of his teen years.

After high school, Sick joined the Army, where in the 1st Engineer Battalion's Mobile Augmentation Company, his skills for vehicle modification were further honed.

"Our job was to drive vehicles to find IEDs in the mountains through mud, sand, dirt. That gave me even more vehicle and driving experience," he credited.

While stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas, he continued to visit local off-road vehicle parks and modify vehicles.

Following a number of interviews in the casting process, demonstrating his off-roading experience, Sick was chosen from a pool of many applicants to be featured on the show. 

"They must have liked my truck and my personality, or something," Sick said.

He drives a 2002 Ford F-350 Super Duty that has been lifted on 38" tires. It also sports a winch, custom-made roll bar, engine and exhaust modifications, among other off-roading specific changes.

In the show, Sick will square off with four other contestants, displaying their off-roading prowess in several challenges, including the daunting final challenge known as "The Green Hell."

According to the History Channel, the drivers, in their personal customized trucks and jeeps, go head to head in three challenges, each testing a different vehicle attribute: speed, strength and handling. Between each challenge competitors demonstrate their craftsmanship by re-engineering their trucks for the next round.

The last two finalists standing then take on a three-mile, Augusta, Ga.-based truck-killing obstacle course known as “The Green Hell,” which challenges trucks and drivers to fly off jumps, climb a mountain of crushed cars, and tear through a snake-infested swamp. 

"There's all kinds of crazy obstacles in it, and they're pretty grueling, but you'll have to watch to see what they are," Sick said, trying not to give too much detail away.

Helping the competitors are four expert coaches: desert racing champion and truck builder, “Pistol” Pete Sohren; extreme sports pioneer and dirt track racer, Glen Plake; truck builder and master fabricator, Abe Wine; and rock crawling champion and master fabricator, Rob “Bender” Park. These four experts offer tough love and their professional perspective on each contender’s strategy and performance.

Sick could not reveal how far he got in the competition, so fans will have to watch the episode titled "Turn and Burn" on Sunday at 8 p.m. A watch party will be held at the Cohocton American Legion, where spectators will gather beginning at 7 p.m.