RICHMOND, Va. -- The sister of CBS 6 Crime Insider Jon Burkett will compete in the CBS series “Tough As Nails,” which premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on CBS 6.
Sarah Burkett is one of the 12 competitors who will test their strength, endurance, life skills and mental toughness on the reality show, which returns for a second season and celebrates everyday Americans who get their hands dirty while working to keep the country running.
The 41-year-old Chesterfield native and mechanical pipe welder described herself as a driven hard-worker with heart.
Sarah, who now lives in Petersburg, said a typical day on the job involves working with blue prints and the layout of mechanical rooms while cutting, welding and hanging pipes.
She said most people would be surprised at how heavy the pipes and fittings are and just how much math is involved in welding.
Sarah said she is competing for her family and loved ones as well as Type 1 diabetics.
"I was denied to go to the police academy because of Type 1 diabetes," she said. "They said I could not do the physical portion. I fought it and became the first female in the history of the department to achieve a physical fitness award."
Accordingly, Sarah wants to win to show the world that a woman with Type 1 diabetes can do anything.
And Sarah said "being able to get back up and keep going after many setbacks" is what makes her tough as nails.
Crime Insider: 'My sister is one of the toughest women on earth'
Jon Burkett said his sister has been a competitor since birth.
"Don’t ever tell her she can’t do something because that fuels the fire inside her," he said. "Along with her competitive spirit, she also has a heart of gold."
In fact, Jon said his sister was always one of the most creative members of the family and has a "unique way of showing each of her family members that they’re loved."
The Crime Insider thinks his sister, who is one of six children, will win the competition because she's not only fast, but also "strong as an ox."
"The police academy tried to tell Sarah she couldn’t become an officer because she had Type 1 diabetes. They let her join with a waiver. Not only did she show them, but she now holds one of the county’s physical fitness records for new recruits," he said. "My sister is one of the toughest women on earth."
Jon said his mom is "beaming with pride over Sarah’s accomplishments" and that his dad has a "front-row seat in heaven -- surely cheering her on."
'Tough As Nails' is tribute to 'essential workforce'
One competitor will be crowned the champion and win the "Tough As Nails" belt, but anybody that "punches out" of the individual competition still has the opportunity to win additional cash prizes in the team competition that continues throughout the season.
Besides Sarah, additional competitors include a retired Air Force colonel, steelworker, UPS delivery driver and travel nurse.
"These competitors, who come from different walks of life but all roll up their sleeves every day to make an honest day’s living, will compete in challenges that take place at real-world job sites including farms, construction sites, high rise buildings, fishing boats and a Pick-a-Part where they need to build a drivable car," host and showrunner Phil Keoghan said.
Keoghan said the show is a "celebration of the hard working men and women who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty to do a hard day’s work.”
“Over the past year, we have a renewed appreciation of the ‘essential workforce’ that keep the country running and I’m excited for viewers to meet the new crew members because this is a group of amazing folks who are real people in real life who are real tough,” Keoghan added.
Watch "Tough As Nails" Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS 6!