TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Patterson Nissan in Longview gained international fame with their Hands on a Hardbody contest, and Tyler Civic Theatre is bringing it back to East Texas putting the truck center stage.

Based on the 1997 documentary, the play focuses on 10 contestants all vying for one thing.

“Some kind of… desperate people trying to win a truck, you know the only way they know how to is by keeping a hand on it and trying to survive three or four, five, or six days,” said Steve Jones, who plays Don Curtis.

The show has never been put on in East Texas, even though the play is based out of Longview.

“I got to tell you it’s really kind of exciting. Doug Wright, who wrote the book, actually kind of got in touch and knew about this happening,” said Jones.

With a cast and crew, Tyler Civic Theater set out to make the story come alive.

“What’s so cool about this play is I think everybody’s character can relate something in their life, like I said it’s not just about the truck. It’s about the will of man to be able to achieve something they really strongly desire,” said Calvin Sheffield, who plays Ronald McCowan.

The theatre placed a Nissan hardbody at center stage.

“I was amazed because it looks like they must have driven it in somehow, it looks so realistic,” said Luane Chancellor, Assistant Director.

With lots of rehearsals, the cast learned that while they would be keeping their hands on the truck, they will be leaving audiences with life lessons.

It’s a show you definitely don’t want to miss.

“It’s about letting go of prejudice, judgment, not taking your loved ones for granted and learning to appreciate them, there are so many life lessons if you listen to the words and watch the story,” said Chancellor.

“Hands on a Hardbody” opens Thursday night at 7:30 and will have showings Thursday through Sunday until Oct. 23.

You can buy tickets online here or by calling the box office at 903-592-0561 during normal business hours (Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.).

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