By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Two young Texas ranchers, Daniel and Rachel Bowles of Cooke County, recently took a bite out of the Big Apple when they swapped places with two Brooklyn residents on the Travel Channel’s “Culture Clash.”
The premise of the show revolves around two couples from opposite worlds who trade places with each other and compete to see who can last the longest as they work to survive daily challenges in each other’s environment.
Daniel Bowles has already proven he has determination to succeed. A story published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram noted Bowles is a young rancher trying to grow his cattle business during a time of drought and economic hardships across the state.
That story apparently helped “Culture Crash” producers find Bowles.
“I guess the producers googled young Texas rancher and they came across my name in the article the Fort Worth Star Telegram did on me last year,” Bowles said. “Next thing I knew, the producers were tracking me down and suddenly Rachel and I were being considered for the show.”
Initial filming was delayed due to the impact of hurricane Sandy. The show was shot during the first week in Dec. 2012, Bowles said.
Rachel Bowles — now a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton — was finishing her final exams so it was touch and go regarding scheduling to accommodate the film schedule.
Married for only a few months, Daniel Bowles and Rachel Bowles had never been to New York but were eager to take on the challenge of who would last longer, the city couple chosen to experience ranch life and Texas hospitality or the newlyweds taking on the big city,
“My brother Nathan played a big part in our decision to do this because we knew that he would keep an eye on things here,” Daniel said.
Nathan Bowles was on hand to greet the New Yorkers when they landed at DFW Airport. He delivered the couple to the Bowles’ 40-acre ranch just south of Gainesville.
“When asked what surprised him the most about the couple, Nathan said that they were so amazed how spread out everything was,” Bowles said. “They told him that in New York they go around the corner for a pint of milk. Here they have to drive to town for a gallon. He got the feeling they were used to being more secluded and the wide open spaces made them a little nervous.”
When the Texans arrived in New York, they were met by their New York greeter Vinnie who advised them that their first challenge was to find the apartment where their counterparts, Tommy and Alexis lived. It took them about three hours to find the right subway and travel the 20 minutes to the Brooklyn address they were given. Their eyes were opened wide when they saw the small loft apartment which the young couple called home.
“I can understand how they might have trouble relating to the scale of the ranch. Our home is not huge but their apartment was the size of our living room,” Bowles quipped. “I guess you have to be tough to live up there. Downsizing is an every day thing.”
Their second challenge was to learn how to prepare and cook an authentic Italian ravioli dinner for the family members of Tommy and Alexis.
Rachel laughingly said, “I thought this was a great time for Daniel to learn how to cook. We practiced with a chef that morning, found our way to where we needed to be to greet the family and proceeded to make noodles from scratch.”
Bowles laughingly added, “I think we did OK. They managed to eat it and as far as I know there were no ill effects. We still love Olive Garden more.”
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the New Yorkers managed to find their way to a neighbors for a barbecue and wild hog hunt after Tommy successfully got up close and personal in checking a heifer for pregnancy and Alexis used pistol-grip syringe to medicate some cattle.
“Nathan told me that the hog hunt pretty much ended things for Alexis when husband Tommy actually shot a hog,” Bowles said, “Don’t think she could get back to the big city quick enough.”
The Bowles couple evidently had what it takes to survive the culture exchange and after three days of filming had a short time to see some of the sights of New York City including Tiffany’s, Rockefeller Center, Macy’s, the Statue of Liberty and other areas of the city that never sleeps.
“We went to ground zero and saw the new building going up. It was very emotional for us,” Rachel said.
Bowles added, “We felt that no matter what our differences are, we are all Americans and it made us proud to be patriots. Seeing the place where we were attacked connected us all to each other.”
Bowles and Rachel both agreed that the experience was one in a million but they might have a future taste for more travel.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Bowles continued, “We have not had an opportunity to travel much and I did find a new food group that I love. Couldn’t get enough of those New York Bagels. Pretty pricey to live up there though. A pizza dinner cost us $80.”
“The only thing I would have liked to have done differently was to hang a Texas flag alongside the American flag displayed on the Brooklyn Bridge. Being Texans in uncharted waters, we came, we saw, we made ravioli and we conquered,“ Bowles joked.
For their next escapade and with children in a distant future, the young couple said that they plan to stay close to home for a while and possibly get a dog.
Here’s hoping, whatever the breed, it likes ravioli, Texas style.
This episode of the Travel Channel aired last week but an additional viewing may be possible in the near future.
Daniel’s brother Ben Bowles was a June contestant on Wheel of Fortune so perhaps a TV dynasty is in the works.