Being asked to take on the role of sidekick to a TV icon would be something many people would jump at.
When the crew of the hit Outdoor Life Network (OLN) series Mantracker approached Butch Falk of Barriere, he initially declined.
"I really wasn't interested because I thought there were better guys; guys who rode better than me and possibly knew the terrain better than me," Falk, 57, told The Daily News on Thursday.
"Whoever they picked really had to know the country and know the terrain."
But the men he proposed to the Mantracker crew didn't have the right look or aren't familiar enough with all ground the production covered during the two episodes that shot in the region last June.
So the task fell to Falk, a welder and finishing carpenter by trade who's spent most of his life riding horseback and enjoying the outdoors.
It didn't hurt that Falk is familiar with the two sites producers wanted to shoot at. The first episode filmed at Skull Mountain, which Falk can see out his living room window. He and his wife, Connie, have rode horses there for the better part of 20 years.
The second was filmed on the Bonaparte Plateau, where Falk spent some time developing trails.
"I told them I'd give it my best shot," he said.
Episodes take five days to shoot, with two spent on the actual chase. A co-ordinator plans the courses in advance and provides the prey with a map to elude the Mantracker.
The sidekick's job is to give a best guess as to where the prey - in this case two Kelowna residents - will go and help the Mantracker hunt them down.
"They give us a starting time and point to be at on the morning of the chase," Falk explained. "We wait for a flare to go off and it's up to Mantracker to figure out where they're going."
Falk doesn't want to reveal what happened on the hunt, saying fans will have to watch when the first episode airs on OLN June 18 at 6 p.m.
A screening takes place in Barriere on June 16 at the elementary school. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.
Falk had a lot of fun working on the show and his horses enjoyed the thrill of the chase as much as he did, he said. As for the pursuit, no corners are cut and nothing is pre-planned.
"A lot of people don't think it's real but, when you're involved, you find out how real it is," he said.
And Falk assures fans, the new Mantracker, Chad Savage of Alberta, is the real deal, saying he's a big game hunter and guide.
"He was great to work with," he said.
Connie is the one who pushed to bring Mantracker to Barriere, said Falk. She was riding with a friend fall before last and believed the local terrain needed to be featured on the show.
She approached Vicci Weller, executive director of the Thompson-Nicola Film Commission. Weller contacted Bonterra Productions, the company behind Mantracker, and provided them with a promotional package.
That was enough to convince Bonterra to send a cameraman to scout locations, with Falk the guide. The rest, he said, is history.
OLN can be found on Channel 37 in Kamloops.
© Kamloops Daily News