West Fargo company featured on Discovery Channel's 'Dirty Jobs'
As gritty jobs go, the work done by West Fargo-based Great Plains Towers isn't so much about getting down and dirty.
It's more about climbing high and holding on for dear life, with some rain and howling winds thrown in for good measure.
The resulting high drama can be seen on the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" TV show, which has set Feb. 7 as a tentative date for airing a segment on Great Plains Towers, said Kevin Reski, the company's owner and president.
"Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe and his crew trekked to North Dakota around Easter 2011 to film Reski and his workers as they built a 330-foot-tall two-way radio tower near Dickinson.
Reski said the tower was mostly complete when Rowe arrived and all that remained to be done was to top off the structure, which sat on a tall butte used in the past by the military as a radar base.
Reski described the radio tower as on the small side compared to other structures his company builds. He said it was tall enough to instill in Rowe a strong respect for heights.
He recalled that as Rowe prepared to hitch himself to a "headache ball" and cable that would carry him to the top of the tower, he turned to his crew and said: "This might be my last show."
Rowe's sense of humor seemed to evaporate the higher he rose, Reski said.
"I felt like I was the funny guy," said Reski, adding that the strong winds and rain that greeted Rowe's crew made for good footage and heightened the sense of unease that naturally comes with working high above the ground.
While the experience left Rowe shivering from the cold, it was all in a day's work for Reski, whose late father, Ron, founded the family business in the 1950s.
The footage of the Great Plains Towers job was shot about the same time "Dirty Jobs" filmed a segment focusing on Moorhead Public Service and the work involved in cleaning Moorhead's water treatment plant.
That show began airing on the Discovery Channel earlier this month.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555