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Moorhead man competes for model's heart

Nick Stoltman, a Moorhead native, competes for the heart of model Tocarra on the reality TV show "The Ultimate Merger." TV One

Judging strictly by the preview clips for "The Ultimate Merger," Nick Stoltman kind of comes off like a Minnesota version of Donald Trump.

The blond 23-year-old from Moorhead wears a suit stitched for TV, has hair with its own personality and in a voice that hasn't betrayed his "Fargo" accent Stoltman says, "There's three words to describe me. The. F'ing. Man. The reason I am that, is because certain situations come up in life. They happen. When I see them, I take care of them. And I take care of them with an assertive order because stuff needs to happen."

Well, stuff is happening for the former Moorhead High star quarterback. Stoltman is part of the cast for the second season of "The Ultimate Merger," a reality show debuting tonight on the TV One network. In it, Stoltman will be competing against a crew of guys to win the heart of Tocarra, a model who has her own reality TV background as part of "America's Next Top Model" Cycle 3 (the same cycle that featured Nicole Borud of Minot, N.D.).

And just to get the subtext out of the way, the white Stoltman is part of the minority in this program that caters to African-American audiences.

And, yes, the show appears to play up the racial tension between castmates.

"Um, some stuff came up," Stoltman says during a phone interview earlier this week.

"A lot of times it did get uncomfortable."

But, to be fair, that seems to be the case in every reality dating show.

Stoltman says this show is different than, say, "The Bachelor" because it allowed the guys to be themselves. They weren't urged to say cheeseball confessional statements like "I think I'm falling for her." Stoltman says they were able to say what they wanted.

Like Stoltman's take on Tocarra in one clip, "When I'm around her, I feel like the frosting and she's the Oreo."

Or when he approached Tocarra in a gold outfit and slipped out this line, "I feel like, it's like the gold rush, I'm rushing to San Francisco for a little bit of gold, baby. You know what I'm saying?"

Sounds like there's more of that.

"I was known for the one-liners," Stoltman says. "I would say I ... was more of a comedic presence."

So did the humor help his chances? Did Stoltman, who now lives in the Los Angeles area while attending college, join the likes of Caridee English and Abbi Noah and become the latest Red River Valley person to win a reality TV show?

"I had a good run," he says with a tone suggesting he might have gone all the way, or checked out early. "You definitely are going to have to tune in and see how that unfolded."

Pushing the product, just like Trump would.

See Nick Stoltman's clips for the show here

Readers can reach Forum Features Editor Robert Morast at (701) 241-5518