‘Big Brother’ comes to Bowling Green

Bowling Green native Andrew Hawkins, 29, has his snapshot taken prior to auditioning for the 17th season of Big Brother at Hilligans Bar and Grill in Bowling Green Thursday April 23. Just one of 14 markets chosen for casting hopeful fans from as far away as Arkansas came to Hilligans for a chance to be on the hit television show and a have a shot at the $500,000 grand prize. (Luke Franke/Herald)

Andrew Henderson

Latrobe, Pennsylvania native Terry Stackowicz owns 80 acres of land in Morgantown for the purpose of hunting, recreation and peace. He comes to Bowling Green about once a week and always makes it a point to go to Hilligan’s, he said.

He appreciates the food, drink and atmosphere Hilligan’s provides. What he didn’t necessarily appreciate were the hordes of people auditioning for “Big Brother.” 

“You know I got my drink pretty quick. I put in a food order— it’ll be 15 minutes— but there’s a lot more folks here, certainly than normal,” Stackowicz said. 

Bowling Green CBS affiliate, WNKY, held a casting call for the television show “Big Brother,” April 23 at Hilligan’s. Julie Milam, general sales manager, said Bowling Green was selected as one of 14 markets in the United States to hold a live audition for Big Brother.

Bowling Green is the only city in Kentucky to host the show.

“We have people here tonight from Louisville, Cincinnati, Little Rock. People came last night and slept in their cars in the parking lot, so it’s been a really good reception,” Milam said. 

Milam said “Big Brother” is “like a human chess game.” Houseguests are locked in a house with no access to the outside world for 90 days, and they attempt to get other guests voted off the show. She said she would absolutely love to see someone from Bowling reen make it into the program. 

People came from all over for a chance at fame. Caleb Schweiger drove approximately six hours from Athens, Ohio for his chance to audition. He said “Big Brother” was the only reality television show he’s ever seen and has watched it since he was 7 or 8 years old.

Before his audition, he said he was feeling confident.

“I legitimately think I have a chance to win this,” Schweiger said. 

Erin Corken, native of Cincinnati said before watching the show she didn’t realize people would lie just to get ahead in the world, and that this made her naïve. She said the show “changed my life” as it provided her with a new perspective on the world that she hadn’t considered before.

“I think it was a disadvantage for me to be walking around the world going, ‘Hmm, everybody’s really nice,’” Corken said.

Bowling Green citizens also came out to audition. Willie Walcher, manager of the Bowling Green branch of Sun Tan City, said he thinks his audition went really well. Walcher is also a big fan of the show and he started out watching it early, skipped a few seasons and then picked it back up again. He believes he would be a great contribution to the program.

“I’m such a diverse person. I’m non-judgmental, and I can gain the trust of everyone, so I think I would be able to be in an alliance with everyone until the end,” Walcher said.

For WKU alumna Simone Payne, auditioning for “Big Brother” has always been on her bucket list. The Evansville native thought she had a lot of support from the crowd and generally felt a good vibe for her audition.

“I just went in, did my thing and came out,” Payne said. 

She described the audition process as one of relative ease, requiring participants to fill out an application, wait for their number to be called and then answer questions. Payne said she believes her presence on the show would be a great contribution.

“I feel like I would contribute just the bomb personality. I told them in there. I was like, ‘I’m just too legit too quit,’” she said.

Current students of WKU were also found at Hilligan’s gearing up for auditions. Lexington junior Candice Wagner said she recently started watching the show within the last year and became hooked quickly. Wagner said she believes her audition went well as she showcased her peppy and energetic nature. 

She also thinks they liked her because her special talent included eating a 17-pound watermelon. 

“I would contribute peppiness. If they have watermelons, I can eat them. And I’m just a lot of fun, and I would keep the liveliness in the house going,” Wagner said.