It's the stuff of dreams.
A contestant from a relatively small coastal country community winning $100,000 cash in a national television challenge.
Last night, Monday, April 6, Great Lakes College Forster teacher, Danielle Buttsworth realised her dream, walking away with the ultimate prize, the inaugural winner of the Channel 7 Ultimate Tag sporting competition and a tidy 100K for her efforts.
An Australian sports entertainment obstacle course competition, Ultimate Tag premiered on national TV early last month.
Billed a high-octane physical competition, the format was based on the game of tag and involved contestants running through various indoor obstacle courses while professional taggers attempted to catch them.
The Year 7-10 maths teacher applied for the competition back in August 2020 after being encouraged to enter by her step-children.
It was the most bizarre experience for a sport I have ever had; I have always been a team player.Danielle Buttsworth
Initial acceptance by the producers was followed by a gruelling four hour fitness test - scaling towering walls, sprints, box jumps, push-ups, sit-ups and burpees, to name a few followed by a game of tag - before being assessed for suitability with an interview.
"It was a great experience, but I didn't expect anything."
Imagine the 30-year-old's surprise when two weeks later she learned of her success and that filming would begin in late September.
Her only concern was the fast turn around.
But with support from her family, that was quickly put on the backburner.
Danielle's main focus was to enjoy the fun and challenge of the event.
Standing at just 156cm and weighing in at a tiny 49kg, and the smallest of the 150 contestants, Danielle - who adopted her regular nickname, Buttzy for the show - stepped up her regular fitness routine
"I try to keep fit; I play a lot of recreational sport which helped me a lot."
In conjunction with her daily routine, Danielle has an impression team sports resume, playing touch with the Forster Tuncurry Hawks, rep with the Group Three All Stars and the North Coast Bulldogs, while she is a regular in the Forster and Port Macquarie ironman competitions.
"Everyone you went up against had a different skill set and many people underestimated us little ones."
The competition wasn't just an event to test your physical fitness, but mental fitness as well.
With roll-call from 6.30am, filming could go for more than 12 hours for an eventual two minute segment.
One day that extended to a punishing 16 hours when producers were not happy with the light and the sound.
"I was emotional and exhausted," she said.
"It was the most bizarre experience for a sport I have ever had; I have always been a team player."
Danielle confessed to being both nervous and petrified.
"It was not easy and I didn't know what I was doing.
"I felt so much pressure to prove to myself I could do it."
And, would this compact champion do it all again?
"Probably not, but I would recommend anyone with a sporting ability to have a try."
But, Danielle's success will enable her to plan for the future - overseas travel, investment opportunities, mortgage repayments or business opportunities beyond the classroom.
There also is three children to consider and their further education.
"Winning wasn't a thought, the whole thing was suppose to be about having fun and trying something new."
She did admit she began to take it seriously and play the game to win after partner, Jane suggested she was a serious contender for taking the crown.
"The competitive Buttzy came out.
"The trophy was my goal, it was never about the money.
"Now our whole lives have changed.
"We have had this amazing experience together.
Also making news:
"I've learnt so much about myself as a person and an athlete.
"I'm so grateful for the opportunity and the support I've had from my family and so many people from the community.
"I hope I've brought motivation to those women out there and inspire young girls to strive for anything they want to.
"Life has no boundaries as long as you just try your best."
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