By MADOLINE MARKHAM
2004 graduate Tribble Reese built his confidence playing quarterback for Mountain Brook High School and Clemson University, a confidence that carried over to his competition on reality show Sweet Home Alabama. The CMT show is a country boy vs. city boy version of The Bachelorette set in Fairhope, Ala.on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CMT. The first episode aired July 14.
“I have lived what you call an awesome life,” Reese said during the first episode. “I mean, if I want this girl, no one’s going to stop me from winning this girl.”
Reese admits that, especially after having played years of football, he thrives on competition. “I came in to the show pretty confident,” he said.
On the show, 10 “country boys” and 10 “city boys” compete for Devin Grissom, a student at the University of Alabama.
Reese said the rivalry between the contestants was very real and not orchestrated by the show. “At first it was pretty intense,” he said. “All these guys were trying to protect our territory. A bunch of cocky guys (the “city guys”) were coming in. After getting to know them, we realized they were pretty much normal guys like us. There were still a couple of rivalries. There was always competition to spend time with Devin.”
When we asked Reese about Grissom, of course he spoke of how attractive she is. “She looks great in pictures, and she is an absolutely gorgeous specimen,” he said. “When you actually get to know her, she’s real mature and has a good head on her shoulders.”
The show was filmed for five weeks starting in June. The contestants stayed in a house on the bay in Point Clear.
“There were plenty of down-home Southern activities to do around there,” Reese said.
A Birmingham connection, Zoës Kitchen co-founder John Cassimus, recommended Reese to the casting director for the show.
“I am single and don’t have that much responsibility now,” he said, “so I thought I’d take a risk and live a life experience I might never get to do again.” Reese was also a finalist to be on reality show Survivor in 2010.
Reese moved to Mountain Brook at age 4 and attended Crestline Elementary, the junior high and high school. His parents, Diane and Herb, live in Crestline, and his sister, Bess, 31, lives in English Village. He comes back to visit family and friends—now including fellow Sweet Home Alabama contestant and new friend Collin Varallo—several times a year.
He fondly recalls his senior year football season playing under head coach Joey Jones. “We had a good run in the playoffs,” he said, “During the homecoming parade while I was on the float, I got my scholarship offer from Clemson.”
Reese also racked up a college application achievement list, acting in Little Shop of Horrors, serving as an editor of the yearbook and staying active in Key Club, FBLA, SGA and Habitat for Humanity.
He was on the football team at Clemson and graduated in four years with a BS in marketing before transferring to Charleston Southern University to play a fifth year of football and earn his MBA.
In 2008 Cosmopolitan magazine named him “The Most Eligible Bachelor“ for South Carolina.
After playing arena football in Charlotte for a year, Reese moved to Atlanta to be closer to home and in a more central location. Now he is working a daily deal iPhone application during the day with partners he knows from Clemson; it is set to launch in September. He also works special and charity events for Grey Goose and bartends on the weekends.
What’s next for Reese? “Right now I am living life one day at a time and enjoying the moment,” he said, noting that one day he might want to be an on-camera personality. While in Charlotte, he had hosted an entertainment show for an online startup.
And for the moment, he is encouraging everyone to watch Sweet Home Alabama and follow him on Facebook, Twitter (@TribbleReese) and his website, www.tribblereese.com. “This is different than anything that’s out there,” he said of the show. “It’s really entertaining TV.”