The show is a hit on Country Music Television, known for taking old vehicles and transforming them into creations that are better than new. And when Ronnie McCurdy agreed to appear on the CMT show earlier this year, he had dreams of turning his beat-up '94 GMC van into something special he could load his family into for cross country adventures.
Much to his dismay, producers dubbed the transformed van, the "Coast To Coaster," and painted it with vibrant colors to look like a roller coaster.
"My dad asked me, 'Did they give you a clown suit with it?'" said McCurdy.
The van was renovated to include a dart board, ring toss, peanut and root beer dispenser on the side. However McCurdy does not have the ability to use those accessories after a 2003 diving accident left him paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair. He and his wife say the circus theme is offensive, even degrading to someone disabled.
McCurdy also claims shoddy workmanship on the vehicle, saying he was "disturbed over the incompleteness of it."
McCurdy says the van he received back from the show had no license plate and no inspection sticker. It leaked water inside and the lift gate that was replaced was too small to fit his wheelchair inside without modification. In addition, he said the doors wouldn't even stay shut while his friend drove it for the show's taping.
Over the last few months, McCurdy has made at least four trips to Missouri where the van was being outfitted to try and pick it up, but each time it wasn't completed to his satisfaction. Varuna Entertainment, the company that produces the show, offered to buy the truck from him. McCurdy says the producers claimed to have put in $100 thousand worth of work on the van, but they turned him down when he asked for that amount.
A spokesperson for Varuna Entertainment said, "McCurdy's allegations are absolutely unfounded. He has come up with quite a bit of inaccuracies to try to profit off of the show," and that they're still working on the van.
We worked on this story with the help of our partnership with Houston Community Newspapers. You can read more about it in the Tomball/Magnolia Potpourri News.
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