The creator and host of the Speed Channel’s number-one program “Pinks” is speaking Wednesday at his alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa. Rich Christensen took the folklore of racing for car titles (pinks, or pink slips) from the 1950s and made it a reality TV show.
Christensen says he has two-million viewers each week. He says “I go out there and I match cars against each other, best three out of five drag race, with myself using an arm drop to get them going, and I let ’em negotiate in between rounds for lanes, we turn off all the computers and someone takes home someone’s car and keeps it or sells it on eBay.” He says nothing is staged, there are no re-takes and everything seen is exactly as it happens on the quarter-mile strip.
Christensen says he’ll bring a message to the students at U-N-I that if they believe in themselves, stay focused and work extremely hard, they can make their dreams come true. He says “I’m in a business of 99-percent failure so how hard am I willing to work for that one-percent opportunity? That’s really what I live by, and by sticking with that and getting my butt kicked for basically 15 years in Hollywood, the one time I’m given the opportunity, I produce a hit on the network. That hit was always in me, but if I’d ever quit fighting for that one-percent opportunity, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Christensen says he expects he’ll get applause from the students when he walks into the Cedar Falls auditorium to speak, something he says he never takes for granted. He says “Once you get the opportunity and things start happening, I need to work even harder and harder and harder so that I can maybe keep getting applause for the show and my efforts and my work, because literally, I know and I feel like it could be gone tomorrow if I’m not giving it one-thousand percent every day that I’m awake and breathing.”
Christensen is a 1986 U-N-I graduate and lives in New Hampton when he’s not on the road shooting the show. He’s speaking at 3 P.M. Wednesday at U-N-I’s Lang Hall Auditorium. For more information, surf to “www.pinks.tv”.