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My Experience on Hell on Wheels

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Let us introduce you to our wonderful events coordinator, Jordyn. She accompanied the Anson Mount experience winners, Joe and Pete, as they spent the day on the set of Hell on Wheels. We asked her to share what went down…

After donating to FightDMD, Joe and Pete won the opportunity to visit the set of Hell on Wheels (HOW) and get shot by Cullen (Anson Mount). They made the trek from Long Island, NY to Calgary, Canada, which welcomed us with open arms: perfect weather, blue skies and friendly Canadians.

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Though the 5:00AM wake-up call had me delirious (I’m sorry Joe and Pete!), we embarked on the journey to set about an hour outside of downtown Calgary. After a beautiful drive through the plains overlooking the Canadian Rockies, we arrived at the HOW set where production was already in motion. Wardrobe excitedly greeted Joe and Pete and quickly began fitting them for their first look of the day: railroad workers. Then the makeup team whisked them away to dirty them up, and they sat alongside Anson Mount and Robin McLeavy! Joe and Pete were in the first scene of the day as drinkers outside the bar (they quickly learned how many takes are needed for just a brief moment in an episode). Lucky for me, I got watch it all from camera monitors while sneaking a spot in Anson’s personal chair with his dog Mac in my lap (talk about a dream experience!).

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After wrapping the first scene, we headed over to the other set, where they were invited to be extras in a New York scene! This was fitting, seeing as Joe and Pete are born and bred New Yorkers who became friends upon joining the NYPD. 20 additional minutes in wardrobe and makeup, and we had two fancily dressed New Yorkers. They were killing it as extras, and we could’ve ended it there, but they had one more scene to shoot…

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Around 9pm, Joe and Pete were back in their original railroad outfits, sitting behind Anson in a bar scene with ladies on their laps and cigars in their hands. About eight takes in, the director announces that this is the last one of the day. I’m looking around, wondering if/when Anson will shoot Joe and Pete, and to everyone’s surprise, Anson pulls out a set gun and fires, ending the day in laughter and applause. On our ride home, Joe and Pete could not stop talking about how amazing the day was, and we were only halfway there.

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On Day 2, we arrived back on set for an adventure-filled day. Anson gave Joe and Pete a private tour of the main set, which included Chinatown, California and New York. He gave us all the insider tips on set design and remarked at how detailed the props were (his favorite: a vintage knife sharpener). Anson was the most gracious host. He took tons of pictures of (and with!) Joe and Pete. Following the tour, they all hopped on set horses and Anson guided them over the property. After that, it was time for skeet shooting… what a rush! After some convincing, they handed me a gun with a brief tutorial on what not to do, and I screamed as I pulled the trigger. Surprisingly enough, I hit the disk while simultaneously finding my new favorite hobby.

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After a very long day, the boys headed straight into Brigham Young’s house on the show, where a candlelit dinner was prepared for Joe, Pete, Anson, and select cast and crew. We enjoyed cocktails and a fabulous dinner. The most special moment of the experience was listening to everyone describe who inspired them. Paul Kurta, the executive producer, honored Joe and Pete for their service as NYPD officers and first responders during 9/11. As Joe and Pete’s eyes welled with tears, the entire table clapped and celebrated the beautiful moment.

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As we finished dinner and the evening came to a close, we exchanged hugs and thank yous. As a chaperone, I was so honored to be able to revel in the excitement of the experience, but more importantly, be able to support FightDMD, a cause that is so important and close to Anson. I cannot wait until the next one! – Jordyn

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