A local woman who won $40,000 last year on CMT’s “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge” reality show now has her own CrossFit gym.

Heather Hudson, 23, recently opened the 5,000-square-foot facility, called CrossFit 12 Gauge, at the Bowman Center — near Blue & Gray Brewing — off State Route 2 in Spotsylvania County. The money from the show helped her start the venture with business partner Matt Cruz, she said.

The publicity hasn’t hurt, either.

“Word of mouth, it’s really spread very quickly,” said Hudson, who has also competed in the all-women’s Legends Football League. “We’re all pretty excited about that.”

Hudson, who was a star soccer player at Courtland High School, last year became the first woman to finish the grueling, half-mile “Skullbuster” obstacle course on Steve Austin’s reality show. Austin, an actor, podcaster and former professional wrestling champion, called her one of the “most bad-ass” people he’d ever met, Hudson recalled.

So it’s no surprise that she enjoys CrossFit, a high-intensity, strength-and-conditioning regimen. Nationwide, there are more than 10,000 CrossFit gyms, including several in the Fredericksburg area.

“It’s awesome because obviously she’s into fitness,” said Kim Robinson, a member of Hudson’s CrossFit gym. “You can come here and realize that they know what they’re talking about, that it’s people who have been there, done that and have seen results.”

For Hudson, those results include winning an episode of the “Broken Skull Challenge,” where eight men or women compete in a series of challenges until all but one are eliminated.

The winner of each episode gets a crack at the Skullbuster obstacle course.

Hudson won $10,000 for finishing the Skullbuster and another $30,000 after other women on the season’s remaining episodes couldn’t beat her time of 8 minutes, 59 seconds.

She said the idea of starting her own gym really sunk in after she won the money. “It does obviously cost a pretty penny just to open one,” she said.

Hudson’s reality TV fame may not be over.

She’s encouraging people to check out Season 2 of the “Broken Skull Challenge” this Sunday at 8 p.m. on CMT. The episode will feature the season’s first eight women competitors, and Hudson says “you might see something there.”

“You might want to look out on Jan. 11,” she said. “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

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​Jeff Branscome: 540.374-5402 

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