Fillmore family survives 'Wife Swap'

Thursday, January 24, 2008
Debby and Jake Zaring with son Izaak.

Jake Zaring, driver of the World Champion Dixie Chopper Pulling Truck, is put to a new endurance test when he and wife Debby appear on the reality TV show "Wife Swap" on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

The Zarings, who reside in Fillmore are paired with the Tony and Corrie LaBrie family of Michigan in the "Wife Swap" episode that airs at 8 p.m. on ABC.

This is how ABC promotes the Feb. 6 episode: "This week in 'LaBrie/Zaring,' a wife whose obsessed, competitive truck-pulling husband hasn't finished fixing the kitchen after seven years, swaps lives with a wife whose main concerns are her appearance and partying like a rock star."

Each week on "Wife Swap," two families with very different values are chosen to take part in a two-week long challenge. The wives from these two families exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover just what it's like to live another woman's life. It's an experiment that often ends up changing their lives forever.

The Zarings are a family of competitive truck-pullers. Debby, 47, and Jake, 46, both work two jobs, as well as running the family's cattle farm. Everything Debby does revolves around her husband. She works in a school cafeteria and runs a hairdressing salon, and Jake still expects her to run errands for him and deliver his lunch. In the Zaring home, everything inside the house is woman's work, and Jake doesn't lift a finger -- even to finish the kitchen renovation he started seven years ago.

Jake is used to winning on the track and in life. He captured the 6,200-lb. 4x4 Modified Truck Class world title last February at the World Championship Truck and Tractor Pull during the 2007 National Farm Machinery Show at Louisville.

And competitiveness runs in the family: kids Jordan, 19, and Izaak, 17, both juggle jobs and chores, as well as competing in dance and kickboxing competitions, and -- of course -- truck pulling.

They don't call him "Crazy Jake" for nothing. Zaring is constantly on the road for truck pulling, and he has missed important moments in his kids' lives, like the birth of son Izaak. None of the kids has ever even had a birthday party. Jake's love of his trucks has also overshadowed his relationship with Debby. They never take vacations as a couple, and 20 years after her wedding, Debby is still waiting for her honeymoon.

Debby leaves her life of diesel and rubber for Michigan, where rock and roll radio DJ Tony LaBrie and wife Corrie, both 34, reside. The LaBries are all about looking good, spending quality time together and living for the moment -- whether it's throwing parties for their friends in their basement lounge or going out.

Corrie is a stylish, professional engineer by day and sexy rock chick by night. She calls herself "high maintenance" and spends an hour and a half every morning applying makeup and doing her hair. Tony does 95 percent of the domestic duties and treats Corrie like a queen, which gives her more time to pamper herself. Corrie sees herself as a laid-back mom, and daughters Tuesday, 15, and Hunter, 8, don't help much around the house, even if asked.

Tony married Corrie three years ago and finds his role as step-dad challenging, so he leaves the disciplining to Corrie and doesn't feel able to communicate with feisty Tuesday, who, instead of participating in sports or activities, spends her free time sleeping, texting and messaging in Internet chatrooms. Meanwhile, Hunter is learning to be an independent child, getting her own breakfast and walking herself to the school bus in the mornings.

In the first week of the swap in Indiana, it's Jake's way or no way, as Corrie works tirelessly and thanklessly to keep up with Debby's two jobs, housekeeping, running errands for Jake and catering Jake's truck-pulling competitions. She goes head to head with Jake about his priorities when she sees that he puts truck-pulling first, over Debby and the kids.

Meanwhile in Michigan, Debby focuses on herself for a change, primping and getting her hair done for a LaBrie party night. She realizes that Tony and Corrie need to focus more on the kids, who have to look after themselves and lead very independent lives.

In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, all hell breaks loose when Corrie tries to shut down Jake's machine shop. Jake digs his heels in and breaks Corrie's rule changes. After Corrie fails to make Jake appreciate his family by asking him to fix Debby's kitchen and throw a birthday party for the kids, she walks out of the house.

In Michigan, Tuesday storms out of the house when Debby takes away her cell phone and computer and replaces them with a wind-up baby. It's up to Tony to step up to the plate as a father and get Tuesday back.

At the end of the swap, when the families are reunited, will Debby confront Jake and make him appreciate her more? Will Corrie add more structure and responsibility to her kids' lives?

"Wife Swap" is an RDF Media production. It was created by Stephen Lambert ("Faking It" and "Junkyard Wars") and is produced by Stef Wagstaffe and Michael Davies ("Who Wants to be a Millionaire").

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  • That whole show is fake as wrestling. Anything to get people to watch tv I guess.

    -- Posted by JustinH on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 4:43 AM
  • I agree with JustinH. These reality shows are usually everything but real. Most likely someone is going to look extremely foolish on this episode. But hey, congrats to the Zaring family for being on TV.

    -- Posted by strings on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 5:11 AM
  • Just one more thing to embarrass Greencastle.

    -- Posted by ksarmywife on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 8:18 AM
  • The whole show may be a fake... but how is going to be embarassing? They just did something out of the box that no one else in this county has done. It's not like they signed themselves up for it. I give them props for putting themselves in the position of the horrors of reality TV because you never know how it will be editied.

    -- Posted by cattlequeen on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 8:45 AM
  • I'm afraid they are going to make Jake look like a terrible person and to laugh at him. When he's not. They were redoing their kitchen and the show wouldn't let them finish. I feel bad for them, they went in thinking it was going to be a good experience and I don't think it was.

    -- Posted by concern on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 9:58 AM
  • Well said cattlequeen! I don't see how this is going to be embarrassing for Greencastle. It's not like it's about the whole town. It's about ONE family and who knows how much of it will be actually true. Shows like this edit and set things up to add more drama all the time. Just like all reality TV shows. Regardless, I will be watching Wednesday and my opinion on that family won't be changing one bit! I hope everyone else who watches the show will keep in mind that just because it appears on TV one way doesn't mean it was kept in context. :)

    -- Posted by putcoresident on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 12:49 PM
  • I'm sorry....I so do not agree with the armywife. First of all they never mentioned Greencastle. The Zarings are from Fillmore. Alot of what the reality shows do is fake and staged, but it is still very interesting to see it unfold. There were many people in the community who got to share this experience with Jake and Debby, even a staged truck pull at the fairgrouds on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone had a great time....Don't forget it's the Horsepower Stupid!!!

    -- Posted by horsepower on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 1:03 PM
  • That Jake guys sounds like a jerk. And a poor husband at that. Sounds like he is #1 to himself and puts his family #2. Put the wrenches down and take your wife on her honeymoon!

    -- Posted by nascar_Couple on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 2:15 PM
  • Jake isn't a jerk that is how the family was portrayed and he shows his wife alot of support that no one will see on the show because they want him to look like that. Even the story in the banner isn't they way it really is. It's not all that way for the Zaring Family or the Lebree Family they just like to stretch the story to what the eye can see. When really his life doesn't revolve around pulling because that is just a side hobby he is probably the most hard-working man in this county and a volunteer for the county as well. Do you know anyone who can build a truck from ground up in 52 days, work a crane and milwright service, farm, build performace parts for people around the world, and be a main part of the Putnam County 4-H program on top of many other trades.

    Jerk, I think not.

    -- Posted by cattlequeen on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 3:47 PM
  • I grew up in Greencastle, and I do realize that Fillmore and Greencastle are two different places. This is an open forum to voice opinions and that is what I did. As far as being jealous or showing hatred, that is the furthest thing from the truth. I grew up with Debby as my neighbor. I hope that she got what sounded like a much needed break. We'll all see in February.

    I honestly can say it did take a sense of adventure to do that, I don't think I could have.

    -- Posted by ksarmywife on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 9:21 PM
  • Debby is not the "poor little wife" she portrays. Jake is a great guy...and after all, its his first marriage.

    I grew up with Jake...and he is hard working and has a great sense of humor!

    And...cattlequeen...they did sign themselves up for it....

    -- Posted by northput on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 10:31 PM
  • Jake is the best...Debby?

    -- Posted by northput on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 10:34 PM
  • Good ole' northput....I would love to know where you get your information. They DID NOT sign up for this show, a friend of theirs submitted their name, and guess what...they get a check from ABC for doing so. Debby has never claimed to be the "poor little wife" obviously you don't know her, and who cares how many times anyone's been married. My own Pastor is on his second marriage. Who Cares!!!! They are both hard working people who give alot of themselves to our community. What an experience, I think it would be a blast!!!

    -- Posted by horsepower on Fri, Jan 25, 2008, at 8:21 AM
  • I knew Jake and Debby BEFORE they were married. BOTH knew the type of person they were marrying and neither had plans on changing the other. If either Jake or Debby were bad people or "jerky" self-centered spouses, how did they raise such great kids and remain such well thought of people in their community? And how did they manage to stay married 20+ years???????

    -- Posted by 06purple18 on Sat, Jan 26, 2008, at 6:43 AM
  • Okay to NorthPut the Zarings did NOT sign themselves up for Wife Swap, one of their friends did.

    We have known the Zarings for a long time & they are nothing but great, hardworking, honest country people!

    It is unbelievable the things that are being said about them. Obviously some people dont have any idea what they are talking about.

    This was a wonderful opportunity to bring the outside world into Putnam County & maybe get a little attention to the Midwest. This will in NO WAY be EMBARRASING to the town of Greencastle better yet Putnam County in general.

    The Zaring's have raised wonderful, hardworking, well liked kids!! There is no reason for anyone to think that this might be demeaning towards the family!

    They will show what they want on TV but the people who TRULY know the Zaring's as a family know the truth!

    So to all of you people who think you know Debby, Jake, or any of the kids & think that this is going to be somehow a negative experience...THINK AGAIN...Maybe you should mind your own business unless you know them as people or as community leaders...They could have turned this opportunity down but we are glad they chose what they did. For once someone in Putnam County went outside the box & did something different!!

    P.s. Debby is a darn good hair dresser at that!!!!


    -- Posted by GrowUp! on Sat, Jan 26, 2008, at 1:41 PM
  • I am anxious to see what happens in a way. Since I have moved away from Putnam County, all I hear are bad things, it might be nice to see something with a little leavity. I don't know Debby and Jake's children but from the comments made, they sound like great kids. I only knew of the child from her first marriage. And let's face it, alot of people have had more than one marriage, so that's no biggie. I too have been married more than 20 years and that's a feat in itself for anyone now days.

    For all the comments I got about it being embarrassing... my apologies to you and the Zarings, it was thoughtless of me to say that.

    If in facat it is "fake" then everyone has the opportunity to change the channel. I think it will be fun to see how everyone deals with the situations. Hope that it wasn't a bad experience for Debby or Jake.

    -- Posted by ksarmywife on Sun, Jan 27, 2008, at 12:01 PM
  • looking forward to watching the show, I have watched since the beginning, nothing I wouldn't do, no thanks, but its amazing to see how people live and its entertaining! compared to my boring life!

    -- Posted by lisarum on Tue, Jan 29, 2008, at 4:43 PM
  • Hooray for the Zarings!! So Greencastle now claims Fillmore? Must be the publicity, and I'm sure many of the critics wish they had been selected. The green eyed monster is still alive in Greencastle after many years.

    -- Posted by formeresident on Fri, Feb 1, 2008, at 4:01 PM
  • Okay...yes, Jake works hard, but no, he isn't the ideal husband, and Debby is a hard worker too and somewhat high-strung at times, but they are both hilarious and love their kids. And, yes, the show has lots of "fake" moments to make the show more interesting...lots of arguments were started by the crew and producers to get some "good, reality tv shots" - info from Jake's brother (my cousin). So what does this do to affect them? Give them a 15-minute shot at local fame, a check, and probably some hilarious video to watch...I am sure my family is going to look ridiculous, but knowing Jake and Debby, they could give a **** less what everyone else thinks. I can't wait to actually see the episode and find out how the kids and their home has changed since I moved away from the area a few years ago. Stop worrying about Greencastle looking bad...when considering the big picture, nobody really cares as it's a small town like a lot of other small towns and there's always something to like or dislike, be proud of or wish had never happened...

    -- Posted by foolmeonce on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 9:14 PM
  • You all act like they did some great thing by being on this show.....people who do this are attention seekers and get what they deserve when the episodes air. As for GrowUp!.....Im wondering if your Jakes Honest, Community serving friend and Crew Chief who abanded his daughter 10yrs ago??? Every community needs people like this.

    -- Posted by GR8T2BME on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 12:59 PM
  • My mistake...not Crew Chief but truck pulling rival and longtime friend.

    -- Posted by GR8T2BME on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 1:03 PM
  • Grammar? It was a for dishing it out??? Just stating the facts. Obviously you havent been informed. Dont worry you will be...

    -- Posted by GR8T2BME on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 9:36 PM
  • GR8T2BME....Hmmm, Attention seekers....from your post it looks to me like "Your the pot calling the kettle black"...Follow instructions, and stay with the topic.

    -- Posted by horsepower on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 11:13 AM
  • Congrats to the Zaring Family for getting on the show, they may have made Jake out to be a jerk, but being a farm girl myself lifes hard and so is taking care of a farm. Welcome to Indiana~the farm land. My Aunt and Uncle do the truck pulls and they are not all that time consuming and they are alot of fun.

    Again, Congrats, for being on the show i don't think your a jerk Jake~ you do what you got to do take care of your family!!

    -- Posted by AROGERS24 on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 2:30 PM
  • I watched that stupid show for the first time the other night. And I don't intend on wattching it again. I don't know the Zaring's or the Michigan family. I can only hope BOTH families would learn from this experience and come away from this with something positive. Nether family was portrayed in a good light. I assume that is one premise of the show. We ALL can be better spouses and parents.

    -- Posted by indy_500 on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 5:22 AM
  • This was a great comedy, don't take it so was hilarious, and made us laugh over and over.

    Again, I think the Zaring Family should have their own reality show, mixin it up with all those laughs...! JaketheTractorPullGuy.. kinda like a LarrytheCableGuy

    -- Posted by PmL on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 9:58 AM
  • oops... jakethe truckpull guy

    -- Posted by PmL on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 9:59 AM
  • does anyone view that and see anything but a rude jerk!

    -- Posted by GR8T2BME on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 4:56 PM
  • I agree....they did it for attention. Did I read they received a check for this???

    -- Posted by teenqueen on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 9:05 PM
  • As far as Jake goes, once a jerk, always a jerk! I was so proud of Debby for speaking out about how dissappointed she was in Jake! And, Jordan whom I thought was a sweetheart has turned out to be a little brat who condones her father's behavior and attitude towards her mother. She should be ashamed b/c Debby has done so much for her family without appreciation. A final note to looked great in your recent photo! Way to go!

    -- Posted by oldcougar on Tue, Feb 12, 2008, at 10:37 AM
  • Give me a break! I know Jordan well and have worked with her for a while. She's not a "brat" she's a great young woman and a pleasure to know! Give me a break people! You can't go judging this family by a few CLIPS of what you saw EDITED together on TV!! Get to know the family PERSONALLY and you will more than likely change your mind of them. I think some of you are taking the show a little too seriously. Lighten up!

    -- Posted by putcoresident on Thu, Feb 14, 2008, at 11:32 AM
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