An ultra-competitive, lifelong athlete turned bodybuilder and fitness coach, Smith is confident and tough, and it's all hard won.

COMMERCE - Kris Smith of Commerce is a powerhouse, and she's once again reaching new heights to prove it.

An ultra-competitive, lifelong athlete turned bodybuilder and fitness coach, Smith is confident and tough, and it's all hard won.

It's that fierce determination that landed Smith a spot on the latest season of the DGA award-winning “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge.” The show returns to fans Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 9 p.m. CST on CMT.

Raised in Joplin, Missouri, Smith said her family was always engaged in athletics, her father a basketball and track coach encouraging her to stay active and make positive use of her time.

An older sister kept her competitive edge sharp growing up, and she has stayed motivated by the chance to show "I can do that."

Smith would go on to earn a basketball scholarship from Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri, but suffered a serious injury during the first game of her sophomore year tearing her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and meniscus.

"From there I pretty much was lost in life," said Smith. "I didn't know where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to do because everything had been built around basketball and me going on to a four-year university to play."

While the setback of her injury was initially devastating, Smith persevered, building a new path that kept her engaged in athletics and always striving to meet bigger and better goals.

Now you will find her at the helm of her evolving fitness-centered enterprises all based in Commerce.

With her move to Ottawa County in 2006, Smith immersed herself in a serious fitness regimen with her husband, Jason, a weightlifter.

She also delved into Strong Man competitions making her way to nationals, all natural and all heart.

It wasn't long before others took note of her sculpted physique and motivational fitness posts on social media and she was being approached to train others. While initially asked by some to teach Zumba, Smith stuck with what felt right and launched the House of Tabata boot camp in 2013.

House of Tabata quickly grew in popularity moving from the Smith's backyard to the basement of the former Commerce City Hall, then on to the Apostolic Assembly Church and finally into their own building – The House of Steel Gym at 300 Commerce Street in Commerce.

She estimates at least a thousand women have been through her boot camp now and it's still going strong.

Along with the gym and boot camp, Smith is an active mom, she and Jason making the House of Steel a Family affair. Together they mentor their children in their own athletic pursuits, with daughter Damyah, a 21-time world record holder in powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and AAU Sports Combine competitions.

Every day she challenges herself and says the walls of her office are papered with all she has set her mind to do. Among them, a goal she wrote down in Aug. 2016 with plans to be featured on a reality television program.

Smith, not herself an avid TV watcher due to her demanding schedule, had come across an advertisement on social media about someone who had been featured on Broken Skull Challenge and knew what she wanted next.

"I had seen Broken Skull Challenge a few times on television, but don't really have time to watch TV," said Smith. "...So, I saw an advertisement about a guy that had been on the challenge, and they said not only had he been on Broken Skull Challenge, but had also been on American Ninja Warrior. I kind of sized him up from the picture and thought if he can do that, then I can do it too."

Following her instincts and her drive, Smith applied online in the spring putting her boldness front and center telling producers, "I hate to lose more than I love to win."

Smith was contacted the next day and began the process of online interviews and auditions, relishing the experience and the opportunity provided for her to be "raw" in expressing her competitive spirit and serious commitment to her physical crafts.

It did not take long for Smith to win her spot and soon she was on her way to Los Angeles to film the series, which last season attracted more than four million weekly viewers.

According to CMT, the show brings together eight renowned athletic contenders, either all female or all male, who face off against each other in a series of intense physical challenges. Only one contestant will advance to the grueling Skullbuster, an obstacle course personally designed by former wrestler Stone-Cold Steve Austin, for a chance at a $10,000 prize.

If she wins, Smith plans to use the prize money for a new non-profit she’s starting for sick children.

Smith said viewers can expect some intense, full contact, no-holds-barred physical competition, and they'll want to tune in to see just how crazy it gets.

"It's absolutely crazy, crazy, crazy and one of the best experiences I've ever gone through," she said.

And this, of course, is just the start of Smith's TV adventures. Almost immediately following Broken Skull Challenge, she leaped at an opportunity to audition for another reality program, Fear Factor.

As Smith's star continues to rise, she is also grounded in the community that has continually supported her and her family's success.

"I love our community! We literally have the best community, ever!" Smith offered proudly.

"Our city has been amazing. Our area has been amazing, and any events that we have, any fundraisers that we have everyone is there to step up," Smith added. "They say 'How can I help you guys?' and 'We're so proud of you!' and 'You guys bring fitness to our area, and we appreciate it.'"

Smith said she and her family always have the goal of bringing what they learn from competitions, special events and fitness expos back to the community that holds them up.

"A lot of people don't get to see what we see when we travel," said Smith. "So it's the main reason why we stay grounded here. Everyone here is like our family."

Broken Skull Challenge airs Tuesdays, 9 p.m. CST on CMT. Check listings for your channel through your local service provider.

Smith and House of Steel can be found on Facebook, at their website or by calling 918-541-7193.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor for the Miami News-Record. Email her at and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.