As their television show “Desert Flippers” continues to be roaringly successful, Lodi and Madison natives Lindsey and Eric Bennett were recent guest judges on the home-flipping and remodeling show “Brother vs. Brother.” And though they were excited to meet the HGTV stars, while filming in Galveston, Texas they ran into their idol by chance: Jordy Nelson, the Packers wide receiver, strolling down the sidewalk with his wife and baby.
“Eric, he could barely talk,” Lindsey said of her husband.
“I got the shock of seeing your hero,” Eric said.
They may be far from Wisconsin, but the pair has maintained ties to their homeland that includes a diehard Packers fandom.
The lakside-turned-desert dwellers have forged ahead in the California heat, as the new season of Desert Flippers began July 20 on HGTV.
The series follows the house flippers in Palm Springs. Their chosen homes are often large undertakings plagued by scorpions, squatters or more. But Lindsey, the self-described “eternal optimist” often can see the potential in even the most seemingly-decrepit homes.
Along with their crew, the pair guts and remodels the homes. And then they stage the home, making it camera, and homebuyer ready.
These days, the houses are often snapped up – the last few homes have sold within a week, either at the asking price or above. And once one sells, it’s on to the next project.
Along the way, the Bennetts get ample help from Lindsey’s brother “Uncle Mike.”
Michael Schneider, who grew up in both Lodi and Poynette, is the project manager, special projects assistant and “kid wrangler” often charged with watching the Bennetts’ sons. He honed his skills working construction jobs alongside his father Bill Schneider.
In an episode airing on July 27, Schneider helps landscapers pull a giant cactus to move it, and doesn’t heed the landscapers’ warning that the plant is on the verge of toppling.
“He keeps shoveling because Mike just kind of plows through everything,” Lindsey said. “And that last hit to the root makes it fall right on top of him. So he is running to get out of the way of this 10-foot cactus, and it just clears him.”
While filming, they fun they have is genuine, the pair said. Their team’s comradery helps them brave a grueling filming schedule, on locations where temperatures can often soar into the triple digits.
They work with Glass Entertainment Group and some of the crew lives in a house nearby during filming, Lindsey said. Over the long days, the workers become close.
“They become part of our team and it’s almost like a fraternity,” she said.
“It’s more of a family than a fraternity,” Eric said. “Just because I make jokes, doesn’t make it a fraternity.”
“It feels like a fraternity to me because I’m most often the only woman,” Lindsey said, laughing.
Lindsey grew up in Lodi, working at the former Spring Creek Inn. She and Eric, a Madison native, met at a Verona restaurant. Their romance blossomed as they began to flip houses together. They eventually moved to Palm Springs with Mike, to join Lindsey’s cousins, Poynette natives Debbie Toohey and Darcey Deetz, in the real estate and residential loan business.
Today, Palm Springs is home. But the water-loving family frequently returns to Wisconsin on vacations, visiting their relatives in the Lake Wisconsin/Waunakee area.
Though Palm Springs can be scorching, Lindsey said they’re lucky to have a pool to help beat the desert heat. She said her family loves the area’s mountain views and the perfect weather in autumn months. They often take an aerial tram into the mountains, where their kids can sled in the snow.
“You can be indoors and outdoors all year long,” Lindsey said. “That’s our favorite part.”
And, they love the small town feel of Palm Springs – which Lindsey likened to Lodi.
“Even though it’s heavily populated in-season, it’s a lot less populated in the summertime,” Lindsey said. “We love that we can shine some light on the Palm Springs area.”
Season two of “Desert Flippers” airs Thursday on HGTV at 10 p.m. CST. On Saturday, July 29, from 6-7:30 a.m. CST, HGTV will air a “mini-marathon” with four episodes.