Kiesa Kay
Special to The Garder News
Nate Boyer gets to work with his best friends every day, doing the car restoration work that he loves at his company, Kultured Custom Restorations. Now that the television show “Gear Dogs” has ended after one season, he will get to spend more time with his wife and their three children at home.
“I honestly don’t think my wife would let me do the show again,” he said with a wry grin. “I was working 24/7.”
With his crew – Lance Moland, Jack Horning, and Billy Martin – Boyer restores high end cars, as he has for 14 years.
While work continued at Kultured Customs, tv crews swarmed the Dog House next door for “Gear Dogs,” a popular reality tv show on the Discovery Channel that featured a community garage. Owners brought in cars, trucks, and even a bread van to restore and sell, using the expertise and tools offered by Boyer and his team. The show offered great entertainment for viewers, but it came at a steep cost for the crew and their families.

Nate Boyer (right) and his crew at Kultured Kustoms – 837 Warren, Gardner. Submitted photo

“It definitely added a level of stress,” Boyer said. “We had a lot of good moments, and I wouldn’t take it back for anything. People watching the show don’t see what happens behind the screen, and I am glad to cross that one off my bucket list.”
The television crew showed up at that garage and shot footage for twelve hours, from 9 or 10 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m., and then Boyer and his crew had to get the rest of their work done, too. The film crew got paid union wages, but as an entrepreneur, Boyer had to make his own living and keep his business running in addition to starring in a reality tv show.
“When the film crew left, we had another 12 hours of work to do,” Boyer said.
Kultured Customs, at 837 E. Warren in Gardner, prides itself on top quality restorations. When the reality tv show was filming, the mechanics often ended up pulling double duty. They came into work as early as 6 a.m. and didn’t get home until 1 or 2 in the morning.
“We worked around the clock, 24/7,” Boyer said. “We had to do eight episodes within three and a half months, which means eight builds. We average six to eight months for a build. My guys were gung ho, but sometimes the owners partnering on the builds struggled to get things done that fast and needed us to do the work.”
In addition to talking about what needed done on the cars, they all had to have morning meetings to decide what would happen on television. The production company, Cool Studios of St. Louis, had approached Boyer about the “Gear Dogs” idea, and he gave it a whirl for one season. Boyer has no regrets. The film crew brought some positive publicity to Gardner, Kansas, and in the long run, that attention has been good for the community and good for Kultured Customs.
“The show afforded us a unique opportunity to reach a larger demographic, and it has allowed us to downsize and be more exclusive,” Boyer said. “Now we pick and choose our jobs, emphasizing quality over quantity. Our stress level’s much lower than it was a year ago, and the money’s equally good.”
Boyer has been restoring cars since the age of 14, when he restored a VW Beetle. He has learned from many mechanics and mentors. His entire adult life, he’s done restorations of all kinds.
“I especially enjoyed turning a vehicle that’s deteriorated — a rusted bag of bolts — into a real treasure,” Boyer said.
He graduated from Clay County Community High School in 2005, and after attending hot rod trade school, he came to work in Gardner for Bark’s. When the owner retired, Boyer started his own shop. Kultured Customs restores cars from all over the country now.
“We’re going to focus on our bread and butter,” Boyer said. “It was a good experience, but this work’s a lot more fun to do without a tv crew.”