People and places of Anderson County

Nikki Tewalt
As Joe Bonomo and I entered the Clinch Valley CrossFit gym on Market Street in Clinton, we saw someone who I assumed was a personal trainer. I asked her if she was, and she laughed and said no. She went and got owner David Smith.

I found out her name was Nikki Tewalt, and she was a beast in the weight room. We watched as she did many, many pull-ups, and again as Smith spotted her as she lifted weights.

“How long have you been training here?” I asked.

“I started the second week of March,” she responded.

I assumed she meant that’s when she started training at this particular gym.

“And how long have you been training in general?” I pressed.

“Second week of March,” she reiterated with a laugh.

She said that she was trying to get in shape. She was turning 40 in August and was looking for a lifestyle change.

“I felt myself deconditioning,” she said.

She has never committed to an exercise routine for more than six weeks and hasn’t run a 5K in her entire life.

“I never really worked out,” she said. “Anyone can do it.”

She said she comes to Clinch Valley CrossFit four days a week now.

Commitment beats experience any day.

LaFollette resident Joe Bonomo is a prolific, successful artist, and is passionate about portraiture. He spent many hours in Anderson County recently photographing people in town and learning a little about them, and then going back home and creating their portraits.

To find out more about Bonomo’s art, visit, on Facebook at, and on Instagram at @bonomoart.

This series, however, is only available in The Courier News.