Season 22 of The Amazing Race concluded on Sunday night with an epic finale that kept the viewers on the edge of their seat for the entire 2 hour ride. After racing more than 25,000 miles across three continents, nine countries, and 20 cities, the Final 3 teams fought their way toward the $1 million prize. The most unlikely team in the Final 3, the Fabulous Beekman Boys (@Beekman1802Boys), pulled out the win in a nail-biting finish that still has fans talking about their amazing come-from-behind journey. The Yak took an afternoon recently to chat with life partners Josh Kilmer-Purcell (@joshkp) and Brent Ridge to discuss their time on the race, the memories they made, and how they’ll spend their prize money.
The Yak: Congratulations on your win! It was an amazing episode, and a lot of viewers were pulling for you to take home the prize!
Josh: Thank you!
Brent: Thank you very much!
The Yak: It seemed like the first half of the race was much harder for the two of you. What was the difference or the turning point in your minds?
Brent: Well, actually, we were doing pretty well for the first few legs. We were solidly in the middle of the pack, and then we had a major setback with the missed flight connection. It’s tough to make up a 14 and a half hour lag. Maybe people didn’t really notice, but by the time we got to Spain, we were only 3 hours behind the next team, and that’s a pretty major accomplishment over two legs. We were as far back as any team could possibly be and still be in the same game, but we just kept going.
The Yak: OK, so I have to know. Did you fake the ankle injury?
Josh: No, it was actually funny watching the show because like any sprain, after I was on a plane for a few hours and had it elevated, it felt like brand new, but then I started running and ended up twisting it again. I can see how [The Twinnies] thought it might have been some evil scheme or strategy.
Brent: They were just grasping for anything at that point.
The Yak: It appeared that the rilvary with The Twinnies lit a fire under you. Is that how it happened on the race?
Josh: Absolutely! Up to that point in the race, we had been very cordial, as we always are in our everyday lives, with all the teams, but once we found out that there was an alliance that was more “us versus them”, that was our first kick in the butt. Then, once the twins, who are just wonderfully competitive people, realized we were their biggest threat, they really helped fire us up. We were firing each other up, and making us the best competitors that we both could have been. That’s what sportsmanship is, it’s making your competitor the best competitor that they can be.
The Yak: How were you able to make up so much time over a couple of legs? I’m not sure that any other team has been able to accomplish that during the race.
Brent: Thank you so much for pointing that out!
Josh: Nobody gives us credit for that!
Brent: The thing is that we did very well was at the tasks, when we were able to get to them. Part of our strategy for racing with Ryan and Abbie was that we knew that whichever one of our teams was going to survive, they would only survive to the final leg if we could eat into that lag time as much as possible, so by working together, we were able to blow through the tasks in Russia.
The Yak: From another teams perspective, what was it like to be racing against Abbie and Ryan, knowing they were up for $2 million as the prize?
Brent: That had no bearing on us, and I think some of the other teams felt that Abbie and Ryan would be racing harder, but we know Ryan and Abbie and they were going to be racing hard even if it was for $1. The only time that the $2 million really came into play is in terms of the pressure that was put on the other teams was during that first leg of the race. Everybody was really gunning for it, but then after that, people were just running the race.
The Yak: Was working with Abbie and Ryan as helpful as it seemed? It appeared to be during the show, but we don’t get a sense of what it was like actually on the race. Was it that helpful?
Brent: Yes! It was entirely strategic! I know people think it was touchy-feely, like we were in last place and we wanted to hug it out, but Abbie and Ryan are very strong and very strategic, as are we, so we knew that only one of us was going to continue in the race, and the only chance was to make up that time. So, it was not selfless, it was selfish on both of our parts.
The Yak: Do you think it was better to be the underdogs rather than the ones to beat?
Josh: I definitely think it was better for us to be the underdogs. Only because we knew going into the race that every team has their own specific set of strengths and weaknesses, so we knew from the moment we were on the starting line that we weren’t going to beat half of these teams in a physical challenge. We had to rely on some of our life experiences, like having lost our jobs and picking ourselves up by the boot-straps and starting over. The “go with the flow” mentality that it taught us was one of our strengths. I think when you’re in the back of the pack, that strength is really, really valuable. By the time that we got to the finish line, all the other teams who approached the race with an “I have to win and come in first as many times as possible” mentality were mentally and physically more exhausted than we were.
Brent: And you can see that on the final two legs. The top three teams were starting to get frazzled.
The Yak: Taking a look at the final Road Block, how much pressure did you feel when you’re there with the other two teams, trying to get this finished?
Josh: There was a moment, and we all experienced it, when you had three right that we thought we knew, but you realized that there were thousands of combinations that we were going to have to try and that was the only way we were going to finish. It was a really bleak moment, and I think you saw it on Lexi’s face, as she had a hard time dealing with that. I knew that the only way to get past that place mentally was to try every combination of flags, so I had no choice. It was either step down and wait for somebody else to do it or get going on the flags.
The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race after you found out that you had been cast?
Brent: We trained and trained. We’re also long-time fans of the show, but we watched every season we could get our hands on and rewatched it. Josh went to the gym a couple of times. [Josh and Brent laugh] No, we trained, physically, as much as we could. We quizzed ourselves with world maps. Most importantly, what we talked about in the last few weeks leading up to the race was how we were going to communicate with one another on the race. Having watched 20 seasons of the race, we knew that generally it wasn’t one team beating another team, it was a team defeating itself, and a lot of that comes down to how you support one another and how you communicate with one another on the race. So, we really worked amongst ourselves to say, “Hey, in this scenario, how do you want me to talk to you? If it happens, what do you want me to say?” That was really what we spent most of our time focused on.
The Yak: You can tell from watching the season that the two of you got pretty close with some of the other teams, but have you kept in touch with any of them since the race has ended?
Brent: Absolutely! We’ve kept in touch with all of them. We text with them frequently, and we actually watched the finale with half of the teams on Sunday night.
The Yak: So, what are your plans for the $1 million dollars?
Josh: We have three things planned. First, we’re going to pay off the mortgage on our farm, so that I can finally move up and be with Brent full time again after 5 years apart. Second, we’re hoping to buy a building in our village to become the headquarters for our business, so we can reinvest the money back into the town. Third, we want to start a line of food products for other small businesses so they can pay off their mortgages.
The Yak: What’s next for Josh and Brent?
Brent: Well, Josh will move to the farm full-time in January. That’s our next big step in the evolution of our business and our farm and our relationship.
Josh: We’re also working on a new cookbook, so we can put back some of the pounds that we lost on the race. We’re also going to be working with our village. Hopefully, being on The Amazing Race has made people aware of our village in upstate New York, and people will come to visit and help out the entire economy.
The Yak: Thanks so much for your time, and, again, congratulations on your win!
Brent: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us!