'Amazing Race' Season 21 Winners Reveal How They'll Spend the $1 Million Prize
The "Fabulous Beekman Boys" won the only leg of The Amazing Race that mattered -- the last one.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, goat farmers and life partners from Sharon Springs, N.Y., won the $1 million prize in CBS' reality competition. The duo were considered underdogs for most of the race, having never won a challenge and even coming in last in a non-elimination leg. But they prevailed in Sunday's two-hour finale part thanks in part to their performance in a memory challenge at the end of the race.
Josh and Brent beat out the teams of Lexi Beerman and Trey Wier, a couple from Texas, and James Davis and Jaymes Vaughan, Chippendale dancers and best friends from Las Vegas, to take home the prize. The Sri Lankan "twinnies," Natalie and Nadiya Anderson, came in fourth.
On Monday, the final four teams talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the outcome of the race and revealed what wasn't shown on TV.
Josh and Brett (winners):
THR: You were underdogs nearly the entire race. Were you surprised you won?
Brent: When we stepped on the mat, we could not believe it. There were so many great competitors, and everybody starts at the starting line with a certain set of skills and strengths and weaknesses. You never know what combination of skills and luck will get you to the finish line, and that was our time.
Josh: We were longtime fans of the show and had watched all the seasons before we went on. We knew the race was all about not being eliminated, and you have to win the final leg. So we went into the race with a strategy to try as hard as we can at the task in front of you, help your neighbor when you can, never give up. We didn't go into the race thinking we have to win every leg, cars, trips. One of the things we learned from the teams being in front of the pack the whole race was that it seemed to be exhausting. We just tried to stay in the race the entire time.
THR: What are you planning to do with the money?
Josh: We're going to do three things: pay off the mortgage on our farm, so Brent and I can be together full time; purchase a building on Main Street for our company so we can invest in our town; and start a food line, the profits of which will go to other small American farmers.
THR: It appeared that Trey and Lexi gave you some unintentional help by writing down the clue at Coney Island.
Brent: We didn't even remember seeing them at that point. I think that was just the way the show was edited.
THR: The other three final teams were talking about their alliance on the train, and it looked like you overheard part of that conversation. How much did you actually hear, or were you already aware of their alliance?
Brent: Actually, when we first boarded the train in Barcelona, we were sitting in our cabin and the Chippendales were doing their on-the-fly interview and it just so happened they were standing outside of our cabin. That was the first time we heard mention of the fact there was an alliance, and they talk very loudly. So the next morning we got up and were walking through the train cafe and saw the teams sitting there talking. It was as awkward as you saw on the show last night. We didn't hear much of it because when we came in, they stopped talking. It was an awkward pause.
Josh: When we first heard about the alliance, it was really demoralizing. It felt like high school again. Unlike high school, we didn't run away and cry in our bedrooms. We became incredibly motivated.
THR: It seemed like it all came down to the final challenge at the U.N., and it got dark before you finished. How long did that actually take to get through?
Josh: It was so long; I'm sure it was well over three hours. I remember them wheeling out big lights. It got pitch black. I had blisters on my hand the following week.
THR: Josh, how is your ankle?
Josh: It's fine. Actually it got really bad when we got back to New York.
THR: Did the twins really think you were faking it, or were they just joking around?
Josh: I think they were just playing around. There was no strategic advantage [to faking it].
THR: You both seem to work really well together. Do you think your relationship was portrayed accurately?
Brent: We've been together for 14 years. Like any couple, we have our ups and downs and struggles. Going into the race, we knew that even if we worked out for the entire year before the race, we were not the youngest people or the most physical team. We we knew we had to do is figure out how to communicate with each other. We spent a lot of time leading up to the race talking about how to deal with each other's emotions on the race. We talked about different scenarios -- if this happens, how should we respond, how much of a cheerleader should we be. So many times on the race it's not about one team beating another team; it's about a team defeating itself. The time we spent on learning how to communicate best with one another paid off in the end.
Josh: Some people were surprised we didn't bicker because they see on our other show how much we bicker. You can bicker about the little things, but you can't bicker about the big things, and Amazing Race was a really big thing.
THR: What's the status of your other show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys?
Josh: They're currently re-airing season two [on Cooking Channel], and we're in talks for a new season -- hopefully a wedding season.
THR: Congratulations! When are you getting married?
Josh: This spring.
Next page: Jaymes and James on their families and how the Chippendales have helped them.
Jaymes and James (second place):
THR: How disappointing was it to come in second?
James: It was really disappointing that we didn't get the million dollars and be able to take care of our families. At the same time, we are proud of what we accomplished in the race. We were almost eliminated in the first leg with the abacus lady, to be in the final three and come in second in the race, it was bittersweet.
Jaymes: We are proud of ourselves, like anything in life, you celebrate a silver medal. I gave James a silver medal last night. It was a second-place world-champion medal if you ask me. It was adventure for ourselves, but I feel selfish because the money was meant to be for our families, and we got the adventure for ourselves but nothing for our families. It's heartbreaking.
James: It's hard because it was so close and came down to mere minutes. We wanted it so bad and could taste. It made it even more heartrending when we found out how close we were to reaching our goal and getting that million to take care of our families.
Jaymes: Everything happens for a reason. Josh and Brent were supposed to win and we were supposed to come in second. Something will come along that will help us take better care of our families.
THR: Jaymes, how is your dad doing?
Jaymes: He's a fighter and has a new batch of treatment, chemo and radiation, and he's fighting to prove that you can make incurable cancer provable. I get a lot of my attitude from my dad. He's always positive and has a smile on his face and is hopeful and optimistic. If anybody can beat incurable cancer, it's my dad. He taught me to fight and he'll beat it just to say, "I told you so." We set up a website, forgetcancernow.com, to help with expenses. I work two jobs right now to help him. My goal in going on the race was to help him, and six months ago it wasn't even this scary. He needs support and help and money and prayers and love.
THR: James, how did your mom react when she found out she was getting a new car? [The duo won two cars in the penultimate leg.]
James: I know she was watching last night and from all accounts I heard, she almost fainted with excitement. My mother currently doesn't have a vehicle and had never had a new vehicle in her life. I'm excited to get the keys and personally give it to her. I can't wait to see the expression on her face. She might actually do a back flip.
Jaymes: I let my parents know my cars is theirs. There's a 2013 Ford Escape for sale right now, brand new, with an amazing kick-trunk. We're selling the trip to Costa Rica too [to help with medical expenses].
THR: Do you still work for the Chippendales?
Jaymes: We did not lose our jobs.
James: They have been extremely supportive of us and took care of all our race gear.
Jaymes: We were concerned about how we would buy our clothes and backpacks, and they bought them for us. They also gave us our own billboards in town. I never thought I'd move to Vegas and have my own billboard, and now there's 20 of them around Vegas. It's so cool.
James: The theater has been sold out, and there are kids waiting outside who are underage and couldn't come in but are fans of the show.
THR: Would you do the race again?
Jaymes: Hell, yes.
James: At the drop of a hat.
Jaymes: Right now, I wouldn't leave the country because of my dad. ... But if given the chance again with my dad happy and healthy, hell yes I'd go. I'd try to figure out a way to bring my dad with me -- put him in my backpack.
THR: What was your favorite part of the race?
Jaymes: It was something new and exciting every day. It was unpredictable.
James: Even in the low points that were tough, even those were exhilarating in a sense because because of the adventure and you were challenged in a way you never thought you'd bee. There was a sense of self-discovery in those crazy situations. The whole thing from start to finish, even if you had a million dollars of your own, you couldn't duplicate the experience or replicate the level of intensity.
Jaymes: I just got an email from the vice president of the Chippendales saying, "I want to make a contribution in your dad's honor. You did great on the race."
THR: That's amazing! You must be very touched.
Jaymes: There are all kinds of warm fuzzies going on right now.
Next page: Trey and Lexi on the "frustrating" final leg and when they'll take the "next step."
Trey and Lexi (third place):
THR: How disappointed were you to come in third?
Lexi: It was definitely hard on the heart for sure. Especially in that last leg, we were just doing so good and had so much momentum. Seeing Trey hoisted up 15 stories high by his ankle in a straitjacket and overcoming his enormous fear of heights was the most rewarding part of the race. I've never been so proud of someone in my entire life. Me walking into that last challenge and not being able to finish was very frustrating. I just wanted it for me and I wanted it for Trey and for us as a couple. This was very mental and it came down to a math challenge and unfortunately I couldn't do it.
THR: Have you overcome your fear of heights?
Trey: Definitely not. It might have increased a little bit, honestly.
THR: What was your reaction when you saw the Beekmans finish the race first?
Trey: We were happy for anybody who won. They stuck around and gave it their all. We don't hold grudges. Just because we lost doesn't mean we can't be happy for them.
Lexi: For sure, the Race is one big family, especially the final teams that are in it. You're mentally and phsycially exhausted and kind of cling to each other. They performed better than we did, and hats off to them.
THR: Why did you write down the clue at Coney Island? Did you realized it might have helped one of the other teams?
Lexi: Trey couldn't hear me. I said, "I see the clue and know what it says. Don't make any sudden movements." He kept asking, "What are you doing? What are you writing down?" I'm like, "Come on, dude!" The pressure was so high, especially the last leg, you're fighting for a million dollars, and every single second of the final leg is crucial.
THR: Why did you try out for the show?
Trey: It's really because Lexi is such a huge fan of the show. When we started dating, I started watching it. We went to an open audition ... and stood in line for four hours. They put microphones on us and put on on camera for a minute and we had to sell ourselves. We are very happy and grateful. We had never traveled outside the country, and we learned so many things. I couldn't ask for a better time.
THR: Have you taken the "next step" in your relationship yet?
Trey: I've been telling Lexi for a long time I want to marry her. I graduated in May, and I need to get a lot. I want to be able to support her and give her what she needs and buy her the ring she deserves. Sooner than later, I keep saying.
Next page: Natalie and Nadiya on keeping James and Abba's money and their rivalry with Abbie and Ryan.
Natalie and Nadiya (fourth place):
THR: Where do you think it all went wrong?
Nadiya: [Getting the wrong directions to the pit stop] was the straw that broke the camel's back. We drove in the completely wrong direction for 45 minutes. But the whole day, we couldn't get it together.
Natalie: We only have ourselves to blame.
THR: The Beekmans weren't in your alliance. How did you feel when you realized they had won?
Natalie: It was a weird sensation at the finish line when we were waiting for the teams. We were completely clueless about what was going on. When they ran in there, I didn't expect to be so happy. They took our spot in the final three and at least they won it. They beat us fair and square
THR: Why was there such a rivalry between you two and Abbie and Ryan?
Nadiya: It was strictly professional. In New York, after everything was said and done ... we shook hands and said it was all about business and moved forward. Seeing the Beekmans win brought us all together. It was all part of the race and that was it. It was nothing personal.
Natalie: Also we bonded during the course of the race because they got a lot of backlash and we were all targeted as cutthroat. There was an animosity we shared during the race -- talking smack. We took it and dealt it. It was a fun relationship and everyone enjoyed the competition aspect.
THR: A lot was made about the fact that you kept James and Abba's money with Trey and Lexi when you found it. Do you regret that?
Nadiya: We have no regrets about keeping the money. We found the money on the ground; it was not stealing. We didn't know whose it was; we thought it might be the rockers, the monster truckers, Abbie and Ryan -- all of which we had no alliance or relationship with.
Natalie: Nobody came forward and said anything about lost money. As a team and competitor, it's not my responsibility to go around and ask the teams if it was theirs. Nobody stepped forward and said anything about it. Maybe things would have changed if someone had come forward.
THR: Why did you try out for The Amazing Race?
Nadiya: Our entire lives, people have told us, "You need to do reality TV." The Amazing Race was the only one we ever considering because you need to bring skills and talent, and we could use some of our crazy aspects to our advantage as well.
THR: Would you compete again if asked back?
In unison: Hell yes!