Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge pulled off a surprising upset in Sunday night's Amazing Race finale, winning the million dollar prize despite trailing the pack during much of the second half of the race, and narrowly avoiding elimination multiple times. ETonline catches up with the winners to talk about the finale and their perspective on the race.
ETonline: Congrats on winning. Do you feel like the ultimate underdogs?
Brent: We feel like a million bucks!
Josh: It was an amazing journey the entire race. Every leg of the way was a race for us. And it's kind of just surreal now that it's over. We never told a single person – we never told our family, we never told our parents, we never told any friends, or employees, or anyone the outcome. So it was so much to fun to have the people we love sort of watch the race in real time and run it in real time with us.
ETonline: Throughout the race, even when you were coming in toward the back of the pack, and having bad luck along the way at certain points, did you feel like you were going to win?
Brent: One thing that living on the farm has taught us is, you never count your chickens before they hatch. So I would never say that we felt we could win, but we never felt like losers. We knew that the only thing that we had to do was win in the leg that counted, and that only meant not getting out on any particular leg along the way. And that's what we did – that was our strategy going in, and that's what worked for us.
ETonline: It definitely did. So last night in the finale, how did it feel when the other three teams, who arguably were all pretty physically fit and didn't seem to need an extra boost, decided to make an alliance to exclude you?
Josh: I think that that's actually just a natural dynamic of the race. Actually, of life. They hadn't seen us in several legs, we'd been on a whole different race than they were on, and they became fast friends, so we were outsiders re-joining them. And I think it was a natural reaction. It was certainly demoralizing when we first heard it, but then immediately after, it was incredibly motivating.
Brent: And as the twins told us right after the race, it was never an alliance to exclude us, it was just an alliance to help them win. That's the way they conceived it.
ETonline: And it probably made sense in the same way that you two were working with Abbie and Ryan, it seems like it makes sense to try to make friends with people because then they're sticking with you and not necessarily getting ahead of you.
Brent: Right, it's always good to have your competitor within your sight.
Josh: Also with Abbie and Ryan, I think a lot of people were confused by, you know they felt that the last two teams were just getting together and hugging it out, but in reality it was a really strategic thing for us to stay together. Because we knew that the only chance for either of us to succeed, was that we had to eat into that time lag as much as possible. So by working on the tasks together, we actually did accomplish that, and people can see that by the time Brent and I left for Spain, we were only three hours behind the next team, versus 14 1/2 hours behind in Moscow.
ETonline: That's a good point. Last night, during the dog food challenge, it seemed like the twins were getting really personal, but was that more joking, in reality, than it seemed like it was on TV?
Brent: Oh, absolutely, it was good-natured trash-talking. And actually, we used that against them in the midst of that, because we quickly realized that they couldn't keep up their zingers and actually finish the task at the same time. And we were much more skilled at doing two things at once, so we just continued to let them trash talk, to throw them off of what they should have been focusing on.
ETonline: That was pretty smart. Going into the final challenge, it was pretty cerebral, so did you feel like you were well-suited to that, Josh?
Josh: I guess I realized that the advantage I had was when I figured out that it was purely going to be a process of elimination challenge. The advantage I had was that I figured that out. The disadvantage was that I realized how hard that was going to be, the process of elimination, I didn't realize that there were 1,000 different combinations. That was a little soul-crushing when I realized that. And I think you see on Lexi's face, she realized it too. But there was no option, either I was going to sit there and wait for the other ones to go through those 1,000 combinations or I was going to do it.
ETonline: Was it hard to pull the flag up that pole, was it physically hard to keep doing that?
Josh: Yes, I wound up with blisters on my hands for the next few weeks.
ETonline: I wanted to ask both of you, what is the most important life lesson that you take away from the race?
Brent: You know, I think that the race, especially when you watch it on television played back at you, really is so symbolic of life itself, you know, the ups and downs and being able to roll with what's coming your way. And dealing with other people, and dealing with your own relationship, it's like a perfect representation of what we all go through in our lives every single day.
Josh: Just condensed, compressed, and add in a million dollars.
ETonline: So, Josh, have you quit your job? Are you both living on the farm full-time?
Brent: We haven't gotten our check yet. (Everyone laughs)
Josh: It's all happening now, the rest of the world found out last night, so we're working things through.
ETonline: I was actually thinking about that -- if all of a sudden you were sprucing up the farm and spending all this money, then people would probably figure out that you had won.