For physician/goat farmer Brent Ridge, freeing himself from a straitjacket while dangling 15 stories above a New York City sidewalk was actually less frightening than a little synchronized swimming.
“I just tried to focus on the task at hand,” Ridge said of the straitjacket dangle. It was one of the many challenges he and his partner Josh Kilmer-Purcell had to complete during their 25,000-mile journey across nine countries to win $1 million on the CBS reality show “The Amazing Race.”
The finale wrapped up Sunday night, freeing the duo for an interview after six months of sworn silence.
Lest the general public believe the two competitors have an irrational fear of water sports, Kilmer-Purcell took a moment to explain the swimming challenge.
Upon arrival in Moscow on the seventh leg of the journey, they were required to learn a synchronized swimming routine and perform it with the Russian national developmental team.
“We hadn’t slept in 20 hours,” he said. “That was a low point.”
The team had a few such low points, narrowly avoiding elimination several times. They were considered underdogs right up until they crossed the finish line.
“We might not have won every leg,” Kilmer-Purcell said, “but we won the last leg, and that’s the main thing.”
The first question asked of reality show winners is most likely: What are you going to do with all your money?
Filming wrapped in June, so they had plenty of time to plan.
“Pay off the mortgage,” was Ridge’s short answer.
Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell operate the Beekman 1802 goat farm in western Schoharie County and sell goat’s milk soaps, other skin-care products and decor at Beekman Mercantile in Sharon Springs.
Back in 2008, both men lost their jobs in New York City. Ridge was able to land another job while Kilmer-Purcell worked to make their goat farm profitable. For the past five years they’ve been living apart during the workweek.
“We’ve been struggling financially to keep things afloat,” Kilmer-Purcell said. “It will be nice to have that weight lifted.”
As soon as the big check comes in, Ridge plans to give up medicine and move home for the first time in years. “We’re ready to just settle into Sharon Springs for a while,” he said.
There are also plans to build a new home for the mercantile, funneling some of the prize money into the local economy.
It was an admittedly stressful trip, but both men tried to look at it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — seeing things most Americans will never see.
“We tried to take every spare minute to just look around and appreciate where we were,” Ridge said.
The easygoing attitude seems to have worn off on the whole competition. Kilmer-Purcell said this season had less of the expected reality show backstabbing, even yielding some lasting friendships.
“We’re planning our wedding for this spring at the farm,” he said. “They’re all invited.”
Learn more about Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge at www.beekman1802.com.