Incline woman wins on TV reality show
INCLINE VILLAGE – An Incline Village resident spent her 15 minutes of fame and won the $50,000 first prize by hanging upside down from a helicopter, putting various animal parts in her mouth, and running on a treadmill high above Los Angeles Harbor as part of the NBC reality series “Fear Factor.”
Keirsten Wingo, a veterinary assistant for North Lake Tahoe Veterinary Clinic and server at the Hacienda Restaurant in Incline Village, got involved in the show because she hates shopping.
“I was with my sister at a mall last March. She was shopping for a wedding dress, and I hate shopping so I sat down to read a magazine,” Wingo said.
It was while she was thumbing through her magazine that Wingo noticed a line of people waiting to interview for the show.
“I had seen the show maybe five times and since I had no idea when my sister would be done shopping, I got in line with about 1,200 other people.”
Before she knew it, she was being interviewed.
“They just fired a series of questions at us. They were looking for people with personality, and I have to admit, I didn’t expect that anything would come of it so I was very relaxed,” she said.
A few weeks later, she was called back for another interview.
“This time, they videotaped the interview and asked me if I had any particular talent. I told them that I had studied ballet and had been in gymnastics so they had me do a couple of moves for them,” she said.
Wingo feels that what may have put her in good stead with the producers was she wasn’t that familiar with the show.
“They asked me what I thought of Joe Rogan (the host of the show), and I had no idea who they were talking about. That made them laugh,” Wingo said.
Wingo heard back from the show June 1. Four days later, she was flown to Southern California.
The veil of secrecy surrounding the show, which aired Tuesday, and the stunts was strict. It was only after she arrived in Southern California she learned her segment would feature all women.
“We never knew in advance what stunt we had to do. We were blindfolded and transported to the site.”
For their first test, each bikini-clad contestant was hoisted by her ankles from a helicopter over a reservoir. On the water’s surface, there were three rings, and in the rings were a number of flags. Each contestant was lowered into each of these rings to grab as many of the flags as she was able. Wingo tied for first by grabbing 10 flags.
“I was kind of showboating on the way up, and I dropped one of the flags,” she confessed.
Wingo was prepared for the second stunt.
“I knew from watching the show that the second stunt usually included eating something gross so I didn’t eat anything all morning. I just sipped on a flat 7up.”
The stunt consisted of a conveyor belt stocked with disgusting delicacies like cow brain and spinal cord, pig uterus, fish-egg sacks, nightcrawlers and mealworms.
The object of the stunt was to carry the items in your mouth and drop them into a jar. The winner was determined by the accumulated weight moved by each contestant.
“I finished first with 51Ú2 pounds,” Wingo said proudly.
The third stunt involved the contestants running in a large treadmill, suspended by a crane over the harbor in Los Angeles.
“All my dance and gymnastics training dealt with balance. I also surf so that helped.”
Wingo’s 2 minute, 10 second time in the 12-foot steel wheel won the competition and a $50,000 prize.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was really exciting and took me a few days to come down.”
Wingo said she’d “love to take a surfing holiday around the world” with her prize money. “But I’ll probably be a good girl and pay off my student loan, my car and help my mom buy a house.”
Wingo said the most exciting thing about doing the show was winning – and “we beat out Monday Night Football in the ratings.”