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Minooka native stars in new Discovery Channel survival show

'The Wheel' places contestants in six grueling climates in South America

Adam Kimble
Adam Kimble

JOLIET – It’s a good thing Adam Kimble never unsubscribed from one particular annoying, recurring email blast.

“The emails were just infrequent enough and also interesting enough to not unsubscribe,” said Kimble, a contestant on a new Discovery Channel show called “The Wheel.”

Kimble, a Minooka native, applied years ago to be on a reality TV show that he has since forgotten the name of. But he ended up on an email list for other reality shows.

“I got an email about ‘The Wheel,’ and the buzzwords they used were just intriguing enough to get me to open it up,” Kimble said. “It was about travel and adventure – two things I like – so I read about it and applied.”

A Discovery Channel description states: “‘The Wheel’ dares six participants to survive in six distinctly grueling landscapes across South America. With every turn of the wheel, each survivalist is dropped into a new isolated location, exposed to the world’s deadliest terrains, including freezing tundra, rugged mountains and treacherous rainforest.”

The show lasted up to 60 days. The participants are not typical survival experts, but rather everyday people with something to prove, according to Discovery Channel.

Kimble is unsure how many people applied but said it was in the hundreds. He made it to final casting in Los Angeles, where six people were chosen for the show out of 30 finalists. He was one of the chosen six.

Casting was all about understanding the contestant and what it was that would drive them to want to survive in the wilderness without winning a prize, he said.

“For me, a big part of it was my friend Mark Smith,” Kimble said.

Smith was a teacher at Minooka Community High School who was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer in May. He died in November.

Kimble said he wanted to do something that would inspire his friend as he battled cancer.

“During the casting process, I talked about the different experiences I had,” Kimble said, noting his attempt to run across America in early 2016.

Kimble began his journey Feb. 15 in Huntington Beach, California, with a goal to run to New York City. After several injuries, Kimble redirected his journey to have a final destination of Tybee Island, Georgia. Kimble, along with his wife, Karen Kimble, and two crew members made the trek in 60 days and covered 2,484.1 miles, a bit shy of the 3,000 he hoped to finish.

He said learned quite a bit from the experience.

“I’m a faithful person,” Adam said. “Having faith in what I feel called to do and what God has planned for me is a big part of what I do. So I was very vocal about that in the casting process.”

Adam said producers came to the Minooka/Channahon area to film background on him before he took off for South America. He took them to the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Lake Chaminwood Preserve, where he likes to run.

He made sure to order some pizza from Fat Boyz Pizza and Stuff, a Minooka staple.

“I showed them around as best as I could,” Adam said. “I think they got some cool footage, but I haven’t seen any of it yet.”

The show debuts on Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. Jan. 13.



WHAT: The Wheel on Discovery Channel

WHEN: 9 p.m. Jan. 13

ETC: Minooka native Adam Kimble on survivalist show set in South America.

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