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Local News

Minooka native wins Discovery Channel's 'The Wheel'

Kimble outlasts six other contestants in survival show

MINOOKA – Minooka native Adam Kimble has won the Discovery Channel survival show “The Wheel.”

The show placed six contestants into six different climate zones in South America with limited supplies and no human assistance other than the transportation to and from the zones. With the turn of a wheel, their time in one zone ended and they were transported to another zone.

The participants were everyday people with something to prove, according to Discovery Channel. For Kimble, it was to help inspire his friend, Mark Smith, who was battling brain cancer at the time.

“‘The Wheel’, without sounding too cliché, was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life,” said Kimble, who participates in various marathon types and ran 2,484.1 miles across America in 60 days.

“This was considerably harder than the run across America,” Kimble said.

More than anything, it was the emotional aspect of things that weighed on Kimble. It was the first time he was away from his wife, Karen Kimble, for an extended time without communication. Kimble and the other contestants had no contact with the outside world.

“It wore on me more than I ever thought it would,” Kimble said.

Not only that, the lack of food affected him more than he expected. That’s why Kimble said the tundra climate was the toughest one to deal with, but he was fortunate it was the first zone he entered.

“If I ended up there, I would be in a lot worse situation,” Kimble said.

His favorite zone, surprisingly, was the Amazon. He was most worried about it before filming started. He envisioned hot, wet weather with lots of predators.

But it was there that he had his best food, including fish and nuts. Not to mention, he took a selfie with a sloth.

Unfortunately, he returned home in November to the news that Smith had died. Smith’s wife, however, told him it felt like Smith was holding on long enough to see Kimble one last time.

Kimble and his wife now live in the Lake Tahoe area, but he returned home to Minooka to be with family and friends after the death of his close friend.

He’s now building on his motivational speaking career that he launched last year. He has a couple of more experiences that he can build on to inspire others.

“I get the opportunity to speak to lots of different groups – students, teachers, business people, churches – but it’s more meaningful to have an impact on the hometown community,” Kimble said, adding he has a few engagements lined up in Minooka.

He will add more elements of appreciation to his speaking.

“I told a lot of people the three things that will stick with me the most from this are to: appreciate time with family and friends, appreciate food on the table and appreciate a roof over my head,” Kimble said. “I’ll never take it for granted ever again.”

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