MSU alum in sprint to the finish on 'Amazing Race'11:07 PM, Dec 7, 2012Josh Kilmer-Purcell (left) and Brent Ridge on the 'Amazing Race.' / Courtesy photo
Josh Kilmer-Purcell has been many things in his first two decades after Michigan State University.
He’s been a poet and a pig farmer. He’s been an author, an advertising man and Aquadesiac, the drag queen who has goldfish swimming in see-through breasts.“I’ve had a lot of drastic career changes,”
he said in an interview last year. And now there’s another detour: He may be the first sorta-local person to reach the season finale of a major reality show.
Some have been close. Erich Reichenbach of Pinckney and Heidi Androl of MSU were strong in “Survivor” and “Apprentice” respectively; each was dumped a week before the four-person finale.
But now comes Sunday’s “Amazing Race” finale, with four duos. One has Kilmer-Purcell, 43, with Brent Ridge, 38, his partner in life, agriculture and reality TV.
They’ve been on the fringes of fame before, with an amiable cable series; now they have a shot at $1 million.
Viewers notice one thing right away: “Opposites always attract,”
He’s a precise sort, with a medical degree, an MBA and math skills. By comparison, Kilmer-Purcell switched MSU majors after his first math test.
Kilmer-Purcell was in third-grade when his family moved from New York to Oconomowoc, a Wisconsin town of 10,000. His dad worked in sales; the family lived in a suburbia, surrounded by cornfields.“I always had a feeling that the farm people were more fun,”
he said. “They had the animals and the hay piles to jump into.”
He chose MSU because of its hotel-restaurant school — which he left after that math test. That’s when he found the creative-writing program and noted poet Diane Wakoski. “She had a huge impact on me.”
Maybe MSU implanted some desire to be with nature. “I think of all those walks along the river to class. (And) that garden (near) the library, with little markers saying what everything is. I never imagined some day I would have a farm with little markers.”
There were some steps in between.
He graduated in 1991, moved to New York and became Aquadisiac, a fact that was readily accepted by his co-workers in advertising and less accepted by his eventual boyfriend.“I have a big fear of clowns and drag queens,”
Ridge was then vice president of Healthy Living for Martha Stewart’s company. One day, they saw a listing for a manor near Sharon Springs, NY. “I took that to Martha and she said, ‘Buy it,’ ” Ridge said.
They did, four years ago, thinking of it as a weekend retreat. A week later, Kilmer-Purcell said, they got a handwritten note from a man “who had lost his farm and he had a month to find a home for his 80 goats and asked if he could be our caretaker.”
That’s the guy now known as Farmer John. Their farm has goats, pigs and more, plus a cable following.
The guys sell everything from goat-milk soap to crafts created by neighbors. They’ve made it work, partly through Internet sales.
Now they have a shot at a million-dollar prize.http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20121207/THINGSTODO08/312070052/MSU-alum-sprint-finish-Amazing-Race-?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CThings%20to%20do&nclick_check=1