This story was reported and written by KNOM reporter Ava White
Nome residents and brothers Oliver and Wilson Hoogendorn, competing as the “AK Boys” on USA Network’s Race to Survive: Alaska television series, took home the championship on Monday, June 5 during a watch party – and in front of a packed hometown audience.
After showcasing their win – which includes a $500,000 cash prize – in front of the standing-room-only crowd, they said this is what was most challenging.
“The most challenging aspect is shows probably starving for like 50 days.” The pair said. “100 percent.”
The first season of Race to Survive: Alaska aired starting in March of this year and showcased eight teams embarking on a competition to survive the Alaskan wilderness. The brothers competed over the summer across the 50-day survival course, becoming the first winners of the show.
The eight teams of two competed in six races over 100 miles of wilderness in rough and rural Alaska.
The brothers faced treacherous terrain and weather, but persevered and brought the win home to Nome. They said they needed each other more than anything else during the competition.
“It was absolutely necessary … I think with any other partner wouldn’t have gone as well, so I’m glad we had each other,” Oliver said, with Wilson adding, “If I didn’t have my brother as a partner, we probably wouldn’t have won.”
The teams were only allowed to use what they could carry on their back and used their wildland skills to make it through each race.
With their winnings, the pair say they plan to give back to the Nome community, and they thanked numerous family members, friends and supporters after the airing of the episode.
Image at top: The first season finale of Race to Survive: Alaska was held Monday, June 5 at the Katirvik Cultural Center. Photo by Ava White/KNOM