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Karlstad native claims victory on game show

Karlstad, Minn., native Derek Stusynski and Brittney Bebek celebrate. Submitted photo2 / 3
Derek Stusynski competes on ABC's hit gameshow "Wipeout," which aired Sunday for a special 2 hour Blind Date Edition. Submitted photo3 / 3

Los Angeles CA - The “Wipeout” obstacle course wasn’t the hardest part for Derek Stusynski.

It was keeping the secret.

For three months, friends and family asked the Karlstad, Minn, native how he fared on ABC’s hit game show and tried to trick him into telling them.

So when Stusynski’s episode finally aired Sunday night, he gathered around 50 people in his apartment to watch together.

“It was my version of a Super Bowl party,” Stusynski said.

Stusynski won Sunday’s airing of “Wipeout.” Now living in Los Angeles, he competed on a special two-hour “Blind Date” edition of the show where contestants compete with a partner they’ve never met before to see which team can complete the obstacle course the fastest.

Stusynski and his partner, Brittney Bebek, each received $25,000 for winning.

“It was an entirely unreal experience,” Stusynski said. “It was such a long process. It was the most fun, but also the most difficult and draining experience I’ve ever been a part of.”

Stusynski began watching the show since its start in 2008, always thinking it would be fun to be on the show. He submitted an online application and had to go through an interview process before being cast.

Although, Stusynski said the “Wipeout” course was one of the most difficult and physically draining things he has ever done, he did very little training prior to the episode other than some running two weeks before the show.

The toughest part of the course wasn’t the obstacles, but the thick mud the contestants fall into after wiping out, he said.

“It was really thick, almost like gravy. You come out of the mud after going through the first obstacle and you weigh another 30 or 40 pounds,” Stusynski said. “You’re exhausted from swimming through the mud and having the wind knocked out of you. Then you have mud in your eyes for the rest of the course to where you can’t see anything.”

Stusynski now lives in Los Angeles, where he works as an actor, writer and producer.

Along with the party he threw at his Los Angeles apartment, three hours earlier, Stusynski watched the episode over Skype with his mother and father who still live in Karlstad.

“To see everyone’s reaction when we came back to win was unreal,” he said. “Until seeing it air on TV, it didn’t feel real.”

Wade Rupard

Wade Rupard is a reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Rupard is a 2014 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and is originally from Normal, Ill. 

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