Fear is not a factor for local cowboy
Eagle County has yet another reality TV celebrity named Ryan in its midst. This one is a cowboy who had to surf through a tunnel on a tanker truck, eat bugs and get rolled down a hill in a car, but he won the contest and came home with two things: $50,000 and a new found dislike for Los Angeles.How did a cowboy from Vail get picked to be on a reality TV show like Fear Factor? It was a fluke, according to Ryan May, a former Vail Mountain School student who is now a cowboy at the Black Mountain Ranch in McCoy. He was at CU-Boulder when he heard people from the show would be at a bar casting new contestants.”I’m not a reality TV fan,” May said. “Heck, I don’t even watch television that much, but I went down there to check it out eight months later I was moved to LA and on Fear Factor.”They judged everyone at the bar in Boulder on personality and looks and somehow I slipped by,” he said. After making it through a few other screenings, May managed to get himself on the show, and come home with an extra $50,000 for winning.On the show, which aired April 5 on NBC, May was judged by his performance in two basic categories.”Some of the events were timed events, to see how much you could get done in a certain amount of time,” he said. “In the other events, they just made you eat gross stuff and that was judged basically by quantity.”Six people were brought out to LA from all over the country, according to May.The first event he had to participate in was what he called “surfing on a semi tanker truck” through a tunnel, trying to grab as many flags hanging from the top of the tunnel as possible.”I was on top of this truck going through the tunnel at about 35 40 miles an hour with nothing to hold on to,” May said. “You had to just grab as many flags as you could without falling down and getting all banged up.”The second event May had to do was an eating event, which involved eating a potato bug. The potato bug also known as Jerusalem cricket are found mostly in the Western United States. They are not poisonous, but they have a wicked bite.”They look like an overgrown grasshopper with these big fang things on them they look pretty scary,” May said. “When I saw them, I knew I could do the stunt. I did wonder why there wasn’t very many of them, but I guess they’re hard to come by and kind of expensive.”To determine how many of these bugs he would have to eat, May shot potato gun at a target with numbers 1 3 on it. “I, of course, hit the three, which was the highest number,” May said. “The bugs were alive, and you couldn’t just swallow them you had to just crunch them down and eat them. They didn’t give you anything to wash them down with either.”One girl was biting the heads off first and then eating the rest of the juicy parts after that. There was a bucket there for everyone if they needed to throw up, but I kept my bugs down. After three I bet I could have eaten 20 they tasted about as good as the food they were serving us anyway.”For the last event, May was placed in a car at the top of a hill. His challenge was to find the key to the car, start it and move it before it was tipped over by a bulldozer.”No one else ever found the key or moved the car I found the key, but only moved the car about 5 inches,” he said. “I still ended up getting rolled down the hill.”If I hadn’t won, the whole weekend would have sucked,” May said of his experience on Fear Factor. “I’m a country boy, and they took me and put me in a motel in the middle of LA the smog and traffic capital of the world. I felt out of place I didn’t know anyone and they didn’t really let us out of our rooms.”According to May, when he and the other cast members were moved from place to place, they were blindfolded and could not meet anyone else until they were on camera. “The reason they did that was because they wanted natural reactions of us meeting each other on camera,” he said.”There were people on the show I got along with and people I didn’t,” May said. “When someone was saying something about me that I didn’t like and we were on camera, I’d just say (the F-bomb) over and over again so they couldn’t use that on the show.”Despite some of the things about the experience he didn’t like, May said he would do it again without hesitating. “Just for the opportunity to make that kind of money in such a short amount of time, I’d definitely do it again.”May said he’s planning on buying a $15,000 horse trailer with his winnings and saving the rest. “That’s way too much money to just piss away.”By Jason Smith
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