June 11, 2001
In this series premiere episode, six unsuspecting players meet up with host Joe Rogan on a Western studio backlot. It is an overcast, misty day and they all wear ankle-length trenchcoats. When two cowboys approach on horseback, the players may briefly think they're going for a horseback ride. Wrong! As Joe points out, they are going on a Horse Drag!
Carlyle, a chef from North Carolina, is first to be harnessed between the two horses. He must lie down on the muddy trail and hang on to a rope. He will be dragged at up to 35 miles per hour 100 yards to the finish line. If he hangs on the entire time, he advances. The others are fixated as the drag begins. Carlyle bounces across the muddy, rocky trail. Mud and rocks hit him in the face - luckily he's wearing protective goggles. Once he crosses the finish, he shows off his shredded t-shirt and cut finger to the others. He says the drag burns and hurts the entire time. Nick, a military brat and shoeshine guy, hangs on and makes it to the finish with a mouthful of mud. Gabby, Veronica and Winston are unable to hold on the entire way. Flags mark each of their "drop off" points. Deirdre, and adventure-seeking blonde, is the last to go - and makes it across the finish line. She thereby eliminates Veronica - who had only made it a few yards.
Downtown Los Angeles is the setting for day two. It's after dark as the contestants wind down a creepy, dark stairway in what appears to be an abandoned building. At the bottom, they find Joe - and pit full of rats! The Rat Pit contains 400 nibbling, scratching, pooping, stinky rodents. The players must strip down to tank tops and shorts and lay among the critters for four minutes! The girls are calm...until Winston crawls in the pit. He is very vocal about the biting going on - and when he emerges, he fakes a rat bite just to freak the others out. Deirdre sucks up her fears and climbs down into the pit. When she emerges, she admits it was ten times worse than she expected. Gabby screams almost the entire four minutes, but does it. Even after seeing everyone else survive, Carlyle decides there is "no purpose" in doing it. Not even a potential $50,000 prize can persuade him. He quits. That leaves Nick. He too screams and is constantly squirming - which only seems to agitate the rats. Four minutes seems like four hours, but finally he is done.
The final stunt brings the final four players to an immense and imposing dam. They can see a car, suspended over 150 feet the vast expanse of water below. Joe explains that each player will have to climb out the driver's side window of the car, onto the hood and retrieve a ribbon. Then, they'll have to negotiate their way to the back of the car and pull a key out of the trunk's lock. After getting the flag and the key, they must climb back into the car, turn the key in the ignition and honk the horn. Oh, and did we mention the car is not only spinning, but it's being sprayed with water? Not an easy feat. Deirdre is first. Deirdre attempts to crawl onto the hood of the car...water pouring over her. She barely makes out the window and she quits. Gabby is next. If she passes Deirdre's distance, Deirdre is out. Gabby maneuvers out and rests her foot on the front tire; however, getting onto the hood proves problematic and she too, quits - despite Joe's encouragement. Gabby is out. Deirdre is still in.
Winston, who hates heights, makes the stunt look easy as he shimmies out and pulls the ribbon on the hood (and eliminates Deirdre). Using the open gas tank has a hand hold, Winston makes his way to the trunk and retrieves the key. But on his way back into the car, he slips off and ends his turn. Nick eyes Winston's scrapes and bruises, but is confident he can win. Out onto the hood he slides and hesitates. Eventually, he retrieves both the ribbon and the key - and beats Winston by getting back inside the car and honking the horn of victory!