How can you possibly claim victory on the first season of The Challenge: All Stars when even your own flesh and blood says you don’t have a chance in hell? Just ask Yes, the Road Rules: Semester at Sea alum who blew away the competition in the final stretch of the Challenge spinoff to claim victory, $500,000 and the distinction of king of the Challenge mountain.
The final All Stars mission, which came on the heels of Kendal and Nehemiah’s shocking elimination, kicked off with especially high stakes. Darrell, the feared Road Rules: Campus Crawl export, had never lost a final, while Jonna, the Real World: Cancun standout who’d just given birth seven months before filming, had never run one.
“The last time I was in a final was my very first rookie season,” Ruthie, Real World: Hawaii veteran, said of her 2002 Battle of the Sexes second-place finish. “I have not taken home a W, so it feels really friggin’ good to be in a final again.”
Host TJ Lavin explained that the first five legs of the game would pair up each man with each woman and that a contestant’s performance at each juncture would earn him or her a consequent number of points. At the game’s end, the man or woman who earned the most points would win the grand prize, but for Derrick and Jisela — who stumbled after the Stage 1 puzzle and subsequent canoe race — the game was over in the blink of an eye.
“I’m just devastated,” Derrick said as he exited the game.
And as the game progressed through the second and third legs, it was clear that KellyAnne and Jonna weren’t content letting the men steamroll over the competition. At various points through the game’s early stages, both were in contention for first place alongside Darrell and Yes.
But when it came time for the game’s fourth stage — which challenged players to eat Carolina Ghost Peppers before sprinting to the game’s next station — the world’s hottest pepper left some contestants ready to quit.
“It feels like I just chugged poison, and now I’m supposed to run,” said Real World: Sydney‘s KellyAnne, who ultimately bucked up and insisted her partner Darrell, who was ready to quit, keep pushing through the pain.
Sadly, the pain would continue, as TJ told the finalists they had to consume between two and three pounds of what appeared to be pig parts. Jemmye and Fresh Meat‘s Big Easy both came close to throwing in the towel, but ultimately everyone advanced to the game’s second day.
After very little sleep, players met TJ at the crack of dawn to kick off the final trek up a mountain. TJ told the cast the last mission would be an individual run and that a player’s performance would be worth double the points available in each preceding round.
Immediately, Darrell took a commanding lead as the Final 10 ascended the mountain, but Yes eventually caught up and passed him.
“Should I be my helpful self or should I talk sh**?” the soft-spoken, self-proclaimed mountain man asked as he left Darrell in his dust. “Sorry man, I’m gonna talk sh**.”
Then, he crossed the finish line at the mountain’s peak long before Darrell even appeared on the horizon behind him.
“I worked so hard for this and I feel proud,” he said, calling himself a “41-year-old, out-of-shape dad.”
Darrell, who finished second, gave Yes credit for outperforming the Challenge pack from the game’s get-go, while OG godfather Mark, who was proud of pushing 50, dedicated his finish to his mom, who’d been battling cancer.
And when Jonna crossed the finish line to earn her eventual third-place finish (she and KellyAnne tied for third), she burst into tears as she felt the enormity of her first finale race wash over her. Meanwhile, Aneesa, who finished at the bottom of the pack alongside Easy, knew she hadn’t won but was proud that she completed her first final since 2009’s Duel 2.
“I wanted this and I got this,” she said. “It was hell, but I pushed through it.”
And as the group embraced a final time in celebration of the feat, Yes looked back on how far he’d come.
“Every day I would visualize coming home to my family, walking in the door, falling on the floor and telling them that I won — my kids hugging me and my wife piling on top,” he said.
He added, jokingly: “My kids said that I couldn’t do it. My kids said that I had a one in 900 chance…Now I got the crown. Who wants it?”
So what did you think of The Challenge: All Stars and the outcome? Did you expect Yes to win, or did you think someone else would be victorious? Weigh in, then stream all episodes now on Paramount+!