Wade Jones wins Redneck IslandPublished 11:59am Tuesday, January 8, 2013
A steady stream of friends and well-wishers Monday afternoon looked in on Redneck Island’s Season 2 $100,000 winner Wade Jones at the Our Town convenience store to hear stories from the reality show’s set and offer congratulations.
At a viewing party in Birmingham Saturday night, Jones was declared the winner of Country Music Television’s Redneck Island, beating 13 other contestants in 30 days of off-the-wall competitions on a tropical island off the coast of Mexico.
Jones said he would use his winnings to put his 16-year-old daughter Hope through college. A sophomore at Benjamin Russell High School, Hope as yet is undecided about where to attend college, but her father said she likely will attend Central Alabama Community College her first two years.
He attributed his success on the show to staying out of the drama between other islanders. “They also liked my cooking,” he said, “so they weren’t anxious to vote me off the island right away.”
At age 41, Jones was almost twice the age of most of the other competitors. He credited his physical stamina during the competition to taking vitamins and walking five miles every day prior to the opening of the local fall hunting season.
Contestants subsisted for one month on weekly rations of tuna, sardines, rice, noodles, potatoes and occasional canned goods. They lived in sparse conditions, including airless cabins in 100-degree temperatures.
The reality show’s host, professional wrestler Steve Austin, was witty and easy to talk to, Jones said.
“He is a super-cool guy, a true actor,” Jones said.
More than 40 local residents attended the viewing party at Fox and the Hounds in Birmingham to support Jones last weekend. Although some suspected he’d won, Jones said no one knew he had carried the competition that ended Oct. 16, 2012 until the final episode of the show ran during Saturday’s party.
“Even my contact at CMT didn’t know who had won until it was announced,” he said. “I signed a contract stating I would not reveal the secret.”
Jones will receive his winnings later this year, less 39 percent in taxes.
The support of his family, the folks in Alexander City and Our Town and his girlfriend Jan Jamil was humbling and overwhelming, Jones said.
“The folks here have always helped me along, and it blew my mind to arrive for the party and see them all there for me,” Jones said.
See next week’s Lake Martin Living magazine for more on this story.