Les Stroud Announces Winner of Survivorman Competition

Muskoka, Ontario – April 23, 2015 – Joseph McConnell from Monroe, New York, is about to see what it’s like to become Survivorman. Survivorman Les Stroud selected McConnell from a hundreds of contestants interested in accompanying the creator of survival TV into the wilderness. Together, Stroud and McConnell will film on location in Ontario, Canada, with no food, no water, no shelter and no camera crew.

As the star of OLN Canada, the Science Channel U.S. and Discovery Channel’s survival show, Survivorman, Stroud can extract himself from just about any dire situation: he’s survived in a raft at sea and fought off the frigid cold, and more, logging a half-million miles trekking across the world in the process. Now, he’ll be taking on a partner. 

McConnell, who is a long-time fan of Survivorman, said he’s excited about the opportunity, but nervous—particularly when it comes to bears. “I’ve been in the proximity of bears before, but it still makes me nervous,” said McConnell, who has worked in the film/TV industry for the past decade. “They’re so strong and powerful, and while they are gentle if you don’t alarm them, it’s still scary.”

McConnell was chosen by Stroud because of the five-minute video he submitted, explaining why he is the right partner for Stroud in the wilderness. In the video, he talked about his experience with filming and the outdoors. He added that he was open to the idea of going without food for a day or two. “I would eat grubs and ants and weird stuff if I had to,” he said. He also shared a video he made of himself hiking in the Swiss Alps. In the recording, he gets caught in the rain and snow, and does a compelling job of describing what he’s thinking and seeing as he continues on the trail, while also capturing gorgeous landscape views. 

“Joe proved to me, through his video, that he can narrate, shoot and explore nature,” said Stroud. “It’s impossible to know what lies ahead in our journey into the wilderness, but I’m looking forward to having a partner in survival.” 

McConnell said he’s most excited for the unknown of the adventure. “The surprise of what will happen – the mystery of not knowing what will happen, is gripping,” he said. He added that his goal is to soak up as much knowledge as he can. “I’m not a complete beginner, but I have a lot to learn,” he said.

McConnell said he’ll prepare for the outdoor trip by doing daily yoga, going on a number of hikes and eating raw food. When asked what he would choose if he could only take three things along, he said he’d bring a multi-tool, a canteen that filters water and a book of waterproof matches. 

McConnell said that when he found out he won the competition, he called his brother—also a big fan of the show—and his mother. He said his mom is nervous for him. His father, Joseph, for whom he’s named, passed away after battling cancer in recent years, and so his mother is especially protective of the family. 

“If my father were here, he’d scream and then say, ‘Go for it, that’s amazing!’ He would be beside me 100 percent,” said McConnell.

Known as the original genre creator of “Survival TV,” Survivorman is one of the highest rated shows in the history of OLN Canada, the Science Channel U.S. and Discovery Channel U.S., and remains the highest rated repeat show on the Discovery Channel. Survivorman is licensed for broadcast worldwide, with ratings in the U.S. hitting 2 million on individual episodes. 

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About Les Stroud
Les Stroud is a survival expert, filmmaker, writer, singer-songwriter, speaker and performer. Best known for producing, directing, creating, and starring in Discovery Channel’s Survivorman, he’s the only producer to devise an internationally broadcasted series entirely written, videotaped and hosted solo. 

The hit TV series is one of the highest rated shows in the history of OLN Canada, the Science Channel U.S. and Discovery Channel U.S. Stroud is also a best-selling author and musician. He has written three survival-centric books, including Will to Live, and produced three albums. A renowned conservationist and activist for the environment, Stroud lives in Northern Ontario. Follow him on Twitter at @reallesstroud, Facebook at thereallesstroud, Instagram at reallesstroud, YouTube at lesstroud and Pinterest, reallesstroud.