Fishers reality show contestant leans on childhood, military experience for survival

Shon attempts to catch some fish to curb his hunger. (Provided Photo/Discovery)
Shon attempts to catch some fish to curb his hunger. (Provided Photo/Discovery)

FISHERS, Ind (WISH) – After surviving a rough childhood neighborhood, and six years in the military, a Hamilton County man is ready for millions to watch his toughest challenge yet.

In mid-January, the Discovery Channel will air its new show, “The Wheel.” For 60 days, contestants are left alone in the tundra, dessert, and jungle to find food, shelter and protection.

Fishers man, Shon Joyner, struggles for food during his time on Discovery's new reality show, "The Wheel." (Discovery)
Fishers man, Shon Joyner, struggles for food during his time on Discovery’s new reality show, “The Wheel.” (Discovery)

As the lunar calendar changes, contestants are moved. One of the participants is Shon Joyner.

“There was nothing glamorous about it,” Joyner said. “It became very emotional for me. Emotionally, spiritually, physically.”

The Fishers man is no stranger to survival. He grew-up in an east side Indianapolis neighborhood.

A spot still filled with trash, graffiti, and abandoned homes. “At a young age, it did a lot to me, especially when you grow up in rough parts and start seeing violence at a young age,” Joyner said.

His escape was sports. But being five-foot-four, there wasn’t an NBA career in his future.

So, he turned to the military. “I joined right after high school. I was 18, 19,” Joyner said.

Shon Joyner served on George W. Bush's presidential guard. An assignment he said helped him prepare for his reality show journey. (Shon Joyner)
Shon Joyner served on George W. Bush’s presidential guard. An assignment he said helped him prepare for his reality show journey. (Shon Joyner)

He served on George W. Bush’s presidential guard, and went to Iraq. His friend lost limbs in combat. When he suggested the show, Joyner said he had no choice.

“He came across the link, and he told me out of all the other marines that he knew that he felt that I was the one who could take this head on, and do very good,” Joyner said.

Joyner said he was left with three days ration of food, and worked his own cameras. “There would be times where I would wake up and not know where I was at,” Joyner said. “I would have to think, okay, I’m on a TV show, but I didn’t feel like I was on a TV show at all.”

Show promos recently started to air. It’s a 30 second spot that brings back memories.

“There’s definitely some good moments, but most of it, and I savored those good moments, but most of it was very tough,” Joyner said.

Joyner said there is no prize for lasting the longest. Despite what he went through, Joyner is glad he did it.

“I think a lot of times we as people, we don’t get to test ourselves and see what we’re made of,” Joyner said. “As difficult as it was, it opened up a different perspective to me. I’m very glad I went through that.”

Joyner plans to watch the show premier, scheduled for January 13,  with friends at a restaurant. If you’re interested in learning more about the show, click here.

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