When you think of gays on reality competition shows, it’s easy to start with RuPaul’s Drag Race and to go downhill from there. Sometimes, it seems, the stereotypes of gay men on reality TV aren’t exactly the image we should be putting out into the world.
Luckily, we got to catch up with Jake Nodar, the only gay cast mate of History Channel’s new reality competition show, Full Metal Jousting, and he gave us his view on the reality show biz.
Nodar is a seasoned horse trainer and former Discovery Channel host of Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment who loves thrill seeking and never steps down from a challenge. We recently chatted with the jousting star and discussed his new show and how he learned to mount… a horse.
When did you first start getting in to jousting?
This show is my first time jousting; I have no prior experience with it. They were looking for experienced horsemen and that’s what I do for a living. Many clients and many friends encouraged it. So I decided to give it a go.
What is your background with riding horses?
It was great it was a childhood obsession I had. I grew up in the city, so as soon as I started high school I started volunteering at a horse rescue. Then, I went on to get hired there full time and I knew it was what I wanted to do. So I went to a horse training school. I’ve been doing it full time ever since. It’s amazing. I love being outside, I love working with horses.
What initially made you want to be a part of the show?
I am a huge fan of crazy adventures so that was very appealing to me. I love learning new things and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. So, I though I’d give this a go. I’m pretty competitive as well, so it was right up my alley.
What was it like for you being the only openly gay cast mate on the show?
I had some reservations going in to it because its 15 alpha-male types, living in fairly close quarters and we’re all training together. I definitely had some concerns and I think I was a little reserved at first. There were a lot of guys from parts of the country that aren’t really exposed to the gay community. But I think the bottom line was we were all there to compete for the prize and win the title of jousting champion. The whole thing with me being gay was not really an issue for the most part.
What was it like for you physically? Where you working out prior to the show?
When I found out that there was a possibility of me being on the show I definitely hit the gym quite a bit more than what I was used to. I am built like a noodle, so I was trying to bulk up a bit. And it was tough we went through a week of boot camp prior just to make sure that we could hold up to the demands of jousting and it kicked my ass. It was 8 hours a day we were riding around with 85 pounds of armor and basically learning how to balance ourselves on these horses at a dead gallop, without reigns, without stirrups. It was definitely one of the tougher training routines that I’ve gone through. I tried to prepare myself as best as I could but I don’t think anyone could really prepare you for jousting and the collisions that happened.