'Love in the Wild' crowns Ken Barrington and Yanina Beccaria second-season champions
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/25/2012
Love in the Wild crowned Kenneth Barrington and Yanina Beccaria its second-season champions during Tuesday night's finale of the NBC reality dating series, which featured singles attempting to find love in the Dominican Republic.
"From Day 1, I knew that Yanina was my girl and I wanted to be at the finish line with her. We're falling in love more and more each day, and it means so much to me to be given this opportunity to have this trip around the world with her and get to know her better to form that relationship outside of this experience. The family, the kids -- all of that stuff comes pouring into mind. I'm just ecstatic. This is the girl of my dreams and I couldn't be happier," Ken, a 33-year-old from Peoria, IL who currently resides in Miami Beach, FL, explained after the couple claimed their victory together at the finish line.
"I could never imagine not having Ken in my life. We've come so far and I'm very sad that it's over, but these are tears of happiness because now we're starting a new chapter and I can't wait. I just have to thank him for being such a good partner, and I feel like if we went through all this, everything else is going to be a breeze," added Yanina, a 33-year-old from Rosario, Argentina who currently resides in Chicago, IL.
As the winning couple, Ken and Yanina received Love in the Wild's second-season grand prize -- an all-expenses paid first class trip around the world for two.
Benjamin Clark, a 27-year-old from Chesterfield, England who currently resides in Monroe, NC, and Michelle Sacco, a 26-year-old from Rome, GA who currently resides in Atlanta, GA, finished in second place.
"Long. Long would be the word I would use to define that adventure," Ben toldLove in the Wild host Jenny McCarthy after crossing the finish line, adding that his relationship with Michelle was the best part of his experience on the show and he had "absolutely" found love in the wild.
"Obviously for me, this whole experience was about meeting someone I care for and love and really like, and so for me, the prize I will take back from this experience is finding Michelle. So for me, I am the winner!"
"It would've been great to win, but we were here for all the right reasons and found each other, so it would've been awesome to win -- but we did. We found each other," Michelle explained.
Love in the Wild's second-season finale episode began following the eliminations of Aaron Chase, a 28-year-old from San Diego, CA, who currently resides in Newport Beach, CA, and Summer Mack, a 32-year-old from Satellite Beach, FL, who currently resides in Indian Harbour Beach, FL.
Ken and Yanina and Ben and Michelle felt like the luckiest people in the world for having made it so far in the competition. Although Ken and Yanina had been together and developed a strong bond since the very beginning of the show, Ben and Michelle believed they were going to give the long-standing couple a true run for their money. Both couples thought they had what it would take to win, and they all hoped for the best.
Jenny McCarthy then met with the final two couples who had formed very strong connections throughout the season and began falling in love after undertaking a series of adventurous activities in the hopes of winning luxurious rewards.
Jenny McCarthy explained the couples' last adventure would determine the season's winning couple. Ken and Yanina and Ben and Michelle were told their final challenge would be long and tough, taking them two days to complete, and require excellent communication skills.
The couples were then instructed to determine which person in each pair was better at giving directions and which partner was stronger at following directions. Ken and Ben both decided they'd be better at giving the directions, and so within moments, they hopped into the back of a truck and left their female partners to be transported to a different location.
Once there, Jenny McCarthy told the men they must guide their partners along a course via walkie-talkies to help them collect three items -- one wheel, one set of two seats and one set of four pedals -- on a map and then explain how the girls could arrive at the same destination in which they were standing at that time. When a couple joined together again, they would be able to open a box to discover a brand new set of instructions, which would lead them to their next map.
Ben and Michelle struggled with the directions right off the bat, as they both had trouble using a compass and Ben wasn't successful at figuring out the distance between points on his map due to his admitted lack of math skills under pressure. The couple seemingly gave up at the beginning of their quest, while Ken and Yanina were gliding through the adventure smoothly and efficiently.
Inside each box at Ben and Ken's base camp was a two-person bicycle the couples had to assemble and then ride to a bike drop, where they'd then ditch the bike and pick up their next map. Ken and Yanina were in first place the entire time, but their bike ended up breaking down. As a result, they gave Ben and Michelle a chance to gain some ground and catch up a bit.
Once at the bike drop, the pairs had to run and find their camping supplies by peeking through a rock with a small eye-hole after decoding some symbols. They could choose what supplies to take with them out of necessities and luxury items and then had to hike a long way to their "Lost World" campsites.
At the end of the first day, Ken and Yanina and Ben and Michelle -- who arrived five minutes behind their opponents -- camped overnight and rested up for Day 2's upcoming challenges. On Day 2, the couples were required to depart their campsites in the same order and with the exact time separation determined from the prior day's finishing order.
On the second day of their adventure, the couples were instructed to decode a message on a cryptic tablet to receive their next set of instructions.
The tablet revealed they should fold their maps in half to learn which cave was going to hold the male idols they were required to retrieve. Once at a dock their maps had directed them to, Yanina and Ken -- followed by Ben and Michelle -- learned they had to latch two small kayaks together with rope to form a stable boat. Ben and Michelle and Ken and Yanina had to paddle in the appropriate cave to find their couple's idol and then follow a mark out to floating crates in the water.
Afterwards, each pair had to grab one of the floating crates, cross the ocean to a series of large totem poles awaiting them on the beach, open their one crate using a crow bar, and then finally carry the contents down the beach to the finish line.
Yanina was frustrated because Ken wasn't listening to her during the adventure, and therefore, re-tied her original rope knots which proved to be a bad decision. Meanwhile Ben and Michelle were "hauling ass." The couples had a long way to paddle overall, and the waters were very rough. Yanina admitted she and Ken "sucked at paddling" and she was clearly exhausted, but the windy conditions apparently didn't help.
When Ken and Yanina approached the floating crates, Ken mistakenly hopped off the kayaks without securing them and drifted off a bit in the ocean. Ken was upset because he feared the minor complications he and Yanina had faced would ultimately allow Ben and Michelle to defeat them. Much to Ken's disappointment, he eventually saw Ben and Michelle pass him, and he felt like he had destroyed everything he had worked so hard for with Yanina.
However, the couples seemingly ended up neck and neck in the water as they paddled to the beach. Ken and Yanina then opened their crate quickly, edging their way ahead of Ben and Michelle at the totem poles. The pair then snagged their idols on the beach before their opponents could and moved into first place.
Shortly afterwards, Ken and Yanina ran across the beach and managed to be the first team to make it to the finish line and meet Jenny McCarthy, winning Love in the Wild's second season. Both contestants were clearly ecstatic about their victory and began celebrating together.
"Yeah, this is spectacular!" Ken said.
"I can't believe this. This is amazing. We never would have thought this was going to happen!" Yanina explained. "I had the time of my life. I can't believe we won; I can't believe I met Ken. I can't believe we're doing so well as a couple! I'm definitely looking forward to a good future here with Ken."
"We started this journey together, we're ending it together, we've got a trip around the world to look forward to, and to find a woman like her, it's just the cherry ontop as they say," Ken told Jenny McCarthy.
"Ken and Yanina, did you find love in the wild?" the host asked the strong duo.
"I absolutely found love in the wild!" Ken laughed. "We're certainly in love and we have everything it takes to build a future together and I'm looking forward to really pursuing that."
According to an update featured at the conclusion of Love in the Wild's second-season finale broadcast, Ken and Yanina are still together and happily planning their trip around the world. They both have visited each other often and feel they are destined to be together.
In addition, Ben and Michelle are also still dating and things are going strong between them. Ben has recently spent time with Michelle's family, and she hopes to meet his family in England. The couple also plan to move in together soon.
(Photo credit NBC)
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