YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown native Jessica Shields made her debut Thursday night on CBS’s Amazing Race.
The show is on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on WKBN 27. Shields will join WKBN 27 First News This Morning every Thursday to preview that night’s episode.
She is one of 22 competing in the race around the world. Other contestants include an Army Drill Sergeant, a professional snowboarder and a Wall Street banker.
Shields has traveled to nine countries and 17 cities, spanning 36,000 miles for the show’s production. She’s never traveled internationally before and said navigating the airports and transportation were a challenge and a new experience for her.
“This was a brand new experience. That’s why it was one of my goals because you get to travel the world and see a million different countries,” Shields said.
Shields said her training as a K-9 officer for the Youngstown Police Department and years playing college basketball helped strengthen her for the physical challenges of the show but nothing could have prepared her for the mental challenges.
“Mentally is where I think I didn’t prepare enough. The lack of food, lack of sleep, different cultures and languages, getting to know someone else under a stressful situation like that and be able to work well with them. But I adapted and I had a great time, and it was a once in a lifetime experience,” Shields said.
Now, it’s back to work for the Amazing Race star. Shields is back to work at the Youngstown Police Department. She said everyone welcomed her and she is even back in good graces with her K-9 Hector, who wasn’t so happy about her absence.
“It was amazing going back to work. The guys on the police department are my brothers. I love them and they love me. Hector was very happy to see me after our first encounter – he was a little bit angry, but after about 10 or 15 minutes, he warmed up to me.” Shields said.
Shields said she bonded with fellow contestants and keeps in touch through text messages. Her group is meeting up next week in Dallas, Texas to watch the second episode together.
She attended a watch party Thursday night at O’Donold’s Pub in downtown Youngstown.