CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - "The Amazing Race" on Channel 19 every Thursday at 10 p.m. features a contestant from right here in Northeast Ohio. Jessie Shields is a K-9 officer at the Youngstown Police Department and a former Kent State University basketball player. She was one of 22 vying for a million dollars in a race around the world.
Shields, 26, said she has always been a fan of 'The Amazing Race,' so the chance to travel around the world and compete was the chance of a lifetime.
"I really just thought it would be an awesome experience and it was," she said. The former college basketball player and fitness enthusiast said she admits she's very competitive.
"On a scale of 1-10 I'm an 11. I'm very competitive. I've been competing my whole life. it's what I love to do," Shields said.
She spent some time in a Golden Flashes basketball uniform at Kent State, using her 6 foot 2 frame to take down the competition. She is also currently preparing for her first fitness competition.
She said her physical strength and her willingness to do anything when it comes to heights was a strength during the show. Her experience as a K-9 officer, she said, prepared her for the social aspect of the game.
Shields is sworn to secrecy about how she did on the show until after the finale, but she said she was pleased with her partner and she was gone for 33 days during filming.
"You have to meet people and get along with them within the first couple seconds of knowing them. You have to analyze situations quickly, made quick decisions and you really have to be tough to do the job that I do in the inner city especially," Shields said.
In the end though, she says the social aspect of the game took a toll on her.
"I went into it saying I was going to be tough, that I wasn't going to let my emotions affect me in any way. That I was going to play strategically based on all of the shows that I had watched. But being there was a different story," she said.
Ahead of the race, Shields learned to drive stick shift and watched every episode of all the previous seasons to see where mistakes were made and to pick up strategies.
"Pretty much consistently, if the teams could u turn a strong power team than that was beneficial," said Shields.
While she was gone, she said her K-9 partner, "Hector the Protector," missed her terribly.
"When I got back, I thought he was going to be happy to see me but he had so much anxiety he was very angry with me actually. He didn't give me a warm welcome. He actually barked at me and was pretty mean -- hair standing up," she said.
The two have since made up and are back on the job, protecting the streets of Youngstown. Shields said she is excited to watch the global competition play out on the small screen.
"It will be interesting to see how they portray everybody after getting to know everybody on the show," she said.