Durham Warriors Survival Challenge
Leveraging over 25 years of experience working with animals, Josh Ruffell is a Los Angeles-based freelance animal trainer and consultant who has worked on films such as Bad Boys 2, Hidalgo, and Cheaper by the Dozen. From 2005 to 2008, Josh Ruffell served as a wildlife consultant on the CBS show Survivor.
Now in its 34th season, Survivor has developed a large following of fans interested in attempting the team-oriented challenges that those on the show complete. Only a select few each season are chosen to appear on the show’s remote locations around the world, but one former winner of the show, Bob Crowley, allows fans and Survivor alumni the opportunity to compete in similar challenges at his farm in Maine.
Hundreds of fans gather at the farm each year to watch contestants take part in the Durham Warriors Survival Challenge, which raises money for the Durham Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization which provides financial support to military veterans. The four-day event functions the same as Survivor in that, upon losing a challenge, one tribe must vote a member out. Survivor alumni Adam Klein, Susie Smith, and LJ McKanas, among others, attended the 2017 event, which was won by Bethany Sass, a Chicago-based accountant.
Animal Actors Stage
An exotic animal trainer with 20 years of experience, Josh Ruffell formerly served as Assistant Curator at Australia Zoo. Prior to his time in Australia, Josh Ruffell worked at Universal Studios in Japan and California as an animal trainer with the Animal Actors Stage.
In 2001, the long running Animal Actors Stage at Universal Studios Hollywood was re-themed as Animal Planet Live and was promoted as a real-life counterpart to the popular television channel Animal Planet. Renamed Hollywood Animal Actors in 2006 (and now Universal’s Animal Actors), the show has displayed a wide array of animals, including a crane, capuchin monkey, pigs, dogs, cats, rats and a raccoon.
Located on the Upper Lot of Universal Studios Hollywood, Animal Actors features a host of trained animals showing off their skills with the help of their knowledgeable trainers to an audience that is encouraged to participate. As part of the show, the animals reenact scenes from popular animal-centric movies.
Cirque du Soleil
As Curator of Reptiles and Birds at Australia Zoo, Josh Ruffell oversaw a diverse collection of animals both native and foreign to Australia. Outside his professional life, Josh Ruffell enjoys taking in all sorts of shows and entertainment, and is particularly fond of Cirque Du Soleil.
Cirque Du Soleil is teaming with the NFL and the NFL Players Association to create a unique attraction in Times Square that will encompass 40,000 square feet. The four-story installation will be located at 20 Times Square and is slated for a fall 2017 opening.
Among its many features, the attraction will boast a 350 seat theater that will be packed with high-definition screens and geared to give fans a unique multimedia experience. The show, which will be produced with the help of NFL Films, will beckon fans into an immersive experience and draw them into the game’s action, both from the sidelines as well as behind the scenes.
Cirque Du Soleil is working in conjunction with the Witkoff Group, a real estate investment firm, to develop the site. AEG is also a financial partner in the project, which includes several other strategic stakeholders such as the Rockwell Group, a design firm, and the Thinkwell Group production agency.