As a documentary series living up to its title in every way imaginable, Netflix’s ‘Muscles & Mayhem: An Unauthorized Story of American Gladiators’ can only be described as perfectly intriguing. That’s because it incorporates not just archival footage but also exclusive interviews with key individuals to really shine a light upon the rise and fall of the classic game show ‘American Gladiators.’ Amongst those to feature here to help move the narrative along was actually once contender Elden Kidd — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about him, we’ve got the details for you.
Who is Elden Kidd?
Although Riverside, California, native Elden always came across as an extremely clean-cut Mormon family man in the 1980s as well as the 1990s, his reality was reportedly much, much different. The truth is he had inadvertently given the world a glimpse of it through his stint in the celebrated competition series as the oldest yet meanest opponent, yet it was all chalked up to adrenaline. Another aspect was that the 36-year-old Adventure Travel Guide married father of five had only tried out for this proto-reality original at the behest of his own father when he was short of cash.
“[The Gladiators] were big and strong weightlifters,” Elden conceded in the documentary production. “I had never really been to a gym or had that kind of background… [But] if you go back and look at it, I dominated pretty much every event.” He did admittedly cheat by throwing out his forearm in a match or two to gain an advantage against his rivals to reach the finals, yet he, unfortunately, couldn’t make it to the very top. The reason — he claims there was producer engineering when it came to The Eliminator’s penalty rules since he was tired and had refused to battle the last season’s winner if he won.
Yet this decision seemingly didn’t bother Elden too much since he already had his own matters to handle, including his operation of smuggling people into the US through Texas or Arizona borders. He’d actually begun this in 1989, just to soon start charging $1,800 a head for Mexicans and $5,000 for Chinese immigrants, all the while keeping the cost for children free as he merely wanted them to have a better life. However, in a twisted turn of events, he was eventually apprehended by the Mexican authorities in the fall of 1994 for smuggling — marijuana — for which he spent 18 months in a local jail.
Where is Elden Kidd Now?
According to reports, Elden was transferred to the low-security La Tuna federal prison in Texas in February 1996 under a US treaty with Mexico to allow offenders to serve time in their homeland. He was thus allowed to finally have calls/visitations from family too, that is, until he was released a mere eight months later under the stipulation of three years probation, only to soon return to his old ways. It was then in February 2001 that he was actually caught smuggling people alongside his partner Tim Burras ton, just for them both to ultimately receive three years on probation in exchange for their ring’s information.
As per Elden’s own account, he subsequently began being contacted by the Department of Homeland Security for direct information regarding the expansive smuggling group he was a part of. But alas, since his connections quickly dried up, the last time authorities directly approached him for help was in 2008, meaning he has since been building a new life in Cupertino, California. In fact, from what we can tell, the now 69-year-old primarily prefers to remain on the down low alongside his second wife, their blended-blood families, as well as their grandkids — though he does have a podcast called ‘American Coyote.’