Mike Wiles not only plays in caves. He also works in one. Wiles is an employee at Jewel Cave National Monument about 13 miles west of Custer.
He's given credit for helping explore the cave and moving its ranking from the world's fourth-longest to the second-longest. Jewel Cave is 140-miles-long.
Wiles attributes his win to the more than 100 other cavers who have helped him, and to his commitment to go where few others will. For example, he recently lost 15 pounds so he could squeeze through narrow passages.
Overview of past winners on the NSS website.