Three Coloradans compete in “The Amazing Race”
“The Amazing Race,” the venerable reality show that pits two-person teams against each other in a global dash for $1 million in prize money, returns March 30 with a trio of Colorado contestants.
Boulder rock climbing instructor Becca Droz, University of Colorado drum major Floyd Pierce and Denver-based professional snowboarder Matt Ladley will represent the Centennial State in the 29th season of the Emmywinning show — which starts with a twist this year.
None of the 22 contestants know each other, breaking with the show’s tradition of family-andfriends teams competing against one another. Contestants will instead be paired after completing a challenge to decide the order for picking a teammate, based on nothing but first impressions, according to CBS.
That’s not necessarily a reason to panic, said the Colorado contestants.
“I was definitely surprised to hear of the twist, but I was actually in some ways relieved because my ultimate dream was to be on the show with my big brother David,” wrote Droz via email. “But after spending a couple trips with him I learned that my best self doesn’t come out with family, so I was excited to travel the world with a new friend.”
Living in Colorado, with its diverse geography and thin air, gives our home-state representatives an advantage, Boulder student Pierce said.
“That makes us better runners,” he wrote via e-mail this week. “Also, Colorado people are the most outdoorsy and adventurous types of people.”
Pierce has been a fan of “The Amazing Race” since sixth grade — when his elementary school held an “Amazing Race”-themed map race.
“We had to go up and down our halls and find clues,” wrote the Highlands Ranch native. “After that, I looked into going on the show, but it was hard because I had to wait nine years. When I turned 21, I immediately tried to get on the show.”
It’s a similar situation with Droz, whose longtime fandom brings into relief the show’s impressive longevity. Droz believes her love of rock climbing and skiing — as well as being “a total goofball” who beat-boxes and freestyle raps — will serve her well in the emotionally grueling competition.
This year’s season covers 17 cities in nine countries for a total of 36,000 miles traveled, including stops in Panama City (the very first destination), Tanzania, Norway and Greece, according to CBS.
“I saw my first episode when I was 11 years old,” Droz told The Denver Post. “I created my dream, then and there that I was going to be on (the show). It wasn’t even a question on my mind if I was suited for this. I was immediately drawn to traveling and doing challenges around the world and getting new experiences.”
Producers have held auditions for the show in Denver for at least the last three years, including at the former Sports Authority location downtown in January 2016.
Unsurprisingly, this year’s contestants are not the first from Colorado. Most recently, motherson team Margie O’Donnell and Luke Adams competed in 2014’s AllStar challenges, following memorable appearances in Seasons 14 and 18.
Colorado roller-derby moms Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere also finished in a hard-won third place in 2013.
Anyone rooting for Colorado’s Pierce, Droz or Ladley can tune in at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 30, on KCNC-Channel 4 for this season’s premiere.
The cast of Season 29 of the CBS series “The Amazing Race” includes three Colorado contestants — two from Boulder and one from Denver. In the bottom row are Floyd Pierce (second from left), Matt Ladley (backward baseball cap) and Becca Droz (second from right). Photos provided by CBS Broadcasting Inc.
Pro snowboarder Matt Ladley is based in Denver.
Boulder climbing instructor Becca Droz.
University of Colorado drum major Floyd Pierce.