The Amazing Race 2017 cast has been announced, and this time, the show’s producers are pulling out a never-before-seen twist: instead of established teams, everyone competing is a stranger! All of the contestants will meet each other for the first time when host Phil Keoghan introduces them at the starting line, and then a quick competition will help determine who gets teamed up.
As anyone who has been watching the hit CBS reality show since the beginning can tell you, teams on The Amazing Race usually consist of pairs with an existing relationship: siblings, for example, or boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, BFF’s. But this season will throw that tradition out the window: instead, the competing teams will be total strangers who meet each other for the first time at the starting line.
— Sam Harris (@SamHarris221) March 17, 2017
The first competition will be a solo competition to determine the order in which contestants get to pick their teammates. They’ll have nothing to go on other than first impressions.
Host Phil Keoghan says it’s a twist that fans have been asking for.
“For years, The Amazing Race fans have suggested we line up complete strangers and match them up at the starting line to see what would happen. These newbie racers begin with no pre-existing relationships or emotional baggage, and the excitement of traveling around the world to complete dozens of gut-busting, mind-blowing challenges quickly ignites tension.”
From there, the newly-created teams will travel nine countries, 17 cities, and 36,000 miles, and challenges will include skydiving in Norway, bungee jumping into an ancient Greek canal, and in a nod to The Amazing Race’s tradition of making the contestants help out locally when they visit impoverished places, deliver desks and school supplies to schoolchildren in Tanzania.
So who are the 22 contestants? According to Parade, they’re a mix of young and old, men and women, from a variety of different backgrounds. They include a couple of police officers, two U.S. military personnel, a butcher, a college student, and more.
Here are the names, ages, hometowns, and jobs of all of The Amazing Race Season 29 contestants.
- Shamir Arzeno, 28, Bronx, New York, banker.
- Logan Bauer, 27, Navarre, Florida, medical sales representative.
- Olive Beauregard, 24, Providence, Rhode Island, firefighter.
- Brooke Cahmi, 26, Lynbrook, New York, attorney.
- Tara Carr, 38, Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. Army officer.
- Joey Covino, 46, Boston, Massachusetts, police officer.
- Becca Droz, 26, Boulder, Colorado, rock climbing instructor.
- Liz Espey, 24, Maryville, Missouri, auctioneer.
- Scott Flanary, 34, Charlotte, North Carolina, university recruiting manager.
- Sara Fowler, 27, Baltimore, Maryland, real estate agent.
- London Kaye, 27, New York, New York, street artist.
- Matt Ladley, 25, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, professional snowboarder.
- Jennifer Lee, 25, Palos Verdes, California, model.
- Kevin Ng, 31, San Diego, California, occupational therapist.
- Francesca Piccoli, 33, Banning, California, U.S. Army.
- Floyd Pierce, 21, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, college student.
- Redmond Ramos, 28, Fremont, California, motivational speaker.
- Michael Rado, 37, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, butcher.
- Jessica Shields, 28, Youngstown, Ohio, police officer.
- Ashton Theiss, 25, Ft. Worth, Texas, real estate agent.
- Seth Tyler, 37, Seattle, Washington, police officer.
- Vanck Zhu, 28, St. Paul, Minnesota, investment researcher.
Are you excited about the crop of Amazing Race 2017 contestants?
Boulder rock climbing instructor Becca Droz — one of three contestants from Colorado — told the Denver Post that she’d always wanted to compete with a family member. But since this season is all about strangers, she figured she’d give it a shot.
— The Amazing Race (@AmazingRaceCBS) March 17, 2017
“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. 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.”
Another contestant is Youngstown, Ohio’s Jessica Shields, 27, who works as a K-9 cop when she’s not competing on The Amazing Race. She tells WKBN that working in the male-dominated police force has made her fearless.
“I consider myself more like the bada** type that’s not afraid of anything. I’ll do the dirty work.”
The Amazing Race 2017 begins Thursday, March 30 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]