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The race is over

The race is over


Gay pals John and Scott reminisce about their too-short stay on The Amazing Race 9 after getting eliminated on the first episode

LGBT fans of The Amazing Race got good news and bad news for the show's new season, which premiered February 28. The good news is that after the overpopulated, uninvolving "Family Edition," the Emmy-winning reality show is back to its pulse-pounding, tried-and-true two-person team formula. The bad news is that this season's gay racers, longtime friends John Lowe and Scott Bragington-Smith, were the first team to go. caught up with the amiable pair, who are both single and live in Massachusetts, two days after their elimination episode aired. How did you come to be on The Amazing Race?John: We did an open call at Provincetown during Fourth of July weekend. After that, they asked us to do the tape and callbacks and everything.

The show was auditioning people in P-town over Fourth of July weekend? Sounds like maybe they were shopping for some fun-loving gays. John: Right. [Laughs] I always wanted to be that person, to kind of challenge myself to do all the scary things, so we went for it.

If The Amazing Race were going to stage a Detour challenge in P-town, what would it be? John: You'd have to climb up road ladders attached to the Provincetown monument. Or you'd have to dress up in drag and get a couple dollar tips.

What was the highlight of the experience?John: The helicopter. [In one challenge, teams rode in choppers over Sao Paulo, Brazil.] We told each other before that we would do anything that we wouldn't normally do in our own lives. The second we saw the word helicopter, we were both like, 'We're doing that, we're doing that." Scott: I'd say the same. And John being able to get over his fear of flying and do it was so great.

Before the race, how long had it been since you'd flown, John?John: Eight years. I haven't gone to people's weddings before, and I'd drive to Florida every winter. I'm still afraid of flying, but I think now I'll do it, whereas before I wouldn't.

What's your biggest regret about the race? John: We should have gotten out of the cab earlier and gotten into a different cab. If we had gotten in another cab and the guy had known where that location was, we would have gotten there a lot faster. Scott: I think the real thing that affected us was not being able to speak the language.

What was your biggest fight on the race?John: Scott wanted to stay in the cab and I wanted to get out. The other thing we disagreed on is that I wanted to talk to anyone who would walk by the window of the cab and ask them if they knew how to get there. Scott didn't want to ask everyone that walked by.

At one particularly stressful moment, you imitated Barbara Eden as Jeannie. Is that a longtime in-joke with you two?Scott: Oh, yeah. John: The first time we did it, we were lying on the beach and I wished that a bodybuilder would come to the beach. About five minutes later, this unbelievable, steroid-y bodybuilder came walking over the dunes, and he could have sat anywhere, and he sat next to us.

What was he wearing?John: He wasn't wearing a Speedo. He was wearing a Rock Hudson bathing suit. Scott: A square-cut. John: I didn't care what it was called. I wanted him to take it off. [Laughs]

Did you speak to him?Scott: No, I was too shy. We were in shock that it happened.

Going into the show, did you think about the fact that you'd be representing gay people on TV?John: I think we discussed it, and then we decided we were just going to be ourselves.

What happens to you after you're eliminated?John: Everyone goes to a special secret location and waits, because everyone goes to the finish line.

Is that time at the secret location a fun time?John: It's a roller coaster of emotions, because you got into the race to win, so you have to deal with that on an individual basis, I think.

What teams did you bond with on the race?John: The Frosties, for sure, because we got to spend the most time with them during the race.

Did that one Frostie lady actually pee her pants, as she claimed?Scott: Yeah, she did.

You didn't have to get in the helicopter after her and sit in her pee? Scott: [Laughs] Everyone keeps asking that. John: We were in a different helicopter. Scott: I think she's going to be a spokesperson for Depends now.

Have you gotten recognized on the street yet? John: We got recognized on the streets of Manhattan yesterday, and we had a trucker pull over and yell to us and say that he recognized us.

What did you do to prepare for the race? John: It was all about the backpack. Trying to think of what to put in the backpack. I thought that was the most important thing, and now, looking back, I think it comes more from within yourself. Scott: Spending more time at the gym would have been good. I'd also say, if you were planning on doing it, don't pack that much. You don't need it. And learn more languages.

How did doing the show affect your friendship?John: I think we learned everything there is to learn about each other. Scott: Overall, it was a good thing.

What about the experience was different than you thought it would be? Scott: I thought that the pit stop was going to be the Hotel Unique. When we got there and found out there was more, I was totally unprepared for this never-ending situation. John: I never thought of the other teams revolving around us as we were doing things so mentally I wasn't prepared for how that would kind of frazzle me. I just kind of thought it would be Scott and me racing along.

What's your favorite souvenir from the race?Scott: I got like little shells, little pieces of buildings, little things like that that I found along the way. I really made it a point to try and take in everything that I could. John: My favorite souvenir is knowing that the strength in my life comes from myself and not anything outside of myself. It's not what kind of car you drive or any of that stuff.

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