Wednesday, 29 May 2024

The Amazing Race Recap: Let’s Dive In

Hi there! Welcome to the exciting world of The USA Volleyball The Amazing Race Recap. I’m B.J. Hoeptner Evans, USAV Communications Manager, and I’m thrilled to embark on this journey with you.

In this edition of TAR, the USAV beach and snow volleyball team, Maddison and Riley McKibbin, are competing. It’s remarkable how they’ve managed to keep their performance a secret all this time.

Confession time: I’ve never actually watched The Amazing Race before, so I’m coming into this with fresh eyes. Reality TV isn’t my usual go-to, but I did follow Dancing with the Stars when Misty May-Treanor was on it—what a season that was!

As we kick off the episode, we learn that The Amazing Race has covered a whopping one million miles over the years. That’s quite an accomplishment. The teams gather at the Hollywood Bowl, brimming with excitement and ready to take on the challenge. The McKibbins, sporting vibrant yellow adidas shirts, stand out from the crowd.

Let’s meet some of the teams up close. First, we have retired NFL players Gary Barnidge and DeAngelo Williams. Both donning grey sweatshirts, Gary’s says “Sugar” and DeAngelo’s says “Cinnamon.” Their competitive spirit is evident from the get-go, with DeAngelo boldly stating, “Everything we do is about winning.”

Sisters Kaylynn and Haley Williams are the next team to be introduced. Despite their youth, they shouldn’t be underestimated. They both moved away from home at a young age, proving they’re from the school of hard knocks.

Alana Folsom and Leo Brown, who met on Tinder just ten months ago, form an interesting duo. They may not have coordinated their outfits, with Alana in a green tank top and Leo in a grey t-shirt (although his shorts match her top), but they proudly embrace their “nerdy” side. Both holding Masters degrees and sporting glasses, they’re ready to prove that intellect can go hand in hand with physical endurance.

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Now that we’ve met a few teams, it’s time for the official reveal. Host Phil Keoghan asks the teams whom they think are the ones to beat. Maddison confidently points to Team NFL, suggesting they start with them. However, Phil reminds everyone that The Amazing Race isn’t solely about fitness and strength—there’s much more to it.

The teams receive their initial clues atop their backpacks, and it’s off to the Los Angeles airport in a cab. The destination? Trinidad. But before they can reach the Caribbean island, they must make a pit stop at the 24-hour fruit stand in St. Augustine.

As the teams rush to find cabs and navigate the airport, we get a glimpse of their diverse backgrounds. Jerry Lee Eaves, a basketball coach, and his luxury car salesman son, Frank, are among the competitors. Sisters Michelle and Victoria Newland, proud Cajun Asians from Louisiana, share a heartfelt moment about their bond.

Eventually, it’s time to roll out barrels—literally. The teams must roll oil drums down the streets of Trinidad to a Saturday-night street party. Their next clue awaits, courtesy of the enigmatic Midnight Robber, a flamboyantly dressed figure with a hat adorned with fringe and sparkly skulls.

The Midnight Robber holds the tickets to the teams’ next destination—Tobago. The first seven teams to retrieve their tickets will secure an early departure, leaving the remaining four behind.

As the teams navigate the streets, some struggling to perfect their rolling technique, we get a glimpse of their dynamics. Maddison offers constructive criticism to Riley while rolling barrels, and Riley laments that they’ve overpacked and their backs are feeling the strain.

Meanwhile, the trailing teams continue their journey in taxis. We’re introduced to Aparna and Eswar Dhinakaran, a brother-sister duo, who find themselves in last place due to the chaos at the front of the pack. As software engineers from UC Berkeley, they pride themselves on their intelligence.

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After the suspenseful barrel-rolling challenge, the first flight to Tobago takes off, carrying the seven leading teams. In Tobago, they head to Swallows Beach, where they’re greeted by a familiar sight reminiscent of the shores of Oahu. But before we delve further into their adventures, let’s take a closer look at Maddison and Riley.

Maddison and Riley McKibbin, professional volleyball players, share a heartwarming backstory. We sneak a peek at their childhood photos and learn that they decided to grow their beards during their time playing volleyball in Greece—a choice their mom seemingly approves of.

Now it’s time for the next clue, which the teams receive from boat captains. They’re directed to the Nylon Pools, where swimming is rumored to grant everlasting youth and virility. The catch? Each team must find a painted wooden fish among 125 unique ones floating in the pools. To unlock the fish, they must recall the four-number combination they saw on the boat.

As the teams dart between fish and boats, we catch glimpses of their pastime hobbies. Team NFL shares their love for cosplay, displaying awe-inspiring costumes from Alien vs. Predator. Team Catfish showcases their affinity for “noodling,” a unique fishing technique involving hands and catfish.

Back on the first flight to Tobago, the teams strive to find their fish and crack the combination. Kellie of Team Hurdlers, who happens to be dyslexic, faces a challenge inserting the combination correctly. Meanwhile, the tension builds as other teams make progress.

Successfully unlocking their fish, The Beard Bros. secure third place. Team Basketball and The Boyfriends aren’t far behind, racing to catch up.

Amidst the fish hunt, we discover that Kellie and LaVonne, both Olympic hurdlers, competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Kellie won a bronze medal, and LaVonne was her steadfast supporter. The bond between these teammates is unbreakable.

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The Asian Cajuns and The Beard Bros. move on to the next challenge: “Who can steel the show?” This task requires one team member to learn how to play parts of the song “Day-O” on the steelpan, Trinidad & Tobago’s national instrument.

As the teams join the line for their turn at the steelpan, the competitive spirit intensifies. Hung Nguyen, competing with his wife Chee Lee, becomes the first to master the song. With a touch of humor, he attributes his skill to years of piano lessons.

Maddison, the chosen McKibbin, faces setbacks but remains determined. The race becomes a battle of wills as the teams strive to move forward.

In the end, Team Catfish finishes last and is eliminated from the competition. Despite their disappointment, their spirits remain high, grateful for the enduring friendship they’ve forged. It’s a bittersweet moment as we bid them farewell.

Stay tuned for more thrilling adventures next week!


Q: How many teams are competing in this edition of The Amazing Race?
A: There are a total of eleven teams competing in this edition.

Q: Who are Maddison and Riley McKibbin?
A: Maddison and Riley McKibbin are professional beach and snow volleyball players representing the USAV team.

Q: What is the significance of the Midnight Robber?
A: The Midnight Robber is an intriguing character who holds the tickets to the teams’ next destination in Tobago.


The first leg of The Amazing Race takes us on a thrilling journey from Los Angeles to Trinidad and Tobago. We’ve witnessed the teams’ determination, camaraderie, and occasional setbacks. As the competition heats up, the remaining teams prepare to tackle new challenges in Bogota, Colombia. Stay tuned for more action-packed episodes as we follow their quest towards victory.

Remember to visit Alpinetgheep for more exciting updates and expert insights on The Amazing Race and other thrilling adventures.