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Home | Race Experience | Racer Recap

Amazing Racers


‘Third Time’s the Charm’ in 2016 MOST Amazing Race

2016 Racers are off and running

The third time really was the charm. Kelly Boler and Justin Bakken predicted it when they chose that very name for their team, as they prepared to run The MOST Amazing Race for the third time. The pair not only won, they came in more than twenty minutes ahead of their closest competitors, finishing in 3 hours, 9 minutes and thirteen seconds. (View race photos and team photos.)

“It was a lot of running, but it was really, really fun,” Bakken said.

Team “The Third Time’s the Charm” won the grand prize of $5,000, courtesy of presenting sponsor Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge. But in spite of their sizable lead over the rest of the pack, they knew better than to relax during the race.

“You can never get too comfortable,” Boler explained. “You’re one missed bus or sticky challenge away from going from first place to last.” (View all results.)

Changing it up

The MOST Amazing Race shook things up this year. The venue jumped from Minneapolis to St. Paul for the first time, moved from July to September, and eliminated the qualifying round in the morning.

Racers run through a field“Our idea was to make it possible for all the teams to run the actual race,” said event manager Julie Orlando. “This year, the only way to qualify was to raise enough money for Salvation Army food and housing programs.”

The race was divided into two groups: 34 teams in the Gold division raised a minimum of $500 for a chance to compete for the $5,000 grand prize. Another 32 teams in the Silver division raised a minimum of $250 and were in it for fun, as well as some other great prizes.

Some teams went way beyond the fundraising minimum. Team “Flying Turtles” raised $4,910. They won a $1,000 gift card to Cub Foods, which they generously donated back to The Salvation Army. They edged out last year’s top fundraisers, Adventure Guys, who raised $3,880.

“All the teams have done a phenomenal job of fundraising,” Orlando said. “With fewer teams this year, racers collected donations of close to $52,000.”

Silver division winners

Team “Cobras” won the Silver division, finishing the race in 5 hours, two minutes and forty-two seconds.

Winners of Silver division“We ran something like 14 miles,” said Sean Greenlee, checking his pedometer. “It was a good course, so much fun.”

He and his race partner, Aaron Mehsikomer, said while they enjoyed last year’s qualifying round, they didn’t make it past that level. So they loved getting to run the entire race this year.

“It was great,” Mehsikomer said. “We will definitely be back.”

They both will take home a premium queen mattress set, courtesy of Mattress Firm, valued at $2,800 each.



Amanda Brinkman during last year's race

Team Cobras run to the finish line crowning them Silver Division champs!

Jeremy and Kelly Gavin

Teams played bean bag toss with pillows and giant boards courtesy of MattressFirm.

Darik and Tara Steinbach

The Flying Turtles were this year's fundraising champs -- can you tell they had fun?


Prizes for top finishers

The top finishers in both divisions chose from an array of great prizes, including:

  • Two tickets to see Carrie Underwood in concert, courtesy of iHeart Radio.
  • Two more premium mattresses, courtesy of Mattress Firm ($2,700 value).
  • Official practice gear and autographed photos from the Minnesota Vikings.
  • AT&T provided multiple prize packs, including a Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet; a Microsoft Lumia 950; two new LG G4 cell phones; a Mini Jambox wireless Bluetooth speaker; and a LG Tone Ultra wireless headset.
  • Prize bags and autographed hats from the Minnesota Wild.
  • Eduardo Escobar autographed baseballs from the Minnesota Twins.
  • A Warner’s Stellian prize pack filled with a soft insulated cooler, cutting boards and grilling tools.

Race details

The 2016 MOST Amazing Race sent the teams all around St. Paul using only their feet or Metro Transit to complete 22 mental and physical challenges.

Race challenges included:

  • Finding a pumpkin in the woods, and "thawing" a frozen (toy) turkey by removing the ice around it.
  • Transporting a half-gallon of Chick-fil-A sweet tea across a field, using nothing but your hands, mouth or various utensils provided.
  • A Snapchat challenge inside the Como Zoo.
  • Memorizing facts about Booth Brown House and competing in a giant pillow toss, with Mattress Firm pillows.
  • Picking up a veil and top hat at The Wedding Shoppe to start their 4-part mock wedding segment.
  • Eating through a cup of Grand Ole Creamery ice cream no hands or spoons allowed to find two "wedding" rings.
  • Memorizing mock wedding vows and reciting them for judges at 701 Summit Ave, a historic Clarence Johnston mansion.
  • A "Name that Tune" challenge and feeding each other cake for a mock wedding reception at Best Western Plus-Capitol Ridge.
  • The Saint Paul Fire Department challenged racers to pull heavy fire hoses and perform other tasks with their official gear.
  • The Minnesota Wild put everybody to the test in a puck handling contest at the Xcel Energy Center.
  • Completing a giant crossword puzzle, after gathering clues in various rooms at the W. 7th St. Salvation Army.
  • One team member had to dive for clues at the Great River Water Park, gathering the combination to unlock their partner from a railing there.
  • Acting in a 30-second DIRECTV commercial at the AT&T store on University Ave., which had to include four points and end with "Go Vikings!"
  • The final challenge ended back at the starting line at Como Park, with teams playing knockerball on the field, before jumping over the finish line.


Amanda Brinkman during last year's race

Racers tested their skills at the fire station as they pulled the giant hoses dressed in gear.

Jeremy and Kelly Gavin

Gold Division winners "Third Time's a Charm" show off their winnings. Great team work, Kelly and Justin!

Darik and Tara Steinbach

Teams gulp sweet tea for the first challenge of the race.


Amazing Fundraising

The MOST Amazing Race was the brainchild of event planner Julie Orlando with the Twin Cities Salvation Army. Over the last decade, the race has raised over $680,000 for food and housing programs in the metro area.

MOST Amazing Race medalsIt’s also inspired other Salvation Army divisions around the country to jump on board, with nearly ten other cities now holding races of their own.

“It’s amazing to see how this event has grown,” Orlando said. “It’s overwhelming to know that what started as my fun idea is now an event bringing in new volunteers, donors and fans of The Salvation Army around the United States. At the end of the day, that is what it’s all about.”