Floyd Pierce rushes into a downtown Denver restaurant for lunch, frenzied and apologizing for being late—on his way he was stopped by an excited fan who begged to take a photo with the reality TV star.
Despite earning the moniker of “fan favorite” and a being a member of “Team Fun,” Floyd is still getting used to his newfound fame.
“It’s been crazy to watch myself on TV,” said Floyd. “It took about three weeks to get used to it, but by then strangers started recognizing me and even stopping me while shopping at Target.”
Two months ago, the 29th season of the CBS show The Amazing Race was about to air, and we had a chance to chat with Floyd, a 2013 scholar and one of 22 competitors on the show. At the time, Floyd had completed filming but was not allowed to discuss many of the details, including who his partner was, where he traveled and how far he made it in the race.
Finally, the show has finished airing, and Floyd, now a pro at world travel, can talk freely about his experience, his partner, being a fan favorite and the devastating episode in which he was eliminated.
Floyd has been surprised to hear how many fans he has, but early on, he and his partner, Becca, established themselves as one of the most likeable and competitive teams.
This season of The Amazing Race was the first in which partners were assigned at the starting line, so Floyd had no idea who he might end up with, which is why he feels lucky to have found the “perfect” partner.
“My first impression of Becca was that she seemed fun and looked like a stereotypical Boulder hippie,” Floyd remembered. “But when we took our first taxi together to the Los Angeles airport, I knew we had something special.”
It was quickly clear that Floyd and Becca were well-matched, assuming the title of #TeamFun. Not only did they encourage each other to slow down and appreciate the race, but they also pushed each other to keep a sense of humor.
“A year ago today we were strangers, and now she’s my best friend,” Floyd said.
Even though there were dramatic moments and the teams were racing against each other for the $1 million prize, Floyd had nothing bad to say about his competitors. In fact, the group of 22 became very close and have since traveled to Las Vegas and LA together, with more trips planned in the future.
While on the race, Floyd and Becca made it to the top five, visiting a variety of countries and often leading the pack.
“Norway was my favorite,” Floyd said. “It’s unreal how beautiful it is—straight out of a fairy tale.” He also enjoyed skydiving, drumming with a samba band in Brazil, building desks for school children in Tanzania and running through the streets with a giant ladder, clogging up traffic in Vietnam.
Speaking of Vietnam—that was the final country Floyd and his partner visited before being eliminated in what was considered a heartbreaking episode.
Becca and Floyd were first out of five when they began that fateful challenge in Vietnam, in which Floyd had to bike one mile carrying more than 120 large, wicker shrimp traps.
Floyd experienced several setbacks during that challenge, including suffering from severe heat stroke. What viewers did not see is that after attempting to complete the challenge three times, the heat stroke caused Floyd to hallucinate, at which point the paramedics stepped in and Floyd and Becca were eliminated.
“Going into Vietnam, Becca and I were so used to being in the front of the pack,” Floyd said. “After arriving at the challenge first, I got too focused on beating Matt [who arrived second], when I should have just worried about taking my time and beating the other teams further behind us. I also regret not trying to ride the bike more, and instead walking with it, which took more effort.”
And yet, Floyd hopes to one day return to Vietnam, and try again to successfully bike with shrimp traps in one try.
In addition to his unshakable perseverance, Floyd became more confident during the race. He also learned something about his leadership—that you need to know when to step up and when to follow, and you don’t always have the luxury of time.
Back in Denver, Floyd recently graduated from the University of Colorado and started working as a recruiter at Insight Global, a s staffing services company.
In the future, Floyd hopes to continue embracing surprises and opportunities as they arise.
As we finish lunch and discuss what lies ahead, Floyd smiles and says “Becca and I would definitely compete in The Amazing Race again if offered the opportunity to return.” Who knows, perhaps these fan favorites will be returning to primetime one day?