Bellevue Police officer takes on ‘The Amazing Race’

Bellevue Police officer Seth Tyler will be running across your televisions later this month as a contestant in the latest season of CBS’s “Amazing Race.”

Tyler, 37, is the public information officer for the department, and his quest to get on the race actually started several years ago.

“I applied with my brother, who is a firefighter in the Portland area,” he said. “But that was the season of the blind date twist, so they didn’t use us. A year later I got a call, kind of out of the blue, and they asked if I would want to run the race myself.”

This year’s twist, during the show’s 29th season, is that each contestant was paired up with a stranger the day the race started. The “Amazing Race” is a reality television show in which 11 teams of two people travel around the world completing physical and mental challenges in stunning locales. Teams are eliminated, there are special challenges that grant privileges and it rewards worldly knowledge. The show was taped last summer.

“It was exciting and nerve-wracking,” Tyler said. “I know my brother, his strengths and weaknesses, so getting a stranger as a partner offered a whole different side of the show.”

Tyler said he hoped for someone who had served in the military or had been a police officer, firefighter or some other public service employment.

“Those types of folks know how to follow orders without questioning them,” he said. “There are always challenges where you are asked to do something you’ve never done before.”

Tyler said that his training to become a motorcycle officer helped him with that aspect. The training for that is a three-week course and then one chance to pass. If you don’t pass, tough luck. High-pressure challenges are right in his wheelhouse.

Even so, Tyler admits that he’s a terrible dancer, and knows that there is typically a dance-related challenge on the race. Often, teams on the show are allowed to choose between two challenges.

According to his cast biography on CBS.com, his greatest fear before taping the show was “traveling to a place where I don’t speak the language.” Although he said locals were almost unanimously friendly and helpful, even with a camera crew shoving equipment in their faces.

Contestants started this year’s season in Panama City, but traveled to Tanzania, Norway and Greece as well on the challenge around the world. The show will cover nine countries, 17 cities and more than 36,000 miles.

For obvious reasons, Tyler couldn’t say who his partner was or how far in the race he had gotten, but did talk about the “amazing” people he competed against and with.

“I’ve made lifelong friends from around the country,” he said. “I’ve already taken a few international trips to go back to see some of the places we raced in. We are running through these beautiful, interesting locations but we don’t have time to stop and appreciate them.”

To train for the show, Tyler kept up his usual level of cardio and weightlifting, but also tried to memorize the location of every country on earth along with its flag and capital.

And just so there’s no hard feelings between his brother and himself, the Tyler family is taking an international vacation of their own this summer.

The Amazing Race premieres at 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 on CBS.

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