Thursday, February 9, 2012

18 of 30: The Gorilla Challenge - A Sneak Peek Of The Amazing Race

My friend, N, is a passionate Amazing Race fan.
One day, he asked if I would apply to join the race with him – and I happily agreed! He said he’s tried out several times before with different partners, but he never got a callback. I said maybe he was just with the wrong partners! Maybe this time, with me in the picture – it’ll work! He loved my optimism! We both had a good feeling about this!

I’ve only ever seen a few episodes of The Amazing race… N is the diehard fan. But I’m pretty headstrong, active, and fearless. I think I could do anything that show would throw at me… except maybe cut my hair.
N ordered me to DVR all the episodes of the current season so I could catch up, and I did! Piece of CAKE.

A few weeks later, N and I had the opportunity to test our skills, AND our partnership through The Gorilla Challenge! It’s basically a short local version of The Amazing Race in Long Beach. They ask for contestants to run around town finding clues, completing challenges, and the first team to finish 10 out of 12 of them wins! It was PERFECT!

I’ll let the Gorilla Challenge peeps explain this thing for you…

Gorilla Challenge is an “Amazing Race” style event, combined with “Fear Factor’” and the  ”American Idol” where you and your team race to solve clues around the city, taking pictures in silly to crazy poses, completing fun/difficult/gross activities, hoping you either get the grand prize or at least mini prizes along the way, and having loads of fun!

You’re given a card filled with clues pointing in different directions within a 3 to 5 mile radius. Once you get to a location, you’ll find an additional slip with instructions on what to do next with your camera. It could be anything ranging from taking a simple picture with the object, singing for someone, putting together a mini-puzzle, dipping your hand in something disgusting to look for a clue or just making funny faces.
You’ll have as much time as you need to get to 10 out of the 12 clues, with a couple of clues containing tickets to redeem for an Amazon Gift Certificate, and other gift certificates to local restaurants and retailers.
Once you’ve picked up your 10 clues, you head back to the start location to win the finishing prize, redeem a ticket, or get a nice pat on the back and enjoy the live entertainment and food and beverage specials!
Gorilla Challenge is open to persons of all ages, with the exception of Goa’uld, members of the Dark Side, Borg’s, and Zombies. Jedi Knights are welcome.

Doesn’t that sound really cool and awesome? I was pumped! Oh, and did I mention that "Costumes are Encouraged?" :)

We had a slight advantage because N is from Long Beach, so he knew all the locations. Plus there were only two of us – and a group is easier to manage with less people. There were other teams with about 8 to 10 people… I could only imagine the kind of drama they had to put up with. Haha!

Anyway, we headed out to the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery on Pine St bright and early. We registered, and found out we were one of 70 teams joining that day. Pretty hard core.
I’m competitive. We all know this about me. BUT… on this particular occasion where N and I were just ‘warming up’ for the real thing, we decided not to put too much pressure on ourselves and just have fun and do the best we can. We both agreed he should be the team leader since he’s done this sort of race before. Team leaders get handed the first 6 clues. Completing one of those challenges (it didn’t say which one) will lead us to the next set of clues – 6 to 12! Since the challenges/clues didn’t have to be completed in any sort of order, we had to be smart about which ones to accomplish first.

And before we knew it, the gun went off and the race had started!

We just went with a black and orange theme.

N was very methodical about these things, so while the rest of the world started sprinting around Long Beach going stircrazy over the clues, N and I found a nice comfortable place to sit down and analyze the clues one by one. The clues were riddles that pointed us to the location where we were to accomplish our challenges. Riddles that took us about 5 to 10 minutes to crack… they were actually pretty good! One of them said something like – “The first word is a President that dealt with logs and the emancipation proclamation...” Pretty funny, eh?

So there we were, solving the riddles, figuring out what to do first with the help of our Long Beach Map. It was a really good method, considering the fact that we were dealing with a 5 mile radius, and running back and forth not knowing where to go first would’ve been a nightmare.

I don’t remember everything that we did, but I’ll enumerate the ones I do…

1. At Lincoln Park, the challenge was to jumprope together, while singing the Star Spangled Banner. (After we did this, we unlocked clues 6 – 8! YES!)
2. Find an out of towner who comes from a State that starts with the letter “N” --- so Nevada, Nebrasca, North Dakota, etc… Take a picture of them holding out their ID as proof, and pose like Charlie’s Angels!(We found a tourist from Nevada!!)
3. The Fear Factor Challenge – spray blood on your partner’s mouth, and they in turn would spit it into this small cup. Fill it up to the brim and you complete the challenge! (I sprayed, he spit!)
4. Pose in the most dramatic and theatrical fashion in front of the Long Beach Theater
5. Take a photo with police officers, shaking their hand, thanking them for what they do for the city.
6. Solve a Riddle that will lead you to an Elementary School, and take a photo of yourselves pretending to be a teacher and a group of kids taking  a class picture.

The Dramatic Pose

Our Good Samaritan from Nevada

The Class Picture!

My favorite was the last challenge we did. We were to pick one person in the team to assemble a jigsaw puzzle – blindfolded! And the other guides them by telling them what to do, hands tied behind their back. I was the blindfolded one, and N was “the voice”. This was the true test of our partnership, I thought. N knew exactly what to say to make me reach for the exact puzzle piece, to put exactly in its place. I thought he gave GREAT direction, and he said he was amazed at how awesome I was at doing exactly what he said.
We finished the puzzle first, and the gorilla people were amazed! So were we!!

We were pretty happy with what we had accomplished, especially since we weren’t really “in it to win it” at that point. We just wanted to get our feet wet and have fun!
Which is why when we found out that we finished 7th out of 70 teams – we were over the moon! 7th out of 70 --- and we weren’t even trying? That was freakin awesome!

We gathered back at the restaurant and got something to eat while waiting for the rest to finish the challenges. Our legs were sore, but our hearts were soaring! We did a really good job and we both could not wait for The Amazing Race!