Tyler and James, the latest winners of ''The Amazing Race,'' tell all about money, Rob and Kimberly, and the scariest challenge

By Jessica Shaw
Updated December 11, 2006 at 12:00 PM EST
Credit: Tyler and James: Robert Voets/CBS
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As far as I see it, there was really only one team to root for in the season finale of The Amazing Race. The bickering, ultra-bitter couple Rob and Kimberly were hardly worth even caring about, especially after Rob melted down about not being able to jump out of a plane. And the ‘Bama moms showed heart in those last few legs, but they also seemed to have a less than stellar attitude during the race. So it was all about cheering for models Tyler and James, who ultimately crossed the finish line first. After a night of hanging out with friends and taking congratulatory phone calls, the boy millionaires called EW to discuss how they almost lost and what they’re doing with their new cash.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was there any point during the last leg of the competition when you knew you were going to win?

Tyler: I don’t think we ever really felt like we had it locked in the bag at any point. We just tried to take it one step at a time, one day at a time, one leg at a time. Once we got to the final three, we felt like we really might have had a really good shot of winning it. We didn’t feel like the other two competitors could keep up if there was any kind of physical challenge we had to do.

It seems that if you two hadn’t made that early flight, you would have lost, and it really would only have been one team racing.

James: Yeah, we really thought we had the advantage as far as physical aspects and the tasks ahead. But there weren’t too many physical tasks in the last leg. It came down to the flight. The second ‘Bama didn’t get that flight, they had no shot. It was so down to the wire. Our flight was supposed to leave in 15 minutes. We got the last seats on the plane.

When you watched the finale, were you annoyed that Rob and Kimberly thought to get a manager to clear them?

Tyler: We didn’t know Rob and Kim got in touch with the manager and got locked-in seats. That was really good for them that they did that. We didn’t think that there was any possibility because of what we were being told. There were like 30 people on the waiting list. There’s no way anybody was going to get onto that flight.

A lot of people really didn’t like Rob and Kimberly, and yet you guys seemed to bond with them. Is there something more than what we all saw?

Tyler: They’re great people. The public only gets to see what they get edited as. We bonded with them from the second leg. They are really fun people to hang out with, but America didn’t like them.

James: Yeah, we bonded with them when we were traveling to Mongolia. We always said, ”Let’s get to the final three, help each other out, and then once we get there, all bets are off.”

Did you not see them yelling at each other all the time?

James: We would see that from time to time. But we were so focused on running our own race that we didn’t see them in cabs and stuff. We weren’t necessarily with them throughout the race.

You’re right that on all reality shows the producers seem to edit people to create characters, and maybe they overplayed Rob and Kim’s bad sides. What do you think about how you were portrayed?

Tyler: We’re pretty laid-back but took the race as seriously as we could. We have a realistic grasp on what our reality is, and we have gratitude toward life in general. This is just the gravy on top. We just tried to enjoy the moments when we were there.

James: We are jokesters and we have interesting senses of humor. Sometimes it got lost or people didn’t get it. A lot of it gets edited out sometimes.

So what was your night like last night?

Tyler: My phone pretty much exploded at midnight. Most of our friends and families are in Los Angeles, so we got a lot of phone calls. People were really happy for us and thought we deserved it because we’re good guys.

NEXT: Inter-team relationships and money matters

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The Amazing Race

Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.
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