MADISON, WIS. (AP) - A Wisconsin couple who appeared on the CBS reality-TV show "The Amazing Race" outlasted 10 other couples to claim top honors and a $1 million grand prize.
On their way to victory, Madison's Dave and Rachel Brown raced across five continents, nine countries and 22 cities. They won in December, but their win was only revealed during Sunday's season finale.
The show pits 11 two-person teams against each other in a trek around the world in which they must overcome a series of physical and mental obstacles.
Some of this season's challenges required strategic thinking and the ability to read terrain, which proved to be an advantage to Army veteran Dave Brown. The former Blackhawk helicopter pilot has a background in military intelligence was also an officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
"This is definitely my element," he remarked when he and his wife boarded a helicopter.
The win was in doubt when the Browns, who are both in their 30s, arrived at the final destination only to be told they had missed an obstacle.
"We thought he was kidding," Dave Brown said. "We were under the impression that there was just one roadblock."
In a bit of good fortune for the two Wisconsin natives, the contest came down to a test of bowling skills. Rachel Brown had to roll a stone down a dirt field into a makeshift goal. After just a few tries she nailed a strike.
"Dave and I were actually in a bowling league at Schwoegler's one year and we were terrible," she said. "We were one of the worst teams in the league."
Other challenges included scaling a 45-story building and rappelling back down, and paddling across a pond while standing on a surf board.
The couple agreed that after being kept apart by Dave's Army deployment and Rachel's frequent travel for her software company job, being able to spend time together was one of the best parts of competing.
"Just being with each other 24-7 was awesome," Dave said.