While Survivor All-Stars alumna Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich used their clout to navigate their way through the two-hour premiere of The Amazing Race's seventh season, South Carolina best friends Ryan Phillips, 31, and Chuck Horton, 32, relied on their foreign-language skills to stay competitive in Peru. But on their first challenge – herding llamas – the longtime pals moved too slowly and lost the foot race to the first pit stop. Phillips, a general contractor from Landrum, and Horton, a salesman from Inman, spoke to PEOPLE about their once-in-a-lifetime experience and their 15 minutes of fame.
I know you were the first to go, but how did you think it all went? Chuck: Didn't do good! Ryan: Ain't ya never heard the saying about "Close don't count nothin' but horseshoes and hand grenades"?
What were your favorite parts of the trip? Chuck: I think the adrenaline rush. Once (Race host Phil Keoghan) said "Go!" you know it's just a once-in-a-lifetime shot. And two years ago, I got to go on a mission trip to Peru. It brought back a lot of good memories for me going back there. That was neat.
Do you plan to travel together anytime soon? Ryan: I'm sure we will, but we don't have no major plans yet. We'd like to see the whole world. We don't want to exclude nothing. I've been in probably 20 to 30 states, but I would like to see every country in the world. But we live in the best part of all the world. Chuck: I've been fortunate to travel. I've covered South America fairly decent in personal travel and I lived in Brazil a year as an exchange student in high school and mission trips in Peru. Got to visit a buddy in Australia and been to New Zealand. I'm missing Europe, Africa and Asia so far, but I agree with Ryan – no place better to be than South Carolina.
Ryan, you're married and said at the beginning of the trip that you hoped Chuck, who's single, would find someone. How's that going? Ryan: Not too good! We got our 15 minutes (of fame) and never had an opportunity to tell the world that we had an available single white male there. Chuck: I don't know that they know just how incredibly smart, talented and good-lookin' I am 'cause I had on sunglasses and a bandanna most of the time!
Would you do TV again? Ryan: Why not? This was just a joy and an experience and we done so much – we talk about it on a regular basis. There's people who are 70 years old that have never done what we done. Chuck: I've even thought about going on the big screen, and I would have no problem letting Brad Pitt be my supportin' actor. You know, I'm surprised his agent ain't called me yet!