TROY - A Troy University freshman and his mother will be among the participants during season 28 of "The Amazing Race," which premieres on CBS Friday night, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
Cole LaBrant, a freshman business major who grew up in Troy and graduated from Enterprise High School, will be one of several social media stars to be featured on the show this season.
LaBrant came to prominence in recent years due to his popularity on social media, particularly the website Vine, where his short videos have gained him 6.6 million followers.
Along with two friends, LaBrant started uploading Vine videos in high school.
The videos quickly gained popularity due to their quirkiness and consistency.
"We threw up a video on Vine just sort of playing around over the summer, and it got decent likes in day one, so we thought we’d try again the next day," LaBrant said. "After a week, we had 100,000 followers. We kept making them, and, after a month, we had a million followers."
Last July, he was contacted by "Amazing Race" producers, who informed him they were working on a social media-themed season of the hit show.
"We hopped on it, and I made an audition video with my younger brother Jack, my older brother Luke and both my parents," LaBrant said. "After watching the videos, they thought it would be fun to have a mother-son team."
From there, the LaBrants had to audition in person along with nearly 50 other teams, he said.
In early October, the show’s producers informed the LaBrants they had been chosen and it was time to get ready for an around-the-world trip.
"There are 11 teams in an elimination-style game," LaBrant said. "You start in the U.S. and your first location is somewhere outside the country. Whenever you get to that country, you do fun, challenging tasks relative to that country's customs, and it's a race. The last person to the finish line gets eliminated, then the other 10 teams go to another country around the world."
Eventually the three remaining teams compete in a final race in the U.S.
LaBrant described the entire experience as surreal.
"I've always wanted to travel the world, and we were able to not only travel the world but do so for free, and get to do things that were amazing in those countries," he said. "It was so fun, and I would totally do it again."
Though it's technically a reality show, don't expect any dysfunctional family drama among the LaBrants this season.
"We're not drama people. That's just not us," LaBrant said. "We had a lot of fun."