‘The Amazing Race’ finale: Ricky Rotandi and Cesar Aldrete win Season 36

Reality

The Amazing Race featured “Dating Couple” Ricky Rotandi and Cesar Aldrete winning the $1 million prize during the Season 36 finale that aired Wednesday night on CBS.

Ricky, a 34-year-old preschool teacher, and Cesar, a 34-year-old food stylist, crossed the finish line in Philadelphia, PA, in first place and therefore won The Amazing Race.

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“Ricky and Cesar, eight countries, 14 cities and 11,711 miles, I am pleased to tell you that you are the official winners of The Amazing Race!” The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan announced after the New Yorkers crossed the finish line.

“You have won the one million dollar prize! This finish right here is their seventh first-place finish!”

Ricky and Cesar were both overwhelmed and in tears, and Cesar announced, “This sets the foundation of what our life is going to be!… Building a family and going through the process of adoption is really hard and really expensive, so hopefully with the help of this [prize money], we can start doing that.”

And Ricky told his teammate, “You are truly my best friend, and I love you so much. I am so happy that we shared this together!… Winning The Amazing Race is truly an incredible feat!”

The 90-minute The Amazing Race finale kicked off with the Final 4 teams racing the penultimate leg.

In addition to Ricky and Cesar, the other teams were “Married NFL Couple” Rod Gardner and Leticia Gardner, “Dating Couple” Amber Craven and Vinny Cagungun, and “Best Friends and Military Pilots” Juan Villa and Shane Bilek.

After doing a deep dive at Sosua Beach in the Dominican Republic, the teams had to choose between making cocktails or assembling diving rigs for a Detour task.

All four of the teams chose to craft some delicious cocktails in which each team had to make six drinks for thirsty pirates.

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In the Roadblock, the participating Racers were required to windsurf for 60 seconds without falling over to receive their next clue.

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Leticia, Ricky, Juan, and Vinny all attempted to windsurf, and once finished, the teams headed to Olympus Beach, where dune buggys awaited them.

The teams had to travel via dune buggy to a kayak, where they’d paddle to the Pit Stop at Wilson’s Bar. Rod and Leticia finished the penultimate leg in first place, and they won a five-night trip for two to Rome, Italy.

Juan and Shane finished the leg in second place, Ricky and Cesar placed third, and then Vinny and Amber ran up to Phil in fourth place.

Vinny and Amber were therefore eliminated before the final leg. However, Amber had the surprise of her life on the mat.

Vinny surprised his girlfriend with a marriage proposal, and the couple got engaged on The Amazing Race!

“I may not be going home with a million dollars, but I’m going home with a ring!” Amber cried.

For the final leg of The Amazing Race’s 36th season, the Final 3 teams flew to Philadelphia, PA.

All three teams ripped open their first clue simultaneously on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and they were told to drive themselves to Lincoln Financial Field to find their next clue.

Once they stepped on the Philadelphia Eagles’ football field, one member from each team was required to dress up as an Amazing Race mascot and then run a training drill, maneuvering through an obstacle course and ultimately hitting a target with a T-shirt cannon.

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Ricky, Leticia and Shane all dressed in costume and took on the task.

The teams then headed to Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks, which were cheesesteak restaurants located at opposite street corners, where they’d find their next clue. Juan and Shane accidentally drove to New Jersey, thinking they were supposed to find a pizza place.

The teams then headed to Headhouse Square, where they were tasked with memorizing and reciting the preamble of the Declaration of Independence.

Ricky and Cesar raced to the next Roadblock in first place at Betsy Ross House.

The Roadblock required the participating Racers to listen to a history lesson from three historic figures and then piece together America’s first official flag. The first 13 states had to be placed top to bottom in the order they were ratified, alongside 13, five-point stars.

Cesar took on the history task, and he found it difficult given he had grown up in Mexico. Leticia also opted to do the Roadblock task, and Juan was right on her heels.

Juan completed the Roadblock in no time, and so the men raced into second place behind Ricky and Cesar.

The teams then rushed to Arch Street Meeting House, where they had to solve a 3-D Liberty Bell puzzle.

Once Ricky and Cesar got the job done in first place, their next set of clues instructed them to race to the finish line at Glen Foerd Estate, a historic home in Philadelphia.

Juan and Shane completed the final task in second place.
 
Ricky and Cesar had to stop and ask for directions, but they ultimately crossed the finish line in first place, winning The Amazing Race.

Juan and Shane finished The Amazing Race in second place, and the men called the experience “incredible” as well as “a blessing.”

Phil joked about how Juan and Shane made The Amazing Race history by stopping in two states during the final leg, and they joked about being “first-place losers.”

And finally, Rod and Leticia claimed third place. Rod apologized to his wife for taking so long at the Declaration of Independence task, but Leticia said she was so proud of herself for “conquering” her fears.

RELATED LINK: ‘THE AMAZING RACE’ COUPLES NOW: WHO IS STILL TOGETHER? WHO HAS SPLIT? WHERE ARE THEY NOW? (PHOTOS)

Rod and Leticia were also proud of themselves for “never giving up,” according to Rod.

About The Author:
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.

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