Challenge Retrospective: Rivals 1 Awards

While we have the objective history of the Challenge in the wikias, and the show intact to look back on to see how great the olden days were, we are missing some big things: AWARDS. As a major basketball fan, my friends and I spend hours on discussing who the league MVP is, who the rookie of the year is, and who are the top players per position are. I began with Fresh Meat 1, and now done the Duel 1,Inferno 3, Gauntlet 3, the Island, the Duel 2, the Ruins, Fresh Meat 2, Cutthroat, and now Rivals 1. If you want links to them, they’ll be at the bottom of this article.

Rivals 1 was a spectacular season that is generally overrated. It was the first season I ever watched of the Challenge, and it got me hooked. You may wonder why I view this season as overrated, and it’s mostly due to a weak cast that most view as strong. Brandon/Ty is a boring and weak pair, Davis/Tyrie were a weaker version of that, and Evan didn’t even come for the season in shape. CT’s partner, Adam King was also in the lower half of males, a bit scummy, and boring. On the girls bracket, the top 2 teams were on a completely different level, and all the good possible 3rd place teams (Camila/Theresa and Robin/Aneesa) were out in the first two eliminations. Overall, it was still a great season as it brought a fresh theme and raised the competition to another level.

The Rules: I will be giving out an MVP award for both male and female competitors on the season. MVP does not just go out to the pair that won the season, but the individual competitor who brought the most to the show: physically, socially, mentally, entertainment wise, hook ups, arguments, circumstances, etc. I will be naming First Team All Challenge, and Second Team All Challenge. These will be 5 person lineups consisting of the best/most important competitors from that season using the MVP criteria, and it can be 5 guys and 0 girls, or 5 girls and 0 guys, or just 3 guys and 2 girls. It will consist of 5 competitors regardless of gender.

Rookie of the Year awards will be given to both genders, and I will also be giving awards out for Most Disappointing Players of the Season(both genders), Top Physical Competitors, and Underdog of the Season. Here we go:


Male: Chris “CT” Tamburello Female: Laurel Stucky
CT coming back for Rivals 1 was such a big deal. While it was never explicit, CT was essentially banned from the Ruins to before Rivals 1. It is known that he was supposed to be on the Ruins, but many of the Champion guys (JEK), as well as Adam King, stated they would not go on if he was there. We did not get a CT sighting until he came in for Cutthroat as a heavy hitter. That legendary moment got America hooked on CT, wanting more.

On Rivals 1, he was partnered with Adam King. Adam was known for being fast and intelligent, but not a ton of success in his history on the show. CT took him, and destroyed the game with a guy who was mostly a middle tier player at best. They won 2 daily missions, and finished second in many of them, until a gaffe on the final daily challenge that got them sent right into elimination. CT had the whole house against him, possibly had a partner who was throwing competitions while having a side deal with JEK, and was inches from making it to the final. He also hooked up with Mandi, had a thing with Laurel, and epic all night cursing session with Wes.

The girls on Rivals 1 were surprisingly boring. The girls that were best friends with the guys line up behind them, and only had to see eliminations when they finished in last place. Laurel wins the award for MVP, as she won 2 eliminations with Cara Maria, had a solid second place finish in the final, was her classic dominant self, and had one of the most vicious moments in Challenge history.

Rivals 1 was the first season I ever watched, thus it is the season I watch with my friends when I introduce them to the Challenge. I always tell my friends that Laurel is a cyborg with no emotions that you must watch out for. They did not understand what that meant until they watched this.

Rookie of the Year

Male: Mike Ross Female: Jonna Mannion
Although LeRoy is my boy, and a physical beast who guaranteed his team a spot in the final by dominating the final mission, the award goes to Mike Mike. Mike showed up after a late night call to his house and a plane ride a few hours later. He showed up, his normal nice guy, geeky self. LeRoy’s brawn was what carried them in some of the daily missions, but Mike had a ton of heart, and made teams scared to face in elimination. Mike was intelligent, they could tell. Wes wanted to face Brandon/Ty instead of Mike, because his team was terrified on the off chance they get a puzzle for elimination.

Mike also shocked us by hooking up with Paula. Good man.

Jonna had a great Rivals 1 rookie season, her and Jasmine won the first daily mission, following that with a big upset win in a puzzle against Sarah Rice. Watching Sarah get beat at what she was supposed to be the best at was very satisfying. Especially after she talked trash all day in the Rivals house.

First Team All Challenge

Chris CT Tamburello, Wes Bergmann, Laurel Stucky, Kenny Santucci, Tyler Duckworth
Wes and his rivalry with Kenny was a main focus of this season. Heck, they were the basis for Rivals. Out of all the teams, these two, and CT/Adam, had the most legitimate hate. Wes got into bickering matches with his own teammate and CT. He picked up Mandi off the rebound and dominated a couple eliminations and swimming daily missions to get his team to the final.

Kenny floundered during the season, yet remained a funny personality to have in the house. As immature as he was, every time he made fun of how ugly Wes is, had me and my friends dying. It was his only/main retort, but it worked. He also had a legendary final performance, carrying Wes, literally.

Tyler makes it for winning the Challenge, winning the final despite having food poisoning, and taking two monster hits from CT during the final Dug Out elimination. Man needed the money after those hits on him.

Second Team All Challenge

Paula Meronek, Evelyn Smith, Johnny Bananas, Mandi Moyer, Jenn Grijalva
It may have taken her 8 Challenges, but on Rivals 1, Paula was crowned a champion. She had some drunken fun with Mike, while killing it on the final with Evelyn. Evelyn was her normal self, dominant, and her 3rd win.

Johnny got his 3rd Challenge title on Rivals 1. He struggled in day one of the final as bad as Wes, but he didn’t get sick like Wes, leading to their win on day two.

Mandi made it to the final with her partner, Jenn. They won a couple missions, had hook-ups with future Rivals 2 Champions, Wes and CT. Got knocked over by Adam Royer, and seemed like a hoot to have around. This was the last time that we ever saw Jenn on a Challenge. She performed adequately, however, she could not overcome the same food poisoning that Tyler had, leading to their DQ in the final. Also had a surprising fling with Adam King.

Best Physical Players

Male: Chris “CT” Tamburello Female: Evelyn Smith
If the whole house is against you and wants you out of the game, you are doing something right. CT wins this, and I’m pretty sure nobody was even close on this season.

I flipped back and forth between Evelyn and Laurel for this award. Most of the time I was hedging towards Laurel, ultimately I chose Evelyn. This was Evelyn’s last season, she won the more daily missions, and won the final. This award is also meant for her almost, congrats Evelyn on your 4th win of this award.

Most Disappointing Players

Male: Evan Starkman Female: Sarah Rice
In the words of CT: “Kenny’s still Kenny, Johnny’s still Johnny, Evan’s still Evan, except he’s pregnant now”. Evan was always a bigger guy who was fast and in great shape. On Rivals 1, he came in out of shape. He did well in most of the daily missions, nowhere near himself on the past Duels though. Evan’s first 5 seasons of the Challenge is one of the greatest stretches in Challenge history, watching him flounder like a beached whale in his final eliminations and moment in the Challenge universe was sad. It left people with a bad taste in their mouth, and has ruined his legacy today.

Sarah bragged all day about being a puzzle master, then lost in a puzzle elimination. Yep.



26 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.

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Allan Aguirre

26 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.