Warning: This story contains spoilers from “The Bachelorette.”
Local fans of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” will have two hometown guys to cheer for as Season 11 debuts Monday.
Ryan McDill and Tanner Tolbert are both 28, good-looking, fun to hang out with according to their buddies and hold down good jobs.
McDill owns All Star Auto Parts near Arrowhead Stadium. (ABC inexplicably calls him a “junkyard specialist.”) Tolbert is finance manager at Legends Honda in KCK.
In bachelorette-speak, they’re great catches.
“I think America will fall in love with him,” says one of Tolbert’s work colleagues, Shawn Lemieux. “I’ve yet to meet somebody who didn’t like him.”
The season starts with two bachelorettes — Canadian dance instructor Kaitlyn Bristowe and California waitress Britt Nilsson. (In a twist, the bachelors will choose which of the women will stay.)
Being on the show together made McDill and Tolbert fast friends. But their experiences could not have been more different. What will happen on the first night reminds us of that famous Bette Davis line from “All About Eve”: “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Both men are contractually prohibited by ABC from speaking to the media. But we know a few secrets about the show thanks to the flood of leaks on fan sites and reality-TV blogs. Reality Steve promised to post episode-by-episode spoilers today.
That’s how “Bachelorette” followers already know that McDill very literally made a huge splash on the show.
The Blue Springs High School grad drank too much on a loooong night of filming at the “Bachelorette” mansion, stripped off his clothes and jumped in the pool in his underwear. In a rare move, host Chris Harrison stepped in to handle the drama, which reportedly ended at 4 a.m. with McDill getting kicked off the show.
Jumping in a pool after having a few drinks? Yep, that sounds like the McDill that David Lawrence of Kansas City has known for about three years.
“Ryan is all about having a good time, so we will see him having a good time,” says Lawrence, who works for OSHA. “He’s a wildly entertaining person, a lot of fun to be around.”
Lawrence wasn’t surprised when McDill told him one day when they were lifting weights at the gym that he had applied for the show. “I knew that he would get it,” Lawrence says. “He’s a pretty charismatic guy, a pretty good-looking guy.”
Another reason Lawrence might not have been shocked: McDill is the ex-boyfriend of Kansas City’s Nikki Ferrell, who “won” Juan Pablo Galavis’ final rose on “The Bachelor” two seasons ago. Ferrell and Galavis have since broken up.
McDill won’t be in town for the show’s premiere. He and about 15 of the show’s 25 bachelors, possibly including Tolbert, planned to be in Nashville to watch the two-night premiere.
Nashville, coincidentally or not, is home to bachelor Chris Strandburg, a 28-year-old dentist with a sweet tooth singled out by Harrison as one of the “Five Bachelors to Watch.”
Sandburg, who arrives at the mansion in a car shaped like a cupcake, had “one of the best arrivals we have ever had on the show,” Harrison told Yahoo TV.
Tolbert’s colleagues at the car dealership are shutting the doors promptly at 8 p.m. Monday for a private watch party. “Our wives are pretty pumped for it,” says Tolbert’s boss, Duce Lett, general manager of Legends Toyota and Legends Honda.
Lett has high hopes for his employee. “He’ll represent Kansas City very well,” he says. “He’s a good Midwestern kid.”
Tolbert’s colleagues know that he simply wanted to make it past the first elimination ceremony. (He does.)
Tolbert’s mom and sister, who live in Los Angeles, submitted his name and bio to the show. ABC then flew Tolbert out to meet with producers.
Responsible employee that he is, Tolbert checked with his boss to make sure it was OK to miss work while filming the show.
Jason Lybarger of Olathe, who went to high school with Tolbert at Blue Valley West, says his basketball-playing buddy — who likes to go to Chiefs and Royals games and likes to visit Vegas — is perfect for the show.
“He’s got a mischievous side to him,” says Lybarger. “As far as ‘The Bachelorette’ goes, I think he will be well-liked in the house. But I can see him stirring up some drama here and there.”
Lett believes that Tolbert and Kaitlyn Bristowe “would make a good match.” (A little spoiler there.)
But whether they end up together? “I think that Tanner would gracefully bow out if he recognized” that a match wasn’t there, says Lett.
Lybarger hopes his buddy stays on long enough to wear the University of Kansas tank top he gave him to wear on camera. Tolbert worked with KU’s football team when he went to school there.
“I think he’ll be definitely in the top 10,” says Lybarger. “Further than that I’m not sure. But I think we’ll see a good amount of him.”
And if we don’t?
We hear, hint hint, that there’s room for a bachelor in paradise.
When to watch
“The Bachelorette” airs at 8 p.m. Monday and 7 p.m. Tuesday on ABC.