Something unexpected happened this year in the world of Fashions on the Field, Sydney. The Australian Turf Club announced they had split ties with long-term fashion sponsor Myer after negotiations to renew Myer’s contract failed.

The question on my lips?

What would happen to the Myer Fashions on the Field NSW State Finals? They are usually held at the ATC’s Royal Randwick racecourse!

In the weeks that followed, both Myer and the ATC revealed their ideas on doing something a little out of the ordinary with their fashion competitions…

Photo booth social media photo competition

For the first time ever, Myer was going to hold their FOTF state final in a shopping mall! Meanwhile, the ATC decided to ditch the traditional catwalk based fashion competition in favour of a social-media based photo competition! And the ultimate complication?

Both competitions were to be held on the same day! October 8th.

“Can I make it to both events?” I thought.

The cogs started to turn…but before I get into my personal experience with The Amazing Race, here’s a brief overview of the structure of each event.

Myer Fashions in the Mall

The Myer competition was held at Pitt St Mall, outside the entrance to the Myer store.

There was a sectioned off area, which included the judges table (suitably decorated with beautiful flowers), some white bench seats for an audience and a small stage.

Pitt Street Mall Fashions on the Field

Myer racing fashion Sydney state final

The prize pool was valued at over $16,000, with the winner enjoying a 10-day trip-of-a-lifetime to Spring Carnival valued at $10,000, and a $3,000 Myer shopping spree!

They would also be crowned the NSW state representative and have a chance to win the Lexus sports car at the National Finals. Nice.

Royal Randwick Photo Competition

On the other side of town, the Royal Randwick had a slightly different setting, one with horses (!)

Entrants had their photos taken by renowned fashion photographer Sonny Vandevelde in a booth named the Fashion Chute. The space was complete with mirrors and dangling champagne-inspired bubbles and beads.

It took only a minute and then entrants could go about enjoying a day at the races. Later in the afternoon, the 6 finalists were sent text messages which welcomed them back to parade their outfits in front of the judges.

group photo #theraces

The prize pool had a value of over $75,000, including a black BMW 220i convertible valued at over $65,000! Double nice.

The Amazing Race – Sydney Edition

The Game Plan

The Myer FOTF registration was open between 11:30am and 12:30pm and you couldn’t pre-register. The Randwick photo booth was open from 11am to 2pm, with winners notified at 2:30pm.

I scribbled down a rough schedule. Attending both events seemed do-able.

race day schedule

Google maps was telling me the drive would only take 17 minutes, but I was worried Google might be a “glass half full” kinda guy. A second opinion from some Sydney friends suggested more like 40 minutes to an hour and I started to think my timing might not work out.

pitt st mall to royal randwick map

If traffic was bad and the photo booth was busy, I would be cutting it very fine.

Panicky by nature, I hate being rushed and traffic is out of my control. But I decided to give it a try anyway, and create my own edition of the Amazing Race through the Sydney CBD.

The Amazing Race-Day

My friend Chrissy and I stayed at a lovely Air BnB in the h