What started out as a simple Instagram post of her dog, Trixie, became a life-changing experience for 25-year-old Liz Espey, Maryville.

THE AMAZING RACE returns this season with a race unlike any before. In a brand new twist, all 22 Racers are complete strangers who will meet on the starting line. Before “GO,” Racers will immediately compete in a challenge that will determine the order for picking a Teammate, based on nothing but first impressions. These new pairs of Teammates will then have mere moments to learn their traveling companion’s name before beginning a race around the world that will span 9 countries, 17 cities and 36,000 miles. The new season of the 10-time Emmy Award-winning series premieres on a new date and time, Thursday, March 30 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Liz Espey Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

It was in February 2016 when she received a call asking if she would consider appearing on the CBS television show “The Amazing Race.”

“I thought it was a joke or maybe a scam, so I hung up,” said Espey.

But after another phone call, she decided it was legitimate and to say she was thrilled is an understatement.

“Believe it or not, to appear on “The Amazing Race” has been on my bucket list since I was 10 years old,” Espey said. “My dad brought that memory up when he heard about my plans.”

She noted that the odds of getting on the show were similar to winning the lottery times 10.

Espey, who had never been out of the US or seen the ocean before this, will appear on the new season of “The Amazing Race,” which premieres at 9 pm, Thursday, March 30. The Maryville High School graduate prepared for the six-week filming regiment working out with weights; she was able to bench 125 pounds and dead-lift 175 pounds by the time the show filmed. She swam and swam. She freshened her skills on driving a stick shift vehicle and she watched the previous seasons of the reality television show to get a better idea of what might be in store for her.

“I packed a 45-pound bag with 30 pairs of socks, boots, gym shoes, boat shoes, heavy coats, jackets and long underwear,” Espey said about the beginning of June through mid-July journey.

She had no idea what countries or climates she would be in during the race.

“I was hoping for Italy,” Espey said, but because of the strict rules about interviews before the show’s debut, she couldn’t say if her hopes were realized.

She was able to relay the show was “really hard. It tested every amount of mental strain, emotional and physical strength. No down time. It was like 10 miles a day, every day.”

However, she also said, “I’d do it again in a heart beat. It was a once in a lifetime experience. You just can’t buy a trip like this.”

She plans on watching the premiere with her family and then have a party at Boudreaux’s Louisiana Seafood and Steaks, St. Joseph, later during the show’s run.

Espey graduated from the College of Auctioneering, Mason City, IA, after attending Northwest Missouri State for three years. She is the daughter of Steve Espey and Anita Younger and has one sister, Maria, who is a Maryville High School senior. Maria also stays busy as a cattle and sheep show-fitter and earned the championship showman at the 2016 Missouri State Fair 4-H sheep show.