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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Gimmicks make a first impression.

That seemed to be the strategy as the bachelors tumbled out of the darkness to meet Emily Maynard, ABC s new Bachelorette on Monday night s opening episode.

Maynard, the first single mom to preside over the Bachelorette realm, greeted 25 suitors at a Charlotte mansion. Attention-getters included:

Randy, a marketing manager from California. He struggled up to the door disguised as an old woman tapping a cane. They he cast off the wig. Surprise! Possible life of the party guy.

Travis, an advertising rep from Mississippi. He showed up with a big egg. Throughout this journey, I will take care of this egg like I will take care of you and Ricki, he vowed.

Tony, a lumber trader from Oregon, showed up with a shoe on a pillow. Name s Charming. Prince Charming, he said by way of introduction. I m looking for my princess. He put the shoe on her foot. It fit. It turns out Emily likes shoes.

Jef, a bottled-water CEO from Salt Lake City. He pulls up on a skateboard.

Finally, Kalon arrives. He s a luxury brand consultant (who knows?) from Houston. He comes from the sky, in a helicopter.

Early in the show, Emily explained her situation.

She s 26. Engaged twice. Heart-break veteran.

My only goal in all this is to meet someone I can have children with. ... And be a father figure for Ricki, she said. I really hope I fall in love and get married.

Host Chris Harrison asked her what she wanted her life to be in five years. A mini-van full of babies, she replied.

Emily grew up in Morgantown, W.Va. As a teenager, she moved to Florida, where her parents had property. In 2004, she graduated from Key West High School. She had already met Ricky Hendricks, the NASCAR driver. His family had a house nearby.

Ricky and Emily became a couple. He died in a plane crash in Oct. 2004. She learned shortly afterward that she was pregnant. Now their daughter, Ricki, is 6. They live in a house in Charlotte. She does volunteer work and takes care of her daughter.

To amp up the drama, ABC recruited a race driver as a potential beau. Arie doesn t race in NASCAR, but it still provides a bit of seriousness. It s OK, Emily says. She still has found memories of the track.

Finally came the rose ceremony. Emily had to send a batch of bachelors home.

You all have exceeded my expectations a million times over, she said by way of getting ready to cast out the losers. I m really confident it can really work out this time.

Helicopter guy and several other successful businessmen made the cut. Rejects made the requisite disappointed statements. That s all expected, but what surprised everyone is the last suitor to make the cut: Travis, the salesman from Mississippi. She keeps him, and his egg.
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