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ST. LOUIS – Reality shows must have a thing for the St. Louis area. Days after Maplewood chef Trenton Garvey was crowned the winner of FOX’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, our area appears poised to be part of the backstory for another reality show, this one about cooking up romance.

Clayton Echard, a Eureka High School grad who later went on to play football at the University of Missouri, has reportedly been cast to be ABC’s next ‘Bachelor’, according to Variety.

He’d previously been reported as having a role in this fall’s installment of The Bachelorette.

Thursday provided the biggest hint that something was up, literally in the form of a banner downtown.

Eureka Mayor Sean Flower said that ABC paid for the banner. Eureka Police were on hand Thursday afternoon to close down streets downtown, apparently as part of Thursday’s shoot.

Echard, who had a professional football tryout with the Seattle Seahawks after his time at Missouri, describes himself on Instagram as a “former freestyle rapper and washed-up athlete now trying his luck in orthopaedic sales.”

Dozens of fans stopped whatever they were doing and waited in downtown Eureka to try and get a glimpse of Echard himself”I found out about this two hours ago, and I left work early for it,” Mollie Johnson said.

Even those who knew him from growing up in Eureka.”Those dang dimples, I mean those dimples will blow any girl out of the water,” said Miranda Schaeffer, who said her older sister and Echard had dated when they were younger. 

“When he got this I was like this is very well deserving and a really good highlight for our community.”

As fans gawked at the chance to get a glimpse of the next Bachelor, Echard ended up surprising them. He walked up to a crowd, the film crew had positioned under the banner.

“I’m excited, I’m also a little nervous,” Echard said, talking to the crowd about the journey that lies ahead.

“I’m looking to find my person.”

The interaction wasn’t complete without a MIZ-ZOU and EUR-EKA chant.

“Make us proud,” and “good luck,” fans said as Echard went back to filming.