The identity of the Bachelorette herself has yet to be revealed. Would-be bachelors were not permitted to reveal their last names, either, or talk about the casting process itself. Doing so could result in hefty fines from ABC, according to a confidentiality form the men signed.
"I'm totally winging it," said 25-year-old Barak, who rented a car to drive from Brooklyn. "I wanted to show the lengths I'd go to find that fairy-tale love - you know, like in Disney."
Along with filling out a lengthy questionnaire, potential contestants also posed for a brief photo shoot, then sat down with a casting producer for one-on-one interviews.
Most of the men were confident they had a shot.
"When I step in front of the camera, people tend to pay attention to me," said Ryan, 23, an amateur mixed martial arts fighter from Cherry Hill. At his day job, he's a personal trainer and a model for Abercrombie & Fitch - hired to stand outside Abercrombie stores shirtless, he said. "I'm motivated, constantly working - and obviously good-looking."
Why were they there? Some said they were unlucky in love and fed up with online dating and singles events. Others were tired of Jersey girls - "the majority are trashy," Ryan said. Most thought it might be fun.
"I wanted to increase the number of red-haired men on TV from one to two," said Richard, referring to the comedian Louis CK, who has a show on FX. "Gingers are in this year."
The 34-year-old history teacher from Cherry Hill said he was "ready to get hitched" and said his mother had suggested he try out.
"My dad taught me to never say no to an interview," he said.
Casting producer Malissa Chappius said the event, billed as a small-scale "meet and greet," went well. "We saw a lot of great guys," she said.
She'll send the photos and interviews she recorded to casting producers in Los Angeles, who will make final selections near the end of the month. The show typically begins airing in late spring.
South Jersey's bachelors drew more than a few stares at the racquet club Saturday.
"Want to try out for The Bachelorette?" hooted a group of men in gym gear heading into the racquet room. A gaggle of teenage girls passing the Pilates studio peered in curiously. Standing outside the room, racquet club program director Stacy Corelli said she had never hosted an event quite like a reality-TV casting call, but hoped at least one of the men would make it all the way.
"It's been pretty cool - I like seeing the variety of faces," she said. "And it'd be fun to know that someone was selected from our hometown."
Contact Aubrey Whelan at 610-313-8112, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @aubreyjwhelan.