Amazing Race‘s 20th season opens with “cycling enthusiast” Phil Keoghan leading the new teams of racers on a cycle ride through wine country in Santa Barbara, California.
So, who are the new teams?
Dave and Cherie – married clowns (or ambassadors of laughter, as they prefer) from Tampa, FL. Dave says they believe in karma and are hoping all the karma they’ve built up over the years will work in their favor.
Bopper and Mark – lifelong friends from Clay County, KY. They say they’re “from the other side of the tracks” and have never had anything, so they’re hoping to win the $1 million for their kids and family.
Misa and Maiya – sisters from San Diego, CA. They started playing golf as kids – Maiya is now professional. They think the teams will view them as pretty, dainty girls but promise there will be no crying here. “We are athletes – we know what it takes to win the race.”
Brendon and Rachel – recently engaged from Los Angeles. Their relationship started on Big Brother 12 and Rachel went on to win BB 13. They aren’t here to make friends – just win the money. “Nobody comes between me and my $1 million!” says Rachel.
Joey “Fitness” and Danny – Self-described “guidos” from Long Island, NY, who like perfect hair, muscles and tattoos. They reckon the other teams will view them as typical Jersey Shore guys but they will surprise.
Nary and Jamie – federal agents from Los Angeles. There aren’t many women in their field so they need a tough mentality, meaning the race “will be like cake” to them.
Rachel and Dave – married for two years from Madison, WI. He’s a major in the army and was in Iraq for a year. They’re hoping the race will be the catalyst to bring them back together and allow them to reconnect.
Elliot and Andrew – twins from Scottsdale, AZ. Elliot’s a musician, Andrew’s a pro soccer player, but they are still the best of friends.
Kerri and Stacy – first cousins from Gulfport, MS. They describe themselves as “typical Daisy Duke country girls” who like their hair and eyeshadow, but they’re not afraid of getting down and dirty on the race.
Vanessa and Ralph – friends for 15 years and dating for about a year from San Antonio, TX. As Vanessa says: “I used to stalk him, he got married, I stalked him some more, he got divorced, I got married, I got divorced, and now we’re dating.”
Art and JJ – border patrol agents from Southern California who supervise a 40-man unit that patrols the coastline. They’re used to the importance of being good teammates in their job and just want to have fun on the race.
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So, with the introductions out of the way, it’s time to find out what their first challenge will be – and the first-leg winners will again get the express pass to use before the end of the eighth leg. Their first clue can be found among 100 red and yellow balloons suspended above the countryside. Only 11 of the balloons have a clue inside them.
For those lucky teams who nab a clue quickly they learn they’ll be flying to Santa Barbara, Argentina – but only the first six teams to arrive at LAX will get on the early connecting flight from Buenos Aires.
Those teams turn out to be Brendon Rachel, Nary Jamie, Andrew Elliot, Art JJ, Rachel Dave and Vanessa Ralph, who have a two-and-a-half hour lead on the other teams when they arrive in Argentina.
The first task in Santa Barbara is a roadblock which requires one team member to skydive 10,000ft from a plane while the other tries to pinpoint the location where they will land. Only when they’re reunited will they get the next clue.
It seems an alliance is being formed between Rachel Dave and Art JJ on the basis that both teams have government employees and Dave shares a “similar alpha male persona” to the border patrol agents. On a side note, JJ doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about jumping (“it’s playing with death!”).
The first few teams (Rachel Dave, Art JJ, Rachel Brendon) all complete the jump relatively stress-free and are well on their way to the next clue by the time the other racers arrive.
Vanessa makes a good point while sitting in the plane – who was the first person to attempt skydiving? “You have to be borderline crazy,” she concludes. “My uterus is in my throat!” Stacy’s also pretty terrified, worrying that the parachute won’t open and then what would happen to her family? However, she does a U-Turn when she decides she wants to show her kids the importance of not letting their fears stop them doing things.
On the ground, Danny is having difficulty driving stick (even though his mom told him to practice before he left for the race) and Maiya has driven off the road into a sand dune and is stuck waiting for help before she can continue on to meet Misa.
Meanwhile, the earlier teams – Rachel Dave, Brendon Rachel, Art JJ, Nary Stacy – have gotten stuck into their next task, which is making 120 empanadas – half filled with meat, half with cheese. Aside from the quantity, the difficult part seems to be getting the dough patterns right.
Rachel Dave are the first to finish and reach the pitstop – which seems to be located smack bang outside the door to the empanada making business. It’s a first-place finish for them and an express pass.
Brendon Rachel are close on their tail, followed by Art JJ, Nary Jamie, Vanessa Ralph, and Elliot Andrew.
At this stage, the later teams have just arrived from the skydiving, showing the strong lead the earlier teams had. So, Misa Maiya, Joey Danny, Dave Cherie, Bopper Mark, and Kerri Stacy begin their empanda making in the hopes of securing one of the last four spots.
In the end, it comes down to the Jersey Shore boys Joey Danny battling against California sisters Misa Maiya for the final spot… and it looks ilke the girls have it!
They get their empanadas OK-ed first, but before they can check in they have to retrieve their bags from the car. Can the boys overtake? It appears not, as Misa Maiya get their bags and head to the garden where Phil is waiting.
© CBS / Robert Voets
© CBS / Robert Voets
But – in one of the most bizarre check-in incidents in Amazing Race ever – the girls totally miss Phil even though he is standing a few feet away from them! Instead, they turn around, leave the garden, and begin running around the area desperately searching for him… Which, of course, gives Joey Danny enough time to finish their empanada and beat them to the pitstop.
By the time Misa Maiya find Phil it’s too late – they’ve been eliminated. Phil points out that they were standing “right there” in front of him and he’s never had a team that close to him be overtaken by another team.
So, the leg 1 check-in order was:
1. Rachel Dave
2. Brendon Rachel
3. Art JJ
4. Nary Jamie
5. Vanessa Ralph
6. Elliot Andrew
7. Kerri Stacy
8. Dave Cherie
9. Bopper Mark
10. Joey Danny
11. Misa Maiya – eliminated
The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8/7c on CBS
Browse a gallery of this season’s racers below:
Copyright: CBS Robert Voets
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