The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Will and Gary

Gary Wojnar and Will Chiola

The Amazing Race kicked it into high gear last night with a whirlwind of action through the streets of Dhaka, Bangledesh. With the teams racing their way through back alleys, floating back and forth across rivers, and pounding away their aggression on steel and cotton, Gary Wojnar (@GaryWojnar) and Will Chiola ended up as the superfans that became the latest casualty du jour. The substitute teachers took some time today with Yakkity Yaks to discuss their involvement in the race.


The Yak: It looked like you guys finally hit your stride in Bangledesh. What really happened at the end of the leg?
Will: At the end of the leg, at least with us, we kept going. We didn’t know Trey and Lexi were ahead of us. What happened was that our cab driver took us to the wrong side of the river, so we had to double back. We gave him the clue, and he accidentally looked at the middle part of the clue and took us to the wrong spot, but that was our own fault.
Gary: The way the clue was set up was at the beginning of the clue was a paragraph, and the first part of the clue said to make your way to the Pit Stop and it told you where the Pit Stop was. Then there was a space, and the middle of the clue had a paragraph that said, “In order to make it to the Pit Stop, you must go to a landing on the river, take a boat across to another landing, and then walk to the Pit Stop.” We had folded over the top part of the clue because we didn’t want the cab driver to see that part, as it was not necessary at that point. We just had to get to the landing at the river. At one point during the race, he got out of the cab, took the clue with him, and we think he unfolded the clue and showed somebody the top part of it, so he actually took us to the wrong part of the river. He took us to the landing that we were supposed to take the boat across to, so it was an unfortunate error. What it came down to was if I had done the bondo task a half-hour quicker, we’d still be in the race.

Will and Gary make their way to the Pit Stop

The Yak: Being superfans, how was the race different than you thought it would be going into it?
Will: It was very hard in the fact that we couldn’t communicate with the locals. Sometimes “yes” means “no.” Sometimes they took you to a certain spot, like you wanted to go to K-Mart, but you ended up going to Wal-Mart. Trying to communicate with the Taxi Cab driver turned into, “No, we don’t need to go here. We need to go there,” so going from point A to B is very hard. Plus, the heat, the lack of sleep, and the hunger – it all adds up to trying to stay calm and not get too upset. We could get upset with each other because we’re use to it, but we did not want to get upset with the locals because we’re in their country. We were representing The Amazing Race and the United States, so we wanted to leave a good impression.
Gary: With Will and I, we had made a point that before we went on the race, we would speak to people in different countries with dignity and respect because, as Will said, we were not only representing ourselves in the race, but America, so we needed to make a good impression with them. Just because we couldn’t speak their language or they didn’t speak English, it was no reason to get angry with them. No reason at all.

The Yak: The week before, in the close finish with Caitlin and Brittany, what were you guys thinking when your driver took that right turn at the end?
Will: We were talking to our becak driver, and we asked him how to get to the market. He asked the guy behind him how to get to where the clue was pointing us, so we were thinking, “Wait a minute. If you asked the guy behind you, why are we taking you then?” So, we switched becak drivers. He was slower, but we knew that he knew exactly where he was going, so we were pretty confident we were going the right way. We weren’t worried about where the girls were going because every place he took us to was correct.
Gary: It was so exciting though! We had no idea they were behind us when we were at the U-Turn, so we u-turned Team Georgia. We took a chance that someone was behind us because we weren’t going to go out without using every tool that was available to us. So, as we were going down the road and they passed us, we said, “Holy crap! It’s the girls!” So, when we took the right turn and they took the left, we turned around and asked the driver, “Is this the right way?” and he shook his head yes, so we told him to keep going. At that point, it was either right or wrong and we had faith in him. Luckily, that worked out for us that time, but that was so exciting running that. The girls were actually about 30 seconds behind us.
Will: We knew that if it came down to a foot race, we probably would lose, so we were very lucky to get there first.

The Yak: For the last couple of legs, it appeared that you were struggling with getting to the Pit Stops and there were a couple of times where it looked like you had given up hope. What made you so sure that you were done in the race with that particular leg and did it change your outlook going into the next leg?
Will: Are you talking about the leg where we weren’t running to the Pit Stop?
The Yak: Correct.
Will: The problem was that Gary had hurt his foot running across the Bund (during the first leg) and it was really swollen, but we were afraid to get medical attention because thought that they would maybe send us home. So, he was sleeping with a shoe on, icing it all night, and at that point, he couldn’t run. That’s why he said, “I can’t run.”
Gary: We didn’t give up because we knew that you never know what’s going to happen on the race. There’s no way we gave up because we tried way too hard to get on the race, but at that point, my foot was absolutely swollen and I wasn’t running because I was quitting, but because the foot was so bad. During the night, we had stuff that we kept putting on it to freeze the foot so it wouldn’t hurt as much.

The Yak: What were the hardest challenges you faced on the race?
Will: Mine was making the balloons. I’m not too creative, and I just totally freaked out when I found out I had to make balloon animals for kids. I couldn’t tie the knot, I was sweating, I was falling apart, but Gary was giving me encouragement. I made it through because Gary put his faith in me.
Gary: My difficult one was the bondo task. I’ve fixed my cars with bondo, so when we got there, I thought, “Oh, great! Bondo! I can do this in my sleep.” Although, it’s been a few years since I did it. The heat was crazy. When I got home, I looked at the weather for that day and it was 101 degrees in Dhaka. With the heat, the bondo would set up in just seconds, so as soon as you would put it on it would harden. Everybody was having difficulty on it, but the bottom line is if I would have done that task quicker and finished sooner, we’d still be in the race, so you can talk about taxis and stuff, but I just did not get the Roadblock done quick enough. I’m very upset about it.

The Yak: Yeah, it looked like it was a pretty tough task.
Gary: We were there for probably 3 hours. It was hot and we were hungry, but everybody was having difficulty with it. I just thought for sure when we got there and I saw it was bondo, I thought, “No problem. We’ll breeze through that.” However, it didn’t turn out that way.

Gary and Will sew up a mattress during a Detour

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race after you found out you had been chosen?
Will: I was brushing up on my Spanish speaking classes. I was also going on the Internet and doing brain activities to become more focused and more alert. Sometimes I have a tendency to lose focus.
Gary: We worked out six days a week. Will’s an athlete – he runs marathons – and I run on the treadmill, but when you run in an air-conditioned building for two hours, it does not translate in a hundred degree weather. The advice I would give to anybody who wants to go on the show: Get a backpack with 50 pounds in it, and run and run and run. Then, when you think you’ve run enough, run some more. Plus, like Will said, we were going to Internet websites and doing brain puzzles. We actually did some jigsaw puzzles and we timed ourselves in order to get our skills quicker at putting stuff together. We did a lot of biking, which we do anyway. Basically, there’s really no good way to prepare except to run with a backpack. You have no idea what they’re going to make you do.
Will: As far as the languages go, we took Spanish because it’s one of the most common languages in the world. Unfortunately, there’s two hundred countries in the world and who knows how many thousands of dialects, so there’s no way to know which countries to prepare for, but we thought Spanish would be good because we did have more of a chance in a Spanish-speaking country.

The Yak: What was your favorite part of the race?
Will: My favorite part of the race was driving a cab through Indonesia, and I saw a moped that had a father, three kids, and a mother on it, taking their kids to school. I though, “Wow!” You don’t realize how good we have it in the United States.
Gary: That is a cliché. We do have it better in the United States, and it is a cliché, but it’s so true. I have so many favorite moments. I enjoyed it so much. I had it come down to two moments. When we were in Indonesia, we were in the back of the truck going to deliver ice, and they didn’t show this, but Will and I were waving to the people, chanting out stuff, singing songs, and people were waving back to us. Then, at the train station in Surabaya, they had a Japanese Beatles cover band, singing Beatles songs, and I got up and sang a little bit of “Ticket to Ride” with the band. We were in front of people who probably had no idea what we were singing, but that was such a fun time right then.

The Yak: Did the two of you get close with any other teams and have you stayed in touch since the race ended?
Will: We pretty much talk to all the teams on a daily basis, via the Internet, Facebook or texting. There’s a special bond that we’ll have forever since we all shared the Amazing Race experience.
Gary: Daniel and Amy – We were very close to them. Those two have amazing hearts. No only with what Amy went through, but they set up the foundation to help disabled athletes, so those guys are great. The Goat Farmers – the Beakman Boys – we love them. They’re so fun. They’re so considerate. Caitlin and Brittany – We love their competitiveness on the show. James and Abba (Mark) – We thought those guys had a great way to run the show, where they worked by themselves. We keep in touch with a lot of them, and we plan to for the rest of our lives.

The Yak: Would you have changed anything about the way that you ran the race?
Will: If we could go back, we would have definitely kept Rob and Sheila from going out on the first leg. At the time, we thought that we were the last two teams left and we didn’t want to give them the clue, but in hindsight, if we had helped them out, we could have eliminated the Chippendales because didn’t know they were behind [Rob and Sheila]. So, if we could go back, I would definitely help out Rob and Sheila. They were our friends and we did have an alliance, so I feel really bad because we love Rob and Sheila.
Gary: We did have an alliance with them, but when it came down to it being us or them being eliminated, of course we’re going to pick us to survive. If we knew we could have eliminated the Chippendales, of course we would have taken them out. They’re a strong team, and you want to get rid of the stronger teams. It would have changed the whole race dynamic because if you notice, there are a lot of alliances between the Chippendales and Trey and Lexi and the Sri Lankan twins. Who knows what would have happened? Hindsight is 20/20, though.

The Yak: So, what’s next for the two of you?
Will: We’re hoping that maybe the Amazing Race will invite us back on the show because we’re running every day with our backpacks. [Will and Gary laugh] We’re basically teaching and trying to get a permanent teaching gig, which is kind of tough in Michigan right now, but I’m working at one school all the time as a stand-in. What’s great about it is I’m able to communicate to the kids about the different things we saw, and what I’m really able to communicate with them is that the United States – even though there were times when we were down and had forces against us, we still had the most opportunity out of anybody in the world. So, we try to teach them that there’s always someone who will help them reach their goals and commit to an opportunity.
Gary: What I share with my students is that you have to work together and have teamwork to accomplish a goal and to keep trying. Don’t ever stop. Don’t ever quit. No matter how bleak it looks.

The Yak: We appreciate the time you took to talk with us, and thank you so much for being teachers to the youth of America!
Will: Thank you very much! I appreciate that!
Gary: Thank you very much!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Caitlin and Brittany

Caitlin King and Brittany Fletcher

Indonesia was once again the locale for Leg 3 of The Amazing Race this week, and with over 17,000 islands making up this country, I’m sure the teams felt like they were traipsing through every single one of them to reach the Pit Stop. This leg was full of lion heads, egg heads and hot heads, and while Abbie and Ryan reclaimed their top spot by reaching the mat first again, Caitlin King (@CaitKing7) and Brittany Fletcher (@BrittanyFletch) became the latest causalities of The Amazing Race. The best friends sat down today with Yakkity Yaks to discuss their time on the race.


The Yak: Hi, ladies! Thanks for sitting down with us today! We were sorry to see you eliminated last night. It looked like a tough loss.
Brittany:: Thank you!

The Yak: How tough was it to accept going out like you did?
Brittany:: It’s obviously hard. That’s something you never want to see, especially with as competitive as Caitlin and I are. The most frustrating thing was that we had already been taken to the Pit Stop when we left the Detour. We were 6th when we left the Detour. We had the becak make an error and take us down a different path, so it ended up costing us everything. We ended up with the one that went left at the fork in the road, but it was somebody that we kind of relied on and had taken us to the Pit Stop about 45 minutes prior, so that was obviously frustrating.

The Yak: Did you both have a feeling that you could have beat Will and Gary to the mat?
Caitlin:: Yes, absolutely.

The Yak: What was the hardest challenge on the race?
Caitlin:: The hardest challenge for me was the balloon challenge. It was so hot, and we had to wear long sleeves because of their religious reasons, so I was on fire trying to do that task. The bike was too small for me, so my knees kept hitting the front of the Merry Go Round. In general, the hardest for us was that it was mentally draining throughout the whole race. You don’t realize that until you are actually racing. Also, having to experience the language barriers. It’s something you know you’re going to come in contact with, but we didn’t realize it was going to be as challenging as it ended up being.

Caitlin and Brittany learn their fate at the Pit Stop

The Yak: What was your favorite part of the race?
Brittany:: I would say being able to experience all the different cultures. It makes you appreciate and know how blessed we really are to do even the small things, like taking a shower. Just being able to experience the different cultures and travel the world on a competition, plus being able to meet the types of people that we did meet and create friends for life. It was definitely one of those experiences that we’re always going to look back and be so appreciative to have been a part of.

The Yak: Speaking of the other teams, were there any in particular that you got close with and have you stayed in touch since the race ended?
Caitlin:: We’ve become friends with a ton of the teams – Amy and Daniel; we were always really close with them. We became really close with the Sri Lankan twins, the Chippendales. Honestly, all of us are really, really close, but it was obviously easier for us to connect with the younger teams. We definitely plan on keeping in touch and meeting up at some point in the future.
Brittany: Yeah, we still talk with them, and we’re ready to cheer them all on.

The Yak: When you were arguing about the cost of the rickshaw ride, did you ever find out exactly how much you should have been charged?
Brittany:: The thing was that they had only showed a part of it. We had actually been standing there for about 15 minutes trying to pay the becak driver. It was one of those things where he wasn’t giving us any feedback. He was just staring at us, so we had people all around, like the locals, trying to tell us how much it was. He was asking different people, and it was one of those things that Gary and Will had already caught up with us and had started the challenge while we were still standing there trying to pay the driver. They were doing hand gestures, and when you’re in the heat of the moment, you’ve got to go because it’s only you and three other teams. We had to keep going because of the race, so it was one of those things where I came across as trying to hop out of the becak and yelling at the driver, but we had been standing there for 15 minutes trying to ask in a really respectful and nice way. When you have to get things done, it causes you to get frustrated, so we were like, “Listen, I’ve got stuff to do. How much is it?!?” You kind of put your foot down. I don’t think it was me trying to come across as arrogant when we were trying to pay. We just had no feedback, so that was what was frustrating.

The Yak: After you found out you were selected, did you do anything special to prepare for the race?
Caitlyn:: We’re both really competitive and into sports, so we knew that we could count on each other to stay in shape and be ready physically. That was the one thing we felt like we had control over, so we would always constantly be on each other’s work out plans. Also, Brittany is really good at coming up with different strategies, so she actually came up with a good idea to practice team-building skills by putting together a Lego truck, which was really hard because one of us would be at the other end of the room and had to talk the other one through the directions. We prepared as much as we could, but you really can’t prepare for the things that you do on the race.

The Yak: If you could, would you have changed anything that you did on the race?
Brittany:: Caitlin and I did the best we could at every challenge, so even with the third leg, I knew that in order for us to stay in the competition, I had to step up and represent Caitlin and I on that road block. I did it in five minutes, and it kind of worked out where we got to the train station at 7:54 and the first one left at 7:45, so we were right with the Sri Lankans. [CBS] kind of made it look different, but we were neck and neck with them at the train station. It’s just one of those things where we did what we could control. I definitely wouldn’t do anything differently, but at the same time, it just happened to come down to the becak driver. It was one of those things where I wish we could have communicated better. There’s nothing I would have changed, but I wish that America could have seen how we were so respectful of the culture and country we were in. It just came down to the way they edited it. They just saw the heat of the moment and coming down to the wire, which caused us to get competitive and determined to not get eliminated. They just showed a different side of us because we were there to win and to compete. We weren’t there to sit around and twiddle our fingers while riding a becak.

The Yak: So, what’s next for Caitlin and Brittany?
Caitlin:: I just moved from St. Louis to Atlanta, so it’s kind of exciting to start a new chapter in my life. It’s nice to be back in the South, since we both went to Auburn and I have a bunch of friends here, so it’s exciting.
Brittany:: I’m still in Chicago. I actually just took a job with a pharmaceutical company, so I’ve been busy with that and moving into a new place. I’m just trying to get settled, and looking forward to watching the rest of the race. We hate that we were out so early when we knew that we were a strong team.

The Yak: We were sorry to see you go, too! Thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it!
Caitlin:: Thank you!
Brittany:: Thank you so much!

The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Eliminated Team Daniel and Amy

With Leg 2 taking us to far away Indonesia, the 10 remaining teams battled it out to stay in The Amazing Race. Even though the playing field was pretty much leveled when the teams got to “race” the bulls, the ever-popular, often-lost Taxi Drivers ended up putting Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale as the last team to reach the Pit Stop. YakkityYaks had a chance to chat with the eliminated racers to find out what happened when Surabaya became “Sure, ya – bye-bye!”


The Yak: I have to know, because it seems to happen to at least one team every season – How frustrating was it to essentially be eliminated because of a cab driver?
It definitely was frustrating that we were unable to find the next clue as quickly as everyone else. Really, the cab drivers that we encountered were incredibly helpful or as helpful as they could be. It’s definitely frustrating that we were unable to find it quickly.
Amy: We’re athletes and we’re extremely competitive, so that made it even harder; knowing that we had exhausted all of our resources trying to find that location. In that area, hundreds of businesses had Wijaya in the name and there were tons of different Wijaya Motor type businesses, so we had pretty much gone to all of them. It was just trial and error trying to find the right one, especially since our cab driver didn’t know the exact location. Honestly, they were part of our team in getting there, so we switched cabs a couple of times. It got frustrating, but we just had to hand it over to the stars and hope that things line up for us.

Amy, how do you feel knowing that the elimination didn’t have anything to do with your leg slowing you down at all?
Amy: I’m grateful for that because I knew going into this race no matter how athletic and skilled I may be, I’m still running on mechanical legs and something could go wrong at any time. We were very prepared for it. The majority of the stuff in our backpacks was leg equipment. We sacrificed a lot of comfort just to make sure we had what we needed in case there was a mechanical failure. Going in, my biggest fear was thinking, “What if something happens with my leg?” I’m not just representing myself, but an entire community who are so capable and so able. I wanted to be a strong representation of that, and I think that I was. I’m so grateful, and my legs felt so good. That’s part of where the tears were coming from was just realizing my legs are not playing a negative role in this. I’m running just like everybody else, and I’m ready to keep going, but then, unfortunately, it was cut short for us.

Looking back at the first leg, when you helped out Abbey and Ryan by helping them find the lady with the abacus, it caused you to end up coming in second place. Do you regret helping them at all?
Daniel: We certainly don’t have any regrets about that. Like Amy said, we’re extremely competitive, but what is at the nature of us is giving. We run a non-profit organization that creates opportunities for injured veterans and young adults and kids with disabilities to get into snowboarding and skateboarding, sports like that. It was after a long leg of the race that we were being extremely competitive on, where they caught us with our guard down a little bit. It was more instinctual for us to help somebody who was in a bit of distress. Amy and I are both competitive snowboarders where we race in something called Boardercross, which is basically a Chinese downhill, where the first man to the bottom, wins. It’s about a sixty-second race, so when were racing snowboards, we’re on for 6o seconds. We’re sprinters, and although we’re extremely competitive, something that is drawn out over a couple of days, you’re not always on and they caught us in a moment when we weren’t all the way on. That kind of gave us a whack in the head and we definitely reset. The beginning of the second leg definitely showed that. We were really set to win it. We were out of the gate second, and we pretty much maintained second place through that whole leg until we got caught up in the cabs.

Speaking of the cabs, do you know how long you spent looking for Wijaya Motors and that clue?
Amy: We actually don’t know exactly how long it was. You lose track of time. It was long enough for us to realize that something’s wrong here. We had pretty much gone through one Wijaya Motors after the next, and after a handful of them, we realized this is not going to be as easy as we thought. We were up there for quite some time.

When you finally reached the Pit Stop, it came down to your team and Gary and Will. Do you know how far behind them you were?
Amy: We don’t know how close we were. I don’t think we were too far behind. At one point we went back to the balloon challenge, just to try and start back at the beginning for our search, and Will and Gary were there, so we thought, “Okay, well, we know we’re not out.” At that point, we had gotten a few more ideas of where Wijaya Motors could be and we headed that direction, but all of those places were not the right places either. I think their cab ended up taking them directly there, so we may have just been a little bit behind.

When you found out you were picked for the race, did you do anything special to prepare yourselves?
Daniel: Yeah, we did. We definitely watched every single episode of every single season. We worked out a lot. We ate really well. We worked out some more. We probably watched some more episodes. We really focused on the gear that we took. Like Amy said, we had a number of pieces that in case something went mechanically wrong with one of Amy’s legs, we had extra pieces for the feet and the prosthetics. We really focused on our packs, and we had really become minimalists as far as carrying stuff goes. I knew that if I needed to step in and carry Amy’s pack, not that she wasn’t capable of carrying her own pack, but just in case I needed to so that we might be able to move a little quicker, and that happened a number of times. For us, packing was a real significant piece to that, and then we worked out again. [laughs]
Amy: My biggest thing was making sure my legs were in order. Just in having prosthetic legs, I’m running in carbon-fiber sockets, so knowing that we may end up in places that had humidity, and since all the places we went were highly humid, my legs may have ended up fitting differently depending on the humidity of the area, so I worked with my leg maker quite a bit to get the legs just as perfect as possible for every situation. We live in the mountains, so we trail ran and we rode cycles and mountain biked. We put ourselves in different situations to see how my legs would hold up.
Daniel: Then we worked out again! [laughs]

What was the hardest challenge you faced during the race?
Amy: For us, we realized that the set challenges – the Detours, the Road Blocks – those were all quite easy. It was just a matter of getting the job done.
Daniel: I don’t know if “easy” is the right word, but it was something that we were very capable of tackling, so we would get a strategy going, mow things down and then move through them quite quickly. The biggest challenges were not the challenges themselves.
Amy: The biggest challenges were really the going from Point A to Point B. When we went into this, we had a strategy because we had watched all the other episodes, so we decided that even if it takes a bit longer, we were going to find English-speaking cab drivers because then we could have a full conversation and come up with game plans with them. Yet, when you’re just dropped off in the middle of these countries and there is not one person who speaks English within a 10-mile radius, that strategy goes quickly out the window when you just have to quickly get in the cab and go. So, for me: the language barrier, trying to find locations and being in these hectic cities where the cab drivers don’t necessarily know every business there.

What was your favorite part of the race?
Daniel: You know, the overall experience was just unbelievable and we’re extremely grateful to have just been selected and have the opportunity. For us, even though we were out second, we really are just looking at all the positives from it. Being able to see all of the amazing places that we were able to go to, and meet the other teams, who some of which will be life-long friends for us.
Amy: I think one of the coolest parts is that although we didn’t get much time to spend with the other teams, but even in the small amount of time, you really end up bonding with them because we’re all having the same experience. We all have such interesting backgrounds. For me, I knew how capable we were as a team, and I knew how capable I was individually, but of course I knew that my leg could be a disadvantage at some point. Yet, all the teams had a challenge of sorts. Everybody had some sort of adversity they were facing and trying to get through on the race, so I realized that the playing field was actually quite equal for all of us. That was kind of a big eye-opener for me. Also, for me, the best part was ripping the clue open because you could be going anywhere in the world and you have no idea where.

Speaking of the other teams, were you able to bond with any of them and have you been in touch since the race ended?
Amy: We didn’t get a lot of time to spend with them on the race. You have a little bit of time on airplanes, when you’re waiting for transportation – you can maybe just chat a little bit, but we appreciate all the other teams and we realized that everybody has their own story and their own background. There’s a handful of them that I know we’ll be in touch with forever.

If asked, would you consider coming back for an All-Star season?
Daniel: Absolutely!
Amy: Yeah, I think being athletes puts a fire inside of us to accomplish something, so because it was cut short for us, we still have it in us to want to keep going. It’s a challenge that we would be ready to accomplish if given another chance.

What’s next for Amy and Daniel?
Amy: After The Amazing Race ended, another race began. I’m a competitive snowboarder, and I’m currently one of the top in the World right now, so we found out about a week before the race started that our organization that we started together – Adaptive Action Sports – we helped to get snowboarding into the 2014 Paralympics Games for the first time. As soon as the race was over, we came back and I started training and our organization started working toward plans to train more athletes with disabilities to help make the US team to compete in the 2014 games.

That’s an awesome accomplishment! Congratulations and best of luck in the upcoming 2014 games!
Amy: Thank you so much!


Were you disappointed to see Daniele and Amy eliminated from The Race? Leave us a comment below!

Interested in having your question asked to the eliminated racers? Join us in the forum for our live TAR show chat (EST time) or visit our TAR forum anytime and let us know what you would like us ask!

The Amazing Race: Yak Chats with Rob & Sheila

Season 21 of The Amazing Race kicked off last night as 11 teams rappelled, volleyed and ate their way through a leg that started in Pasadena, California and ended in Shanghai, China. Although we had some surprises with a Double Roadblock and an eating challenge in the first leg, the race ended with Rob Scheer and Sheila Scheer (nee Castle) as the last team to reach the Pit Stop. YakkityYaks had a chance to chat with the eliminated racers on a conference call to discuss their “gone too soon” chance at the final prize. Check out what they had to say below.

Also, stayed tuned for some exciting Race news you’re not going to want to miss!


Rob & Sheila Scheer, The Amazing Race

The Yak: Sorry to see you go last night!
Rob: Wait… Where did we go? [laughs]

Looking back, what was the most difficult aspect of the race that you weren’t expecting?
Rob: I don’t know. I guess it boils down to one thing: the defeat.

Could you explain how you ended up getting lost trying to find the woman with the abacus?
Rob: We weren’t lost.
Sheila: It looked like we were lost.
Rob: No, we read the clue. The abacus – I knew exactly what it was. It’s an old Chinese apparatus for counting that goes back centuries. So, we stopped immediately to look on the Internet for a tourism-type indicator if there was anything special at The Bund about the woman with the abacus. The only thing we could find was that at The Bund there are three large banks, one being the Bank of China. One of the guys at the location said, “Oh, yeah. Bank of China. That’s where you want to go. There’s a woman with an abacus there.” We then spent 40 minutes looking for a woman with an abacus at the Bank of China. Everybody, whether they were British or local, kind of supported this theory that there was a woman with an abacus around this bank. One guy told us it was a carving on the back of the bank. So, then we went to back of the bank. So we get there, and they say, “Oh, no. It’s around the other bank.” It finally took us 40 minutes to get through the bank, and finally get out to waterfront to start looking.

Once you found the abacus and headed for the Pit Stop, you saw Jaymes and James pass you. Did you know at that point that it was between you two at the end, or did you think there might have been another team behind you?
Sheila: We hoped there was another team. We hadn’t seen the Beakman’s since the airport. Will and Gary had communicated to us that they were still searching also, which wasn’t true. They had lied to us. They were on the way to the Signal Tower when we had seen them, and they actually tried to deceive us and have us go toward the Signal Tower to look for the woman. We did not know on the foot race that we were so close and they passed us right there at the Signal Tower and came in ahead of us. We didn’t know until we got to the mat that we were the last to arrive.
Rob: There was nothing we could have done. We got the clue, we got out our map, Sheila was asking people about the Signal Tower, I found it on the map; that was all in about four minutes. We started running, and we ran as hard and as fast as we could since it was about a half-mile away. They passed us in the last 100 yards. Those guys are young and athletic, and they came charging up on us. We didn’t know they were there, and then there they were and they ran by us. I took Sheila’s pack, and we ran harder. They stayed ahead of us, and by the time we hit the steps, they were only 15 paces in front of us. That was that, but we thought that Will and Gary were still out there because just 15 minutes earlier, they told us they didn’t have the clue yet and that somebody told them where it was, so we should follow them. Then, they took off running toward the Signal Tower, so they already had the clue. When we were about half-way down to the Signal Tower, I told Sheila we had to stop and think about this. Right at that time, Trey and Lexi, who had just been at the Signal Tower, came running by and they told us it was the other way. So, we took off running with them, and we both got there at the same time and got our clue, but what we didn’t know is that seconds after that, they told the Chippendale’s guys where the clue was. So, the Chippendale’s got their clue and they took off running, so they just caught us.

Rob & Sheila, The Amazing Race 21’s first casualty

How do you both feel about how you finished the race, even though it was so close between your team and the Chippendale’s races (Jaymes and James)?
Sheila: That was tough because you know the Chippendale’s had been on the first plane, and it really, truly came down to a foot race right there at the end. It was really tough. The part about walking away from the race and we were completely committed. We wanted to participate in all the great challenges and completing this amazing adventure together, but as we walked away from the race, I think appreciating the country we live in and we were walking away together. We have this amazing relationship and this great life that we get to come home to, but we were very disappointed. It hurt.
Rob: I was pissed as hell. I was mad. I was really angry. I mean, we should have been there at the end on the last leg and we weren’t. I tell Sheila, “We shouldn’t have trusted anybody!” I look back and think, “Boy! What would I have done different?” I would have not, in any way, trusted anybody. I would have just kept to our own game.

Did you learn anything new about each other during the race?
Rob: The only thing I would say is that it was confirmation that I made a great choice in who my life partner is going to be. Did I learn anything? Yeah, I learned I made the right choice.

Which is tougher – The Amazing Race or planning a wedding?
Sheila: For me, it would have been The Amazing Race. Rob was our wedding planner, and he planned a beautiful wedding at Ghost Lake Lodge in Wisconsin. We were married August 5th, and it was beautiful.

Roadblock in Shanghai

The Yak: Congratulations on your wedding!
Rob: The wedding will be one of the highlights of my life. One of the happiest days for sure, but for The Amazing Race, as a 3-time World Champion, losing is not something that I take well. Losing on The Amazing Race has taught me one thing: it’s how to accept defeat with humility, and to not let it affect who I am and what I do. Being in The Amazing Race makes me more successful. Losing it does not make me less successful.
Sheila: It was heartbreaking, to be honest, to lose. To be the first ones out is horrifying, but we get to come back to a beautiful life in an amazing country. We have a partner next to us that we love, and we’re looking forward to a life together, so it’s not so bad.

So, now that the wedding is done, what’s next for the two of you?
Sheila: We opened last year a dinner theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The dinner show seats almost a thousand people, and it tells the story of the Smokey Mountain National Park. The setting is in the 1930s.
Rob: The story is about how they threw the lumberjacks out of the park to make it a National Park. The lumberjacks were very competitive and they feuded over the last remaining tracks of timber, but instead of using guns, they competed to see who would get the land. We tell that story, but my life has been about promoting lumberjack sports and telling the history of the American Lumberjack. I’ve been doing it for 30 years and I’m only halfway done telling the story. We’re going to recreate log drives and put it on film, which is something that’s never been done before. We’re expanding the sport worldwide and unifying it. There are a lot of things that we’ll continue to work on every day that’s part of our true life. My life has been like an Amazing Race, and it’s going to continue to be like The Amazing Race. So, we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to actually do it.

The Yak: Thanks so much for your time, and I wish you both all the best!
Sheila: Thanks, Jarrod!

Big Brother 14: Interview with 3rd Place Finisher Danielle Murphree

Danielle Murphree, the final Big Brother 14 Juror

Before Big Brother 14 could reveal the Final 2, there was one more eviction and one more Houseguest to add to the Jury. That eviction happened to Danielle Murphree, who was ousted by Ian after his win during Part 3 of the Final HOH competition. Danielle took some time out of her busy post-Big Brother life and held an interview session with the Yak and other press to answer some burning questions from the fans about Shane, her regrets in the game and, of course, putting all her trust in Dan. Here is a what Danielle had to say to all the questions posed! Let us know your thoughts below!


Q: Hey, Danielle, thanks for talking with us! You sound like you’re doing much better today?
Danielle: Thanks! Yeah, I wasn’t doing too hot last night or this morning either.

Q: Shane didn’t seem to return your affection a whole lot until the very last week when you won the HOH and Veto. Knowing what you know now, do you think his feelings were to secure his safety or do you think they were genuine?
Danielle: I think Shane’s feelings are genuine and I think he was so afraid of having a showmance because of exactly what happened.

Q: Everything that Dan did and said this summer, the one thing that got me the most was when he told Shane that you were playing him (Shane) all along. Have you had a chance to discuss that win Dan and how did you feel about that final lie?
Danielle: When I found that out, I was livid. I’m still mad about it. Why would Dan even do that to me? I talked to Shane about it and I said it was totally, one hundred percent not true. I was never playing him. Dan was just trying to run me under the bus for whatever reason. Dan and I haven’t talked about it. Dan and I are not on speaking terms.

Q: Do you think that will change in the future?
Danielle: I don’t know. I found out a lot of stuff last night after the finale that I’m just really not happy with at all. Right now, I can really answer that question. I’m too mad.

Q: One thing that a lot of your neigh Sayers wanted to know about was when you were telling stories about yourself; you embellished your life resume a lot, including talking about your breasts and being Miss Alabama.
Danielle: I never said I was Miss Alabama. My best friend was Miss Alabama. When we talked about Miss Alabama, it was a joke. They were making fun of my Memory Wall picture because they said it looked like Miss Alabama, like a pageant photo. They knew I was never Miss Alabama. I said I did pageant back in high school. About my boobs, I do have a capsule on my right breast, like a scar tissue mass, and I do have to have it removed. It’s nothing serious, but it does need to be changed.

Q: As the season unfolded, it seems like people underestimated you, so are you underestimated in your daily life?
Danielle: I guess people underestimate me because some people might think I’m too sweet or naïve, where I don’t really know what’s going on. It doesn’t really bother me because I know who I am.

Big Brother 14’s Dan Gheesling & Danielle Murphree

Q: Going back to Dan, you said you’re not talking to him right now, but how long do you think it’ll take you to get over it?
Danielle: I have no idea. Some of the comments he’s made during the interviews since the show ended are worse then some of the things that actually happened on the show.

Q: What did he say? What have you heard?
Danielle: I didn’t hear this directly from his mouth, but that he was really going to take Ian into the Final 2 and that the last speech at the finale was all for show. Whether it’s true or not, I’ll have to wait to see.

Q: As you now know, Dan used you during the whole game to further himself. Even towards the end when you used your Veto to save Dan and put Shane on the block, which compromised your position in the game. Did you know that Shane would possibly be evicted?
Danielle: I truly believed that Dan was going to save Shane. Dan had made a Final 3 with Shane and I. Dan swore to me, and even said to me in my HOH room, “I’ll do whatever you want if you’re HOH.” He was getting a little paranoid and I didn’t want him to pull any more antics on me. I didn’t want Shane to be the one to evict Ian to where Ian wouldn’t vote for Shane [to win]. I regret that decision wholeheartedly.

Q: Did you not think that this could have been another antic of his?
Danielle: He swore up and down to me, and I laugh about it now, about how he would never, ever do it again. His antics were over. He swore on everything, like 5 minutes before we had to sit down for that live show, that Shane was safe. I had no idea about him and Ian.

Q: With that being said, do you agree with what Wil had said during the Finale about how you should take responsibility for believing in Dan’s lies?
Danielle: Yeah, it’s my fault. He fooled me several times. It’s definitely my fault.

Q: After you sat down with the Jury, you appeared to lean over to say something to someone off camera, but the microphones didn’t pick up what you said. What were you trying to tell the Jury at that point?
Danielle: I was just asking Jenn what was going on. I wanted to know what the feeling was because when I sat down there was just a very awkward vibe in the Jury. Plus, I had just heard Britney’s comment before [about hoping she was the last Jury member], so I was just confused.

Q: Going back to some of the stories you told the other Houseguests that didn’t really seem accurate, was that a strategy you had or were you just playing with the other Houseguests? For example, when you came back and said that Janelle was yelling at you when we saw it was a very calm conversation or you said you made Ian cry.
Danielle: Ian did tear up. I did make him cry. I guess I exaggerated that a little bit. Yeah, Janelle didn’t yell at me. Janelle was very sweet with me. I guess it was more game play because I was more trying to test the waters with Dan to see, since I thought that him and Janelle might have some kind of deal. I exaggerated it a bit. It was poor game play. I shouldn’t have. I do apologize, but it wasn’t to maliciously hurt anybody.

Q: Despite everything that Dan kept doing to you, you kept going back to him. Why were you so willing to forgive him and try again?
Danielle: Dan would make the comment that he hadn’t done anything to hurt me in the game. When I would try to recall, he hadn’t hurt my game and he had never voted to evict me. I wanted to believe that he was a good person because I kept thinking back to season 10 and how he was a good guy. I was completely mystified by him.

Danielle sits with host Julie Chen

Q: Talking about Part 1 of the final HOH competition where you threw it to Dan after he proved his point with Ian jumping off, do you regret doing that now and if you hadn’t thrown it, do you think you could have outlasted him?
Danielle: I knew I had to make a decision up there. I knew if I hung on longer, I would lose his trust, and then even if I threw it, it wouldn’t matter since he’d be upset with me. Looking back, yes, I regret it. Yes, I wish I would have hung on. He said that he would have beat me in that competition, but I don’t know. I had a lot of will power and I was so mad that Shane walked out that door.

Q: With all the anger you feel toward Dan, if it had been you, Dan and Shane in the Final 3 and you had the choice, who were you going to take to the Final 2?
Danielle: I would have gone with my heart and could have never wronged Shane since he never wronged me, I would have taken Shane. However, I wouldn’t have let myself get into that position to have to decide. I did not want to decide. I probably would have just let the guys duke it out.

Q: Why do you think you were the only one that voted for Dan?
Danielle: Because I think everyone in the Jury talked about how Dan treated people and what Dan had said to everybody. I think the way you treat people is really important in this game and I think that they were just so mad at how it all went down and how everybody left. I don’t blame them.

Q: Do you think it was that or were they jealous that he might be a 2-time winner? That’s part of the game of Big Brother.
Danielle: Since I wasn’t sitting in Jury, I have no idea. After the show, I only hung out with Wil, Kara, Janelle and Shane. Jojo and I didn’t talk. Dan waved at me from afar.

Q: If you had been able to get into the Final 2, how good do you think your chances were to win?
Danielle: If I would have been against Dan, I think I would have won. I think if I was against Ian, he still would have won cause Ian deserved to win.

Q: You didn’t get to hear this because you were still in the House last night, but the Jury got together to discuss the Final 3 and what they thought of each of you. When she was still in the House, you were pretty close with Britney and you developed a great friendship, but when it came to discussing you with the Jury, she sided with Ian and said that she thought you really didn’t deserve to win. Do you take that personally or are you able to separate the personal from the game?
Danielle: I did take it personal. It did hurt my feelings, but it doesn’t change my outlook on Britney. I didn’t get to defend myself. I didn’t get to say anything, so she’s just going off of he-said/she-said stuff in the Jury. I don’t take it personally, and I still love her to death.

Q: If Big Brother decided to do another twist in the future where player’s return, which obviously is quite common, would you ever be interested in playing again?
Danielle: I wouldn’t say I would never go back, but I’m not going to say it’s a definite possibility. It all depends on who’s playing. At this moment, I really don’t think that I would ever want to play with Dan again because emotionally I can’t go through that stress. I think that if Dan wasn’t coming back with all his antics, I might do it again.

Q: What was your favorite moment of the summer?
Danielle: I loved the Wil impersonations! I loved when Wil would look at the Memory Wall and joke around. Wil definitely made the House more fun!

Q: Will you be going to the Wrap Party in Vegas or the one tonight?
Danielle: I will not be going to the party in Vegas, but it’s possible I’ll attend the one tonight.

Q: Will you be going on Twitter any time soon?
Danielle: Maybe. I don’t know. I really don’t like the negative stuff. It gets to me, so I try not to look at it.

Q: What’s in the future for Danielle? What do you plan on doing now – going back to nursing, staying in Alabama, moving to Hollywood?
Danielle: I’m not moving to Hollywood. I’ll definitely stay in Alabama. I will go back to nursing as soon as some of this stuff dies down.

Q: As it worked out, you ended up being the last woman in the House. Was this part of your strategy or was it just how things worked out?
Danielle: It was just how things worked out. It was never my intention to be the last woman. I’m very proud and flattered to be the last woman, but it would have been nice to have another female presence in the House.

Final 3 – Danielle, Ian, and Dan

Q: You mentioned that it’ll take some time to work up to being friends with Dan again, but looking at how Ian and Dan played the game, do you regret your vote for Dan?
Danielle: I don’t like to play the “Would of/Could of/Should of” or the “What if?” game, but I am glad that Ian won. I think it would have been nice for Ian to win 7-0 because I think he does deserve it, but I did give my word to Dan. I did say I would vote for him, so in that sense, I didn’t want to break my word. I just wish I never would have told Dan that I would have voted for him.

Q: When you first got out of the House and sat down with Julie, it looked like there was a crowd reaction that maybe you saw something going on between Dan and Ian in the House. Did you see anything?
Danielle: Yeah, I saw them jump around and I saw Dan was laughing and giggling when he did the “Suck It” move. I was thinking, “Are you serious?”

Q: For a long time, Dan was going to take you to the Final 2. It was near the end where he panicked and thought he was going to lose to you, so he switched to Ian, so don’t feel too bad.
Danielle: He switched to never take me, even after he got rid of Shane?

Q: It was after he realized that Ian was not going to throw the final part of the HOH.
Danielle: It’s just kind of disappointing, when he did say over and over again that his goal the whole game was to get him and his player to the end and he didn’t have any intention of doing that.

Q: So, what’s the future hold between you and Shane?
Danielle: I guess just to see what happens, but I’m definitely not going to not pursue something. We’re definitely hanging out later today. I think we can make it work, for sure. I know we’re both going to pursue something and try it out. We’ll hope for the best.

Q: What are the obstacles for the two of you?
Danielle: The distance. Alabama and Vermont are a long way away, but he is such a great guy and an amazing, amazing person, that I’m not going to let the distance get between us.

Q: Do you think that you’re in love with him?
Danielle: Mm-hmmm. I could be.

Thanks for taking time to talk with us today, Danielle.
Danielle: Thank you!


What do you think about what Danielle had to say? Leave us a comment below, then come on in and join us in the forum!

Big Brother 14: The Yak Chats with Mike “Boogie” Malin

Last night’s eviction of Mike “Boogie” Malin was one of those evenings on Big Brother where it polarized fans – either you were happy to see him leave or you were upset that he missed his chance to defend his title. There’s usually very little feeling in between about the Season 7 winner. Boogie is aware of the impression that he leaves on the viewers, and took some time to sit down with YakkityYaks today to talk about his thoughts on who’s an idiot, if he regrets taking any money during the competitions and, of course, the mastermind himself, Ian.

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OK, so I must know…now that you’ve had time to process Ian being the one behind your eviction, what are your thoughts?
Mike “Boogie”: I’m impressed. I thought Ian was just a super fan; a young kid who was happy to be there. I gave him very little credit as far as game play, and I was 100% completely fooled. I salute him; I tip my cap to him; I love him still the same. It sent chills down my spine. I had no idea.

Several times, you and Frank had conversations about if there was a chance that Ian was betraying you. You even mentioned that it would be a great play of his. Do you still feel that way?
Mike “Boogie”: I’m glad the way this went down. If I was evicted simply because Joe was too much of an idiot to join us, and I lost [by a vote of] 4-3 because of that, I would have been bitter. This way, I’m super proud of Ian. I loved his Goodbye Message to me. It gave me chills. I’ve been saying it’s like “Primal Fear” – there’s an innocent choir boy accused of murder and then at the end [it shows] he planned the whole thing. He fools Richard Gere. That’s exactly how I felt.

I’m going to be frank with you (no pun intended): I watched past seasons and I was never a Boogie fan. You started changed me around this year. Were you trying to change your style from previous seasons?
Mike “Boogie”: I realized I’m not one of the more popular people. I play an aggressive style. I play a villainous style. When I’m down, I’m down, and I express myself sometimes in negative ways. I can honestly say this time around was a little different for me. I did stay loyal to Frank, and we fought as hard as we could, but everyone thought we knew each other and that was some sort of twist because we were so tight. We were just in trouble pretty much every week. If Frank didn’t win HOH, we were fighting for our lives and I knew that it was going to be really hard for me to go far once the twist happened.

Speaking of the twist, you were the only Coach to not hit the reset button this season.
Mike “Boogie”: Did you say I was the only person not to hit the button? [loud bursts of laughter] That’s even more impressive because I knew that Dan pressed it, I figured Janelle pressed it, but I’ll give it to that little Britney, she’s a good actress. I thought she had enough confidence in Shane and that she did not press it, so I’m kind of surprised that she pressed it, but I was sure the other two did. [Boogie had the most surprising reaction to our question here. He sounded GENUINELY convinced that Britney did not press the reset button, as she claimed.]

What did you think of both Britney’s goodbye message to you and that Dan’s vote to evict were basically as payback for Janelle?
Mike “Boogie”: I loved Britney’s goodbye message, for one thing. I thought that was awesome. When I do the goodbyes, I can expect them in return to come back to me, so I thought it was great TV. I’m a monster player in this game that they all needed to get out. I was going for them. They were going for me. I got Janelle. They got me. Frank is going to get one of them. That’s just the nature of this game. I think it would have been good to play with Dan a bit more, but people were very threatened by Frank and me, so we had to go.

It seems like a lot of the players turned on you when you went for the $10,000 rather then safety or HOH. How do you feel about that? Do you think that was your ultimate mistake in your game plan?
Mike “Boogie”: Absolutely not. I have no regrets for the $10,000 or any other comp that I played. At the time I completely trusted the Silent Six Alliance, which seems so ridiculous to say now, but I’m happy that I took the prizes. With the way things had gone, it would have been an uphill battle for me to win this game. I basically left with 3rd place money. I’ll make more than the person who finishes in 3rd place, so if I can’t sit in the final 2 seats, I’m ecstatic that I took the money.

However, a lot of other players (like Britney and Ian) talked about you going for the money.
Mike “Boogie”: There was always a thing about me having money in my real life and them not. You’re always going to deal with that when you go on these types of shows. I took $16,000 away from the experience. As soon as the twist happened, I knew it would be almost impossible for me to win the $500,000 again, so now I don’t have to sit there all summer. I can go be with my family and friends, and enjoy the rest of my summer and everyone else has to be on the Jury. One person is going to leave happy and eight others are going to leave unhappy.

Focusing on the Coaches, you really did have a tight team together to go against the newbies, but then you broke down after the reset. What was the reason behind that?
Mike “Boogie”: Janelle was playing such a nasty game. One strategy that I learned by playing with rookies again, which I haven’t done in 11 years, was if you got to somebody first and you said that somebody said something about them, they believed it. I kind of forgot that you could do that, and I wasn’t going to stoop to that level. Janelle really bought into that game this year, and she couldn’t be trusted. The person I disliked the most in the House was Joe, and for some reason, Janelle kind of didn’t put much stock in Wil and Ashley, so she sort of used Joe as her Number One guy. They disgusted me so much. That week, no one was willing to put up one of their own players. I told Janelle, “OK, you want to work together? Put up one of your guys,” but she wouldn’t do it.

What was your favorite experience from the whole summer?
Mike “Boogie”: Voting out Janelle.

Was that a personal or strategic decision?
Mike “Boogie”: It would typically be strategic, but because of the way she was badmouthing me, I felt really, really satisfied not only in voting her out, but getting all those people together to get her out. It took a lot of work, it saved Frank, and it got out Janelle, so to me that was the most satisfying.

Who did you have the most trouble reading in the House?
Mike “Boogie”: Ian. [laughs] I was obviously the most wrong about Ian, but as far as the person that I never really knew what was up was Joe. He’s a classic power chaser. For me, last night, I wouldn’t have wasted my speech time on him, but I really thought I had three votes and I just needed his. I played a sympathy card for two days, and I really thought I might be able to pull on his heartstrings a little bit by mentioning his family, but ultimately with what Ian had going on, that clearly didn’t matter. Don’t get it confused; I’m certainly not saying he’s some smart player. He’s basically an idiot.

If Frank and Ian can’t get to the Final 2, who would you like to see make it there?
Mike “Boogie”: I think Dan would totally deserve it. If Dan sits in the Final 2 seats against anyone but Frank, he’ll win. If you want my pick of someone who I think might sneak up, it’s Danielle. She might be a classic 2nd-placer, like a Porsche or an Erica. I do think Danielle might find her way to one of those final 2 seats.

Why were you interested in trading Jenn when you were still a Coach?
Mike “Boogie”: Jenn to me was playing the classic 2nd place game – stay out of the fray, play a decent social game, and float to the end – but you can’t stand up to get the votes. There’s no speech you can give that will talk people into giving you the vote. I didn’t want a player like that, especially in a cast of rookies. Perhaps in an All-star season you can bring someone like that who can talk their way into it, but if a floater is sitting against someone who won 5 competitions, it’s not going to happen.

Did you know that you have a Twitter account now?
Mike “Boogie”: I didn’t realize that.

Before we go, I wanted to tell you that you had a very classy exit last night.
Mike “Boogie”: Thank so much! I appreciate your time!