The Amazing Race: The Yak Chats with Rob and Kelley

Rob French & Kelley Carrington-French

With last week’s Amazing Race giving us (and The Fabulous Beekman Boys) a non-elimination leg reprieve, the sixth leg pushed things into overdrive with a race from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Istanbul (not Constantinople!), Turkey. Although the leg was rife with drama (lost money! shared guilt! still not Constantinople!), the Monster Truckers, Rob French and Kelley Carrington-French, found themselves as the last team to the Pit Stop and out of the race for the one million dollar prize. The team recently sat down with Yakkity Yaks to discuss their thoughts on their travels, the sights and the shady ladies known as the Sri Lankan twins.


The Yak: Throughout the race, it really seemed like your travel choices were affecting your ability to move toward the front of the pack. What drove your decision to make the choices you did, such as the longer layover in Hong Kong and the metro line in Istanbul?
Kelley: We’re not followers. We don’t like to follow what the other people do. We definitely like to make our own choices and decisions. The first choice, when we decided to take the plane to Hong Kong, was we were just thinking that Hong Kong has such a huge airport that surely there’d be a lot more choices once we got there, so we could get there, do some research and find other choices. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. For the metro, we had asked around while we were on the airplane and then once we got in the airport what would be the best way for transportation. The people that lived there said the city streets were so busy and so clogged in the morning that the metro would be the best choice. Unfortunately, that day, the city was not very busy.

The Yak: Along the same lines regarding your choices, it’s been talked about that you were well known for your decision to ditch the backpacks and go with a rolling bag. What was the reason behind that? Did you find that it helped or hindered your race at all?
Kelley: It definitely didn’t hinder us at all. You can only go so fast. You all have to go through the airports, and there’s only so much time to get from point A to point B, then you all have to wait in line once you get there. You’re going down a city street or you’re doing a task, so you’re not carrying it. It definitely didn’t hurt us at all. They could go just as fast as we could go. They also were backpacks that could hang on our backs. The advantage was not having to carry that stuff around 24/7. When you’re in the airport and hanging around there for 10 hours, you don’t have to carry 40 or 50 pounds around with you. We just rolled them around, so they didn’t hurt us at all.

The Yak: Let’s get candid for a moment – which of the teams did you find the most annoying to compete against?
Rob: (in a high-pitched voice) “Twinney! Twinney!”
Kelley:  (laughs) Well, they were loud and they just talked constantly.
Rob: Also, Ryan and Abbie!
Kelley: Yeah, Ryan was a bit on the hyper side. Everybody else was pretty much laid back.

The Yak: Who did you get along with the best out of all the teams?
Kelley:  We got along with the Beekman Boys really well. We got along with James and Abba. We really didn’t have any conflicts with anybody. When we had down time, it didn’t matter who we were with, if we were at the airport or wherever we were waiting, we got along with everybody.

The Yak: Unlike most of the couples on the race, both during this season and in previous seasons, you did seem to bicker at all. How were you able to communicate so well during the very stressful moments of the race?
Kelley: We work together every day and our jobs are very stressful, so we’re use to working together under stress. We kind of know each other’s personalities, and we know  when to shut up or when to say something, so for me, it was just a regular day at work. It was easy to get along and go through the motion of getting the job done.
Rob: I felt that the race wasn’t nearly as stressful as our everyday life with our businesses. We own multiple businesses, and me and Kelley are together 24/7, so it was just another day at the office without all the stress.

The Yak: Since the race wasn’t as difficult as your work lives, what did you find was the hardest challenge that you faced?
Kelley: For me, the physically hardest challenge was building that scale. The heat of the day was tremendous and I had a long-sleeved, thermal shirt on, so I was sweating twice as much. We didn’t have any fluids at first to drink, and everything was tall, so I had to keep moving 50 pounds of stuff, stacking them one on top of the other to get to the top of my scale. It just took a toll on me.
Rob: I didn’t have any hard challenges. My only challenge that was hard was standing there having to watch Kelley work so hard and not being able to help her.

Rob & Kelley in Dhaka
Rob & Kelley in Dhaka

The Yak: What was your favorite part of the race?
Rob: I think carrying the bamboo was my most favorite part. Other than every time I went to the mat, I would be so excited that Phil would back up about 3 feet because he was afraid I was going to eat him.
Kelley: I enjoyed pretty much the whole thing. The exciting part was stepping off the bridge [during the first task of the race in Pasadena, California]. It was something I had never done in my life, and it definitely would have been something I never would have chose to do, saying, “Oh, let’s go rappel off a bridge!” That was really fun and exciting!

The Yak: Did you do anything special to prepare for the race after you found out you had been selected?
Kelley: Not really. We were still living our lives. Rob was doing the monster truck shows and I was still rodeoing, so we just kind of pulled it together the last week, packed our stuff, and went to California.

The Yak: Have you kept in touch with any of the other teams since the race ended?
Rob: I just spoke with Josh this morning. I talk to Abba at least once a week. We talk to Will from “David and Goliath.” Those were the teams that we really communicated with. Abbie – she sends me Facebook messages all the time, but with Ryan, we don’t really communicate with him because he’s a different kind of guy.
Kelley: Plus, the others are pretty much in a whole another generation.
Rob: With the twins [Natalie and Nadiya] and the Texans [Trey and Lexi], now that I saw the last show, I don’t care to ever communicate with them.
Kelley: Yeah, it was a bit of a shocker.

The Yak: It seemed to have really polarized people one way or the other about those two teams.
Rob: The bottom line is that there is no place in my life for thieves. I just felt like that was the wrong move.

The Yak: Looking at your own moves, would you have changed anything about the way you ran the race?
Rob: I would have changed anything.
Kelley: Not really. Perhaps, the hindsight of seeing that there was such a delay in our arrival at the last place from taking the metro. Aside from that, I would play the game the same. We depend on each other to make our own decisions. We thought we did great on every task that we had to accomplish, so we wouldn’t change things.

The Yak: Speaking of the tasks, in looking at the detours from the last leg, what made you decide to go with the delivery task versus the bath?
Rob: We didn’t have any money.
Kelley: Well, our money supply was low because the taxi charged us so much money in the last country, and then in this country, he said it was going to be “x” amount of dollars to take us where we had to go and then he charged us double. So, when we got there and read the clue, we saw you had to buy your own bath supplies or you could go deliver the bread. We figured if we buy the bath supplies, we don’t know how much they are and if we have to take another taxi or train, we won’t have the money, so we went ahead with the manual labor.

The Yak: What’s next for Rob and Kelley?
Kelley: We’re just living life. Rob just went to Guatemala and Nicaragua with the monster truck. We’re getting ready to go to Argentina in December with the monster truck. I just got back from our PRCA circuit final rodeo down in Davie, Florida, this past weekend, and I’m off to another rodeo in Texas this weekend.
Rob: Hopefully, Hollywood calls us and we become big superstars. (laughs)
Kelley: No, not me! (laughs)

The Yak: We’ll make sure to pass your name around to our big-shot friends in Hollywood!
Rob: Thanks, buddy!

The Yak: Thank you so much for your time! We really enjoyed watching you on the show, and we were sorry to see you go.
Kelley: Thank you!
Rob: Thank you so 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!