The bottom line is that Jet and Cord McCoy are competitors, from brotherly contests growing up to competing for rodeo championships or racing around the world for $1 million.
That’s why they’re back competing in the CBS-TV reality series “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business,” which will air at 7 p.m. (Central) Sundays beginning Feb. 20. Season 18 of the show will feature the return of contestants who did not win the top prize their first time on the series.
The brothers, who grew up on the family’s ranch near the southeast Oklahoma community of Tupelo, finished second last spring in Season 16 of the reality program. During the 12-week series, the cowboys became fan favorites, and already there is a distinct buzz about Season 18. So what drew the McCoys back to the show?
“I think it’s the thing that drew us the first time,” said Jet McCoy, 31, a five-time International Professional Rodeo Association champion who lives in Ada, Okla., with his wife, Ashlee, and their daughter, Ti Silver. It’s the “competition and just being entered and a shot at $1 million.”
Eleven teams will begin the race around the world for the top prize. Along the way, they will face challenges through the various legs of the race. Typically the first team to conclude a leg of the race earns a prize, while last team will be subject to elimination. The team that completes the final leg of the race will be crowned champion.
“Everybody’s been there, done that,” Jet said of this season’s cast. “A lot of teams that are returning, it was just one mistake, one thing happened that knocked them out, and it’s something they could learn from.
The McCoys made a few mistakes in Season 16, but they overcame most of them. In fact, the brothers won four of the 12 legs of the race – they won two sailboats, a trip to Alaska, a trip to Patagonia and a trip to Maui.
“When we got done the first time, I thought, ‘Wow, what a once-in-a-lifetime experience,’ ” said Cord McCoy, 30, who also owns five IPRA titles and has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and the Professional Bull Riders World Finals. “Surprise. Apparently there was some ‘Unfinished Business’ for us.”
The race was recorded over 28 days last November and December. In fact, the brothers took off on their venture just days after Cord celebrated his wedding for the former Sara Best – the Maui trip was used for the honeymoon. And while there was a familiarity in the situation – Cord had just proposed to Sara before the Season 16 race, then had to leave for a month without contact with his new fiancé – it was still difficult for the McCoys to say goodbye.
“It was more difficult for me this time,” Jet said. “The first time you really didn’t know what it was going to be like. It was the first time I had been away from my family since we’d been married. This time I knew what it was going to be like, so it was definitely harder.”
Since the show was recorded months ago, it enables the brothers to watch each episode, typically with those closest to them.
“We had more family get-togethers from the ‘Amazing Race 16,’ ” Cord said. “We had 12 family reunions. That was so awesome to spend that much time with your whole family. I’m looking forward to it.”
So is his brother.
“That was, by far, the most fun for me the first time around,” Jet said. “Every Sunday night we had a big get-together with family and friends.”
This season’s series, “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business,” has an appropriate name. The race around the world is amazing, the brothers said, and they’d like to improve upon their second-place finish from last spring.
“We don’t have any regrets from the first race, but on the other hand, to be that close and finish second is a big disappointment,” Jet said in a CBS video biography on the cowboys. “There are so many outside variables in this thing that it’s really anybody’s game. In this game, everybody’s already been through once, so they know what to expect … or think they do.
“So it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be all out. It’s going to be interesting.”