The extremes of Japanese culture found their way into cowboy culture Sunday night when Jet and Cord McCoy competed in the third leg of “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business.”
Through the hour-long show, which was recorded last November and December, the McCoys and nine other teams raced around the Tokyo area tackling challenges and trying to stave off elimination in the race around the world for $1 million.
The brothers began the episode in third place, then left Sydney for Tokyo. There were two flights up for consideration, one a direct and another that connected through Hong Kong. The direct through Qantas Airlines was scheduled 15 minutes later than the connection on Cathay Pacific, so half the teams took the chance on the connection in order to try for a 15-minute head start.
“Jet and I’s idea was to get the guaranteed straight through flight,” said Cord, who competed in the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series event this weekend, the Chicago Invitational, where he rode one bull and finished in a tie for 17th place.
The five teams that took the Qantas trip arrived an hour and five minutes ahead the others, however, when one of the connection flights was delayed.
Once in Tokyo, the teams had to find their way to the city of Kamakura for a challenge, a “road block.” But first, each team had to get a car from a Tokyo parking garage, which featured a large mechanical cylinder that rotated the vehicles around to a ground-level position, and the unique way of parking cars was noted.
“I just thought I’d get me a soda pop out of it,” Cord said of the machine.
While teams made their way to the Yabusama Dojo to take part in the “road block,” the McCoys seemed to have some trouble navigating the streets around Japan’s largest city. At one point, the brothers were eastbound, when they should have been driving south.
“We’ve been driving around, and all the signs are in Japanese,” Jet said.
When they finally arrived at the dojo, Jet and Cord were in ninth place, ahead only of the NFL cheerleaders, Jaime Edmondson and Cara Rosenthal. But Cord cut through the challenge fairly quickly, from dressing as a samurai to learning the proper Yabusame ritual and techniques that are needed to hit a target using a bow and arrow from a wooden horse.
“You know, I’m from Oklahoma,” Cord said. “I shoot a bow and arrow; I feel right at home.”
Home at that time was seventh place for the cowboys, both of whom own five world championships from the International Professional Rodeo Association.
The next challenge was a “detour,” where the teams chose from “cleansing” their purity or seeking the frog of luck. The brothers took a stab at the latter, where they stripped down to diaper-looking outfits and searched into a mud pit while onlookers pelted them with mud. The teams’ objective was to find a frog, then give it to the grandmaster, who then gave them the next clue.
“Cord was sporting that Japanese loin cloth,” Jet said, his words tailing off.
“I do what I can, man,” Cord replied. “I do what I can.”
In an interview format that aired during the show, Cord revealed that throughout the challenge he was looking for a live amphibian, not the plastic frog that was the muddy prize.
“I kept listening for the ‘brrrp,’ ” he said while imitating the sound a frog makes. “Live frogs jump at any time, so, you know, you want to stay quiet, stay down.”
Then he looked to his brother and said, “The frogs weren’t alive. Did you know that?”
Jet just nodded his head.
Once the teams finished their “detour” challenges, they raced to Commodore Perry’s Landing and the “pit stop” for the third leg of the race. Zev Glassenberg and Justin Kanew won the leg, their second straight victory, and the McCoys placed sixth. The father-son team of Mel and Mike White were eliminated, leaving just nine teams.