With the father-daughter team of Gary and Mallory Ervin hot on their tails, brothers Jet and Cord McCoy sprinted to the “pit stop” in first place during the fifth leg of “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business.”
It marked the first time in the 18th season of the CBS reality TV series the cowboys have met host Phil Keoghan ahead of the other teams in the race around the world for the $1 million first-place prize. The McCoys, raised on a ranch near Tupelo, Okla., finished second in Season 16, which aired 12 episodes from February-May in 2010.
Last spring the brothers won four legs of the race, earning three trips and a pair of sailboats. For their first win of this spring’s show, the McCoys earned $5,000 each. That prompted Cord to toss his cowboy hat, a regular occurrence in their world of rodeo when a winning feat is accomplished.
The teams began the leg in Li Jiang, China, and all were awaiting the same train ride to Kunming, China, on the first steps of the leg. But they didn’t let a little down time get in the way of a good time while at the Li Jiang Train Station.
“All the teams got there, and we were sitting around, and I knew ‘Flight Time’ had told me they had a basketball,” Cord said, referring to Herb Lang, one of two Globetrotters on the race. “Hey, I see a basketball goal.”
So they put together a three-on-three game pitting Jet, Flight Time and LaKisha Hoffman against Cord, Nate “Big Easy” Loften and Jennifer Hoffman, LaKisha’s sister teammate.
“Who would’ve ever thought we’d be playing basketball …” Jet said.
“Two cowboys …” Cord added.
“… With the Harlem Globetrotters, in China,” Jet said.
“Wow,” Cord said.
“It was like playing basketball with trees,” Jet said.
Once in Kumning, the teams had to find their way to the Dounan Flower Market, where they found the clue that directed them to the Golden Horse and Jade Cock Memorial Arches. The McCoys were in seventh place when they left the flower market.
But the cab the brothers used took them to a McDonald’s – a Golden Arches instead of the memorial arches. The brothers moved to last place among the nine teams by the time they reached the memorial. There the teams faced their first detour, choosing either a challenge to honor the past, watching a traditional Tibetan performance, or embracing the future, which is what the McCoys chose.
There they offloaded complete solar water heating system from a truck, then carried it up a few flights of stairs to the roof of a building to install it. The cowboys were the fourth team to arrive at the building and the second to leave, moving from last to sixth overall.
Once the teams finished their detours, the clues led them to a double “U-turn” section of the race, where two teams can slow down two other teams by forcing them to do the other side of the detour. The mother-son team of Margie and Luke Adams reached the “U-turn” first, followed by the McCoys. Neither of those teams chose to force the penalty on any other teams, but the Goth couple Kent Kaliber and Vyxsin Fiala penalized the former NFL cheerleaders Jaime Edmondson and Cara Rosenthal, who directly followed that by penalizing the Globetrotters.
The next clue took the teams to the Stone Forest, where they had to put together a life-size dinosaur. Jet handled the task for the cowboys, who arrived at the Stone Forest in fifth place.
“I went back and checked the little diagram more than anybody to make sure, as I went, I kind of had it all together,” Jet said.
The Ervins, who arrived last at the Stone Forest, opted to use the Express Pass they earned by winning the first challenge. Jet finished the dinosaur puzzle first, so the cowboys took off on the rest of the leg of the race. In fact, the McCoys passed the Ervins before leaving the Stone Forest and held the lead to the “pit stop” at Green Lake Park.
The cheerleaders, Edmondson and Rosenthal, finished last and were eliminated. The remaining eight teams will continue the race for $1 million when they’re scheduled to visit India in next week’s episode.