If the $1 million prize for winning “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business” weren’t enough, Jet and Cord McCoy have plenty of motivation for taking part in the CBS-TV reality series.
“My family’s making as big a sacrifice for me to be here as I’m making for me to be here,” Jet said during the sixth leg of the race, which aired Sunday night. “My wife … she’s staying home taking care of my 2-year-old girl, taking care of the ranch, same as Cord’s wife. So that’s a little added incentive. We really don’t want to go home empty-handed.”
The cowboys were the first team to leave from their starting spot in Kunming, China, after winning the fifth leg of the race, but they were just two minutes ahead of the father-daughter- team of Gary and Mallory Ervin. The teams began the trip by taking parting in a traditional tea tasting at the Jin Fu Yi Zhan Tea Shop before leaving Kunming for Kolkata, India. All the teams were on the same flight, which landed in the bustling commercial capital of eastern India.
As the teams ran out of the airport to take separate taxis to Town Hall, they were surrounded by what seemed like thousands of people. They also realized there was a high level of traffic in Kolkata even in the early-morning hours.
“We’ve got us a good cab driver,” Jet said as he and Cord zipped passed other teams. “He’s fixin’ to pass another one.”
As the brothers passed the Ervins and the Globetrotters, Herb Lang and Nate Loften, they paid tribute to their driver.
“This guy’s got some nerves,” Jet said.
“Nerves of steel,” Cord followed.
Once the groups arrived at Town Hall, they realized it didn’t open until 10 a.m., so all eight teams waited together. The Globetrotters even snuck in a quick prank, revealing the camaraderie among the remaining racers. When the gates to Town Hall opened, the teams learned of their first “road block,” where one team member had to search through hundreds of cups of tea to find the exact match to the flavor they sipped in Kunming the day before. Jet handled the task, and he finished second.
The teams were directed to the Jorashanko area to find the Tiwari Tea Stall, where they were to find their next clue. The McCoys, who were raised on a ranch near Tupelo, Okla., seemed to struggle finding the stall, eventually arriving in fifth place. But their trip around Kolkata was incredible, nonetheless.
“My goodness,” Jet said. “This place is amazing.”
The clue at the tea stall directed them to the “detour,” where teams had to decide whether they wanted to tour Hindu art or Bengali literature. The brothers chose the book route, so they were directed to a bookstore. There they had to take eight stacks of children’s books, then squeeze themselves and their stacks of schoolbooks in the back of a rickshaw bus. They directed the driver through the congested streets of Kolkata to a school, where they delivered the books to the headmistress.
The McCoys seemed to have trouble finding the publishing company, but once they did, they went to work.
“This is a heck of a school bus right here,” Jet said. “I’m guessing he can’t go any faster.”
Jet stuck his right leg out the back of the vehicle and helped push the bicycle-peddaling driver along.
“Push, push,” Cord said, urging his brother and the rickshaw driver. “Get down on it.”
As they read the clue that took the teams to the “pit stop,” the champion cowboys were surrounded by the schoolchildren – both were five-time world champions in the International Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and Cord is a fan favorite on the Professional Bull Riders tour. They tipped their hats to the kids and found the cab to take them to the Fountain of Joy. Most of the teams seemed to complain about the gridlocked traffic, but not the McCoys.
“Sweet,” said Cord, revealing one of his trademark comments. “Look at that sign to the left. It says, ‘India is great.’ ”
“India IS great,” Jet responded.
The Ervins finished the leg in first place in what seemed like a big lead ahead of the rest of the teams. In a tight race to the finish, the brothers crossed the street racing for the finish line.
“They’re right behind us, Jet,” Cord said.
They jumped on the mat in second place, and Cord shook hands with host Phil Keoghan. The brothers were then joined by the father-daughter team of Ron and Christina Hsu, best friends Zev Glassenberg and Justin Kanew and the Goth couple, Kent Kaliber and Vyxsin Fiala.
“Come on in here with us,” Cord said, greeting his combatants in a matter that is understood by rodeo and bull riding folks but not many other competitors.
The mother-son team of Margie and Luke Adams finished last and were eliminated. The show takes next weekend off because of the Academy of Country Music Awards, but “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business” is scheduled to return April 10.