In an episode that featured “The Amazing Race” teams riding equines, The Cowboys skipped past that challenge and ventured on to a second-place finish Sunday, April 20.
Holding an Express Pass they had earned on the opening leg of the race around the world for $1 million, Jet and Cord McCoy knew they had to use the pass on the eighth episode per the rules of the CBS-TV reality series. Sunday’s episode featured a double U-Turn, in which two teams could make two others complete both tasks of a Detour.
“We want to U-Turn The Cowboys, because it will force them to use their Express Pass,” said Brendon Villeges, who is teamed with his wife, Rachel Reilly.
The Brenchals won the seventh leg and began the latest episode first, 52 minutes ahead of the McCoys, ranch-raised cowboys from the southeastern Oklahoma hamlet of Tupelo.
“It’s the eighth leg, so we have to use the Express Pass,” Jet McCoy said. “Having that Express Pass is huge.”
“It’s a lifeline,” his brother said.
Six teams began at Piazza Del Popolo in Rome and traveled 80 miles to the remote city of Ciovita Di Bagnoregio, where they faced the Detour. At Donkey Run, each team member had to ride a donkey around a circle track three times before the band completed a song; the other puzzle on the Detour was Donkey Build, in which teams had to assemble a fabricated donkey by using all the parts provided.
“With the U-Turn ahead, I’d say we go ahead and use the Express Pass, jump ahead of the other teams so we don’t have to do the other side,” Cord McCoy said.
Villeges and Reilly held the lead through their portion of the Detour, but the father-son tandem of Dave and Connor O’Leary were close behind. The McCoys used their Express Pass on the Donkey Build.
“If we get U-Turned, we’ll do the other side,” Jet McCoy said, noting the other option was riding donkeys; that would have played well into their hands.
The Brenchals then reached the U-Turn placard first, and instead of The Cowboys, they assigned the double-task to the O’Learys. When the father-son team arrived, they were just ahead of the McCoys.
It seemed as though the brothers’ fate was sealed, but fate is a mysterious creature. The O’Learys elected to U-Turn The Afghanamals, Leo Temory and Jamal Zadran.
“How did we slide by that?” Jet McCoy asked.
“I don’t know,” Cord McCoy answered. “Good job.”
Maybe the O’Learys looked at the task remaining ahead of The Cowboys and realized the McCoys were going to be hard to beat when it came to riding Donkeys. Villeges and Reilly saw the O’Learys as the only threat to a win on the eighth leg.
“I can’t believe Brendon and Rachel U-Turned Dave and Connor,” Jet McCoy said. “That makes zero sense to me. Leg eight, and it looks like people are starting to play dirty.”
The Road Block found the teams at La Badia Monastery in Orvieto, Italy, where one team member had to make a perfect copy of a page from an ancient manuscript just like the monks did for centuries. Jet McCoy took the task for the brothers.
“How do I keep getting arts and crafts here?” he asked. “I have terrible penmanship. This makes me nervous.”
While his older brother was tending to his duties, Cord McCoy took time to enjoy his surroundings. Two monks seemed particularly interested in the goings-on.
“I have some monk friends here in town,” Cord McCoy said, noting that two monks were wearing the McCoys’ cowboy hats. “We hang out, and they wear hats. I think they want to be cowboys.”
Though he sounded as though he struggled, Jet McCoy finished the task in his second attempt. The brothers were the second team to complete the task and venture toward the Pit Stop at Piazza Del Duomo in Orvieto.
Villeges and Reilly were the first to arrive at the finnish, followed by the McCoys, Temory and Zadran, the O’Learys and the country singers, Jennifer Wayne and Caroline Cutbirth. The Globetrotters, Herb Lang and Nate Lofton, finished sixth and were eliminated.
This season marks the third time The Cowboys have been part of “The Amazing Race.” Their appearance in the Sunday, April 27, episode of the reality TV series will mark the 30th leg in which the brothers have competed. The McCoys finished second the first time they were on the show in 2010, then placed sixth a year later.
They’re in the top five heading into the final four episodes of the marathon for $1 million.