Twists, turns and a sur­prise end­ing on re­al­ity show fi­nale

Scav­enger hunt helped un­der­dogs take top prize af­ter stump­ing front-run­ners

Calgary Herald - - YOU - ERIC VOLMERS

Try­ing to keep up with teams com­pet­ing in the Amaz­ing Race is no easy feat. It’s a bit of a roller­coaster ride, full of un­pre­dictable twists and turns.

On as­sign­ment ear­lier this year, I was paired up with a driver to shut­tle me around Banff and re­port on the ac­tion. Af­ter watch­ing some of the fi­nal teams com­pete in moun­tain chal­lenges, we chase Tay­lor and Court­ney Cal­lens (a brother-sis­ter duo who are Moun­ties) down a moun­tain and even­tu­ally make our way to Banff Av­enue.

Here, the teams’ fi­nal chal­lenge for the sea­son — which was aired Tues­day night — in­volves them search­ing Banff ’s glut of gift shops for trin­kets that rep­re­sent the 11 sep­a­rate legs of the sea­son. Over five weeks of the race, the teams trav­elled to Vic­to­ria, B.C., Cavendish Beach, P.E.I., Daw­son City, the Yukon, Mex­ico City and Jakarta, In­done­sia, among other spots. Each chal­lenge was to be rep­re­sented by a trin­ket hid­den among 10 stores down Banff ’s main drag.

Granted, watch­ing peo­ple fran­ti­cally search for sou­venirs is about as ex­cit­ing a spec­ta­tor sport as it sounds. I spend a good part of it with pub­li­cists and pro­duc­ers sit­ting on city benches, oc­ca­sion­ally go­ing into the stores to dodge the cam­eras fol­low­ing the teams up and down the aisles in the cramped stores. We stu­diously avoid ques­tions by per­plexed tourists about why cam­era crews are chas­ing these sweaty duos through the stores.

Still, thanks to some cre­ative edit­ing, the seg­ment is much more ex­cit­ing on TV than in per­son. And it was truly a turn­ing point. The teams are to end the chal­lenge at the Banff Na­tional Park Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing where they were to put the ob­jects they found in the stores in the cor­rect or­der of the legs, whether it be the In­done­sian flag or a fig­urine rep­re­sent­ing the game Jai Alai, which the teams played in Fron­ton, Mex­ico.

This is where Cal­gar­i­ans Court­ney Ber­glind and Adam Ko­vacs take the lead. The Cal­lens, who had a nice head start from the Cal­gary air­port chal­lenge, fell be­hind when they failed to find one of the 10 stores along Banff Av­enue and, there­fore, had to re­trace their steps to find a sole miss­ing trin­ket.

Tay­lor Callen doesn’t mince words when asked what it felt like to place sec­ond af­ter win­ning so many legs.

“It sucks,” he says.

From there, the teams tra­versed across the Bow River and took a raft to a des­ig­nated spot on the golf course. That was fol­lowed by the mad dash through the greens to find host Jon Mont­gomery. It was also the site for the sur­real spec­ta­cle of the 14 elim­i­nated ex­tro­verts be­ing coached by a se­ries pro­ducer on how to ap­pear more ex­tro­verted. For more than an hour, they are run through the paces: how to best cheer the win­ning team, the best way to do a high-five, the best way to laugh up­roar­i­ously just in case one of the win­ning teams says some­thing funny on the mat.

It is, af­ter all, a tele­vi­sion show, no mat­ter how spon­ta­neous it is meant to look. At the time of this in­ter­view, Ber­glind and Ko­vacs said they planned to keep that sense of spon­tane­ity. They had no in­ten­tion of giv­ing fam­ily and friends any hint of how they fare on the se­ries, which be­gan air­ing in early July.

“We want it to be as much of a ride for them as it was for us,” Ko­vacs says. “This is our sur­prise and it’s our win. We want them to go through the emo­tions with us.”

Cal­gary first re­spon­ders Court­ney Ber­glind and Adam Ko­vacs hunt for sou­venirs in a Banff store dur­ing the fi­nale of Amaz­ing Race Canada: Heroes Edi­tion.

C T V.

Cal­gary’s Court­ney Ber­glind and Adam Ko­vacs not only take home $250,000, they also win two SUVs and a trip around the world.

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