They’re off...Campbell Riverites vie to be Amazing Race contestants
When the first ever edition of the Amazing Race Canada takes off, nine Campbell Riverites hope to hear the starting gun.
Five local groups of two are vying against thousands of Canadians for a coveted spot on CTV’s take on the hit series which sends contestants around the world in search of clues and challenges steeped in culture.
Canada’s Amazing Race will be the 12th international version to launch outside of the United States joining Asia, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Israel, Latin America, Norway, Philippines, Ukraine and Vietnam.
The Amazing Race Canada is expected to film in May and will take contestants 9,000 kilometres across Canada. The show is slated to premiere this summer on CTV.
Meet the Campbell River teams who have submitted audition tapes and hope to race around the country on the first Amazing Race Canada.
Lindsey Boulter and Gord Firth
The stepfather/stepdaughter team say their problem-solving skills would be an asset on the race. That, plus the fact Firth knows everything.
“Papa’s like a human dictionary, atlas-type of person,” Boulter says. “Like the person who answers everything on Jeopardy. He remembers everything.”
“Except one time we went to trivia night at (his granddaughters’) school and I couldn’t get anything because it was all about movies and stuff like that,” he says.
“See, and I could do that!” Boulter exclaims. Firth, who recently retired, says he and his stepdaughter come at things from different angles, a quality that could help them on the race. But they don’t have any illusions – they know what kind of team they would be.
“A bickering one,” Boulter says with a laugh. “We’re not the type to really fight but we bicker back and forth and bounce ideas back and forth. I think we’d be good at taking each other’s suggestions though.”
Matt and Ryan DelBlanc
The 29-year-old brothers not only share the same DNA, but the same profession.
The twin pastors say the race would help bring them back together – Matt lives in Campbell River while Ryan is going to school in Calgary.
They’re also huge fans of the Amazing Race. When the brothers both lived in Surrey, they would organize mini Amazing Races across the Lower Mainland with their youth groups.
“We used to slaughter the competition,” Matt says. “We’re super competitive.”
The identical twins hope their matching looks and matching jobs will secure them a spot on the show.
“We’re hoping to play the twin card and both of us are pastors so we thought that would make us unique,” says Matt, who is the pastor of Gateway Foursquare Church. “But we also want to show that Christians don’t have to be lame and not competitive. We’ve talked about ‘let’s be competitive but let’s not be jerks.’ I think we could do both.”
The one thing Matt says will be difficult if he is chosen, will be having to leave his wife and 17-month-old daughter for 28 days.
“It would be hard,” he says. “My wife says if we get chosen we better win!
“We’re kinda antsy to know (if we’ll be chosen), but we think it would be fun to represent the West Coast and see the country,” Matt says. “It would be cool to say we’re from Campbell River and it would be a great chance to let other people know that Campbell River exists.”
Leslie Hanes and April Whalen
The lively, upbeat business women hope to become the first employer/employee team to run the Amazing Race.
Hanes, owner of Curves and Discovery Trekking Outfitters, says she was enticed into applying by Whalen, marketing manager for Discovery Trekking.
“April tries to talk me into all sorts of crazy things,” says Hanes who agreed to do the race to prove to herself that she could do it. “I’m in good physical shape but it would be a good challenge and I thought the publicity for my company would be good.”
“And to see if she wouldn’t fire me after spending that much time together,” Whalen pipes up. It’s also a chance at redemption for Whalen. In 2007 she was on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Canada, hosted by Colin Mochrie. Despite her mother passing away the night before, Whalen made it to the $100,000 question but lost when she went with the student’s incorrect answer. Whalen walked away with $25,000 but she wants another shot at reality TV. And she turns 40 this year.
“If I get on the Amazing Race Canada I will be greedy,” Whalen says. “I’ll be taking people out with slingshots. I’ll be packing heat.”
The pair believes their travel experience would help them. Hanes has travelled around the world including India, Korea, Greece, and Israel but hasn’t ventured east of Alberta while Whalen has lived in six Canadian provinces and given birth in a seventh. One way or another, Whalen is determined to run the Amazing Race Canada.
“If we don’t get picked and they do a season two I already know what I’m doing and it will be over the top,” Whalen says. “So they better pick us now and get it out of the way or else Leslie will get hurt in the season two audition tape.”
Rebecca Wells and Carmen Zmaeff
The fourth-year Campbell River nursing students hope to see Canada and are always up for an adventure.
“I love to travel and Carmen one day texted me and asked if I wanted to try out for the Amazing Race,” says Wells, 24, who jumped at the chance.
Zmaeff says both girls are easy going and would be the team on the race just having fun.
Zmaeff, 25, is also a big fan of the show.
“I watched the first two seasons fairly regularly over the past few years and I’ve picked it up here and there but I really like the show,” Zmaeff says. “I think it’s the best reality show on TV. I just thought of all the reality shows I could be on, it would be the race.”
The outdoorsy young women, who love to hike, ski, swim and shoot, have been friends for two years after meeting in the nursing program which they will be finishing two months from now.
“Our aunts had been best friends and we had heard through them for years that we would get along but we had never met and then (Carmen) was in the nursing program and we hit it off,” Wells says.
Aren Knudsen and Shelley McKay
The Campbell River moms and business women are always up for adventure.
“I can phone you up at anytime and you’ll just drop what you’re doing and we can go hunting, or quading or boating, you know we’re always up for adventure,” Knudsen says in the pair’s audition video.“I think anything adventurous we’ll be fighting over doing it.”
“I have three little boys at home and they’re really going to miss me,” Knudsen says.
“I just hope I’m back in time for (my son’s) graduation cause that would really suck if I missed that,” McKay adds.
Knudsen, who works for Cunningham Rivard Appraisers, and McKay who is with Coast Realty Group, met three years ago and know they would be the perfect partners for the race.
“I know if I get down at all, you’re going to make us laugh and keep it positive,” Knudsen says.