Woo Hoooo!!! I got to meet Jodi Wincheski and her boyfriend, as well as Arthur & Anita Jones from TAR 13!
'Amazing Race' rival returns to Salem for episode
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Oregonian Staff
Competitors on the hit CBS show "The Amazing Race" are always surprised to find out where they're headed next. But one of this season's contestants knows just where she'll be Sunday -- her hometown, Salem.
Jodi Wincheski is among the cast in the 14th season of the Emmy-winning show, in which teams compete to arrive first at round-the-world destinations and to complete various tasks.
Wincheski will be in Salem to gather with family and friends for a public viewing party of the third episode of this edition of "The Amazing Race." It's a homecoming for Wincheski, who grew up in Salem and graduated from South Salem High School in 1986.
Though she now lives in Houston, Wincheski follows in the footsteps of Oregonians Anita and Arthur Jones, the Eugene couple who competed on the 13th season of "The Amazing Race."
Under CBS rules, Wincheski can't talk about the show until or unless she's eliminated. But her father, Ned Kanoff, recalls that his daughter got an early start on traveling.
"I was working in Alaska back then," recalls Kanoff, who now lives in Stayton. "So she was born in Salem, but we took her to Alaska when she was an infant. She's been flying for a lot of years."
Wincheski continues to rack up air miles, not only on "The Amazing Race" but as a flight attendant. Her teammate on the show is a fellow flight attendant, Christie Volkmer.
A divorced, single mother, Wincheski has said she wanted to compete on "The Amazing Race" as an example for her daughter about the power of pursuing your goals. So far, it's been a challenge. On the first episode alone, Wincheski flew to Zurich, Switzerland; took a train to Locarno, Switzerland; performed a 70-story bungee jump; and transported 50-pound wheels of cheese down a steep, slippery hillside.
Wincheski and her teammate finished second from the bottom on the first episode, and again on the second episode. Will they survive the third episode? Viewers will learn the answer Sunday night.
No matter what happens, Ned Kanoff says his daughter is a natural-born Amazing Racer. "It didn't surprise me at all that she would want to get on a show like that," Kanoff says. "Jodi has always been real competitive."
"The Amazing Race" airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on KOIN (6). The public viewing party is at Top Dog Sports Bar & Grill, 1798 12th St. S.E., Salem, 503-586-0245.
I drove down from Portland to Salem (1 hour) and found a crowded place and happy group of folks at the Top Dog Sports Bar in Salem.
Jodi and her boyfriend, Eric, were very friendly and talked with lots of people there. Of course, my camera battery died and Eric graciously offered to take photos with his camera and offered to e-mail them to me. I asked him why he didn't do the race with Jodi and they explained that TAR production wanted a team of flight attendants and that's why Jodi and Christie were a team.
I aksed about buying tickets since I'd heard that they must always get tickets for their camera and sound people. Jodi explained how they had to always ask for 4 tickets for all transportation. So generally, they'd race up to the counter asking if there were 4 tickets and then have to redo the counter conversation for the camera asking for 2 tickets. She said this was often confusing for the ticket venders who didn't understand why they'd ask for four then two and then four again after the camera filmed them asking for two.
I sort of expected that since there was a public gathering, it meant Jodi & Christi were going to be philiminated, so I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. Jodi & Christie did well enough to move up in rank! It was fun to be in a room where everyone cheered every single time Jodi appeared on the screen. Everyone seemed to especially enjoy her doing the gymnastic tasks!
Also Arther & Anita drove up from Eugene (about an 1.5 hour drive) to attend and I ended up sitting with them for the entire viewing. They are as mellow and hippie-ish as they appeared on the show - very upbeat and warm. And cute as heck in their matching tie-die shirts! Eugene deadheads and Oregon Country Fair folks are my kind of people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Country_Fair
Arthur & Anita told me stories about the start of their TAR - and how truly geeky the geeks were. I had sort of pegged the geeks as just your Comic-con type nerds but evidently they were actually amazingly smart and really into computers and technology to the Nth degree.
They told me they simply applied for the show, sending in a videotape, and were interviewed and selected. So I am happy to discover that ordinary people can still be selected and not everyone is recruited! I think being extra-ordinarily colorful is the key if you are not model beautiful. They also commented that EP Bertram van Munster was an incredibly nice man so evidently he is very much a hands on part of production.
I asked how much did production demands interfere with the race -and Arther & Anita explained there were certain things they were told to do (by production for filming purposes) such as to stop and read each clue out loud and got the impression that sometimes some teams were less diligent about remembering to do this. I asked about when did they use the bathroom or eat during the legs and they explained that you did that when your camera/sound person did - otherwise it would cost you more time, since there were apparently production "time-outs" just for this purpose for the camera/sound guys.
I commented to A&A that, no dispect to Jodi and Christie, but I was surprised to see the wheelie luggage as opposed to backpacks. They agreed with me that most of the contestants had very similar backpacks known for being light weight, and mentioned that their filled packs were about 17 pound while the geeks had the lightest ones at 14 pounds! Arthur commented that surprisingly, on their race, some of the contestants packed heavy items like hairdryers! I figured it was women who were acutely aware they were going to be on TV.
Arthur & Anita said they had a different camera/sound person each leg - and they were not allowed to ask their tech people ANYTHING!! They did marvel about how the camera people constantly had to run in front of them (backwards), alongside them, and all around lugging their heavy camera to get the shots they do.
I wish I had uncovered something new or interesting, but I suspect everyone here knows all this stuff already. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time being a TAR FANatic and it was such fun with the beekeepers from Eugene and Jodi & her handsome BF!
Oh I asked A&A if they sold their honey anywhere in the Portland area and Anita said they really don't have a honey business but do sometimes sell it at the local Eugene Saturday Farmers Market. I used to live in Eugene and love the funky hippie vibe the place has. So although TAR listed them as "beekeepers" implying it was their primary occupation, Arthur actually works for the City of Eugene for the Parks department. (I think I got these details right!)
Assuming I get the photos from Eric/Jodi, figure out how to post them and am not too embarrassed to post my own face next to Jodi and/or Arthur & Anita I'll get those up here in a few days too!
Really nice people!! Go Jodi!
A JSlice of snowshine!
...I may not post frequently but I make up for it in length.