Although I’m no fan of The Amazing Race, season eleven brought a team that I absolutely, completely wanted to win the end prize. Mark Jackson and “Bopper” Minton of Clay County, Kentucky, graced this year’s race with good natures and a country draaawwl.
Their reason for entering the race? For their kids. That beats selfish “gotta have the money” reasoning any day. And while this country duo’s had their share of disagreements, their discussions never seem to escalate like the teams that drive me batty.
Perhaps the most humbling moment was when Mark, dehydrated and sick, was about ready to quit a complicated challenge as he sweated beneath India’s sweltering sun. But did he quit? No! Bopper gives the reminder that they have to finish it for their families, and Mark is back at it, suffering in silence…and his ethic pays off. They make it in dead last, but thankfully a non-elimination round saves them for one last trek.
Their last stretch began in last, and despite mastering the art of drawing tigers on men’s chests and rushing to a Fast Forward, the country boys are sent home.
But even when they went out, they went out well. No name calling, no bitter tears, just a sentiment of “We came into this as friends and we’re leaving as friends.”
So stay classy, Mark and Bopper, and thanks for a great run.
For another dose of Kentucky, this article at seattlepi.com is fantastic: http://www.seattlepi.com/ae/tv/tvguide/article/Amazing-Race-s-Bopper-and-Mark-Our-Friendship-Is-3522257.php