"Bopper" Minton and Mark Jackson survive 'The Amazing Race' exit
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/23/2012
"Friends" William "Bopper" Minton and Mark Jackson survived to compete in The Amazing Race's tenth twentieth-season leg despite a last-place finish during Sunday night's broadcast of the Race's ninth leg.
"The Race has really challenged us mentally and physically. We were true underdogs coming into this Race and we proved ourselves. We gave it 150% percent at everything we've ever done, so we can hold our heads up high over that. Who would have thought two boys from Kentucky -- sitting here in the middle of India -- I would have never been given an opportunity like this in my life had it not been for the Race," Bopper said prior to arriving at the Pit Stop in last place.
The ninth episode of The Amazing Race's twentieth season began where last week's broadcast left off, with the Race's five teams leaving the course's eighth Pit Stop at Lake Manyara in Tanzania after meeting with The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan.
Since they had been the team to finish in first place at the Race's eighth Pit Stop, Bopper and Mark were the first team to depart from Lake Manyara at 9:06PM.
Upon opening their departure clues, the teams were instructed to fly nearly 2,900 miles to Cochin, India, and after landing, make their way to a bus station. They would then be required to take a bus to Sacred Heart College.
Bopper and Mark were prepared to struggle a bit during the Race's leg because Bopper had twisted his ankle in the prior leg and was forced to wear a brace just in case.
All the Racers soon learned there would be two flights going out the next morning. Vanessa and Ralph managed to snag a flight that landed in Cochin earlier than the other flight, which happened to carry all the rest of the teams. However, the teams caught up to Vanessa and Ralph quickly much to the couple's dismay, and then everyone was on an equal playing field.
After all the teams rushed to the bus stop, Rachel B. and Dave were the first team to jump on a bus. They were soon followed by Art and J.J., Brendon and Rachel R., Vanessa and Ralph, and Bopper and Mark -- who got stuck having to wait for a later bus after the others had departed. While on the bus, Mark experienced a wave of motion sickness and the pair continued to run a rough leg.
Rachel B. and Dave were the first team to arrive at Sacred Heart College and they were then followed by Art and J.J., Brendon and Rachel R., Vanessa and Ralph, and Bopper and Mark.
Once the teams arrived at the college, they learned it was time to complete a Roadblock task. The Roadblock task required one member from each team to master the moves of a Bollywood dance routine and then perform it with a group of 30 experts on a big stage for a Bollywood director.
Rachel B. opted to do the Roadblock task for her team. She was later joined by J.J., Rachel R, Vanessa, and Mark.
Everyone really struggled with performing the lengthy choreography correctly except for Rachel B., who nailed the dance on her first try. Rachel R. got so frustrated she couldn't get the dance down pat that she began to cry. Afterward, Mark grew very sick during his many tries because he was overheated and most likely dehydrated.
After nearly 10 failed attempts at landing the Bollywood routine, Bopper told an ill Mark they should just go home. Bopper was happy Mark gave the task everything he had and was willing to risk his health for the chance to continue racing. However, Bopper was more concerned with his friend's safety than winning money.
Once Mark got some time to rest and gather his energy, he realized he didn't want to go home a quitter because he wanted to send the right message to his three children. Mark wanted nothing more than his kids to be proud of him, so as a result, he kept dancing. He finally got the routine right during his twelfth attempt.
Rachel B. and Dave finished the Roadblock before any of the other teams. They were then followed by Vanessa and Ralph after three attempts at the dance, Brendon and Rachel R. following four tries, Art and J.J. after four attempts, and finally Bopper and Mark.
At this point in the Race, Bopper and Mark knew they were so far behind that they would just finish the leg and accept their fate. They were not shown for the rest of the episode until they arrived at the ninth leg's Pit Stop.
After completing the Roadblock task, the teams received their next set of clues and were instructed to make their way to Indian Coffee House and find the head waiter who would hand them their next clue.
Rachel B. and Dave, still maintaining their lead, arrived at the coffee shop first. They were soon followed by Vanessa and Ralph, Brendon and Rachel R., and Art and J.J.
The teams' next clue revealed it was time for them to complete one of two Detour tasks: "Cricket" or "Clutch It."
"Cricket" required both members of each team to hit one ball past a professional player to the boundary around a field. They then had to hit the ball either along the ground or over the top, and once the ball reached the boundary, they'd receive their next clue.
"Clutch It" required both members of each team to learn how to drive one of the three-wheel vehicles and transport passengers around a training course on the grounds of a school where drivers train to earn their taxi licenses. Once an instructor became convinced they had mastered their moves, they'd receive their next clue.
Rachel B. and Dave and Vanessa and Ralph opted to take on the "Clutch It" task, while Brendon and Rachel R. and Art and J.J. tested their luck with the "Cricket" task.
The "Clutch It" task proved to me the more time consuming task, although some teams struggled more with their selected task than others. Rachel B. and Dave finished the Detour task first because they had a good jump on the other teams, and then Brendon and Rachel R. finished the task. Art and J.J. had a little trouble completing the "Cricket" task, but they still managed to finish before Vanessa and Ralph.
After completing the Detour task, the teams received their next set of clues and were instructed to make their way to Bolgatty Palace, a heritage landmark, which would serve as the Race's ninth Pit Stop.
Rachel B. and Dave arrived at the Pit Stop mat and met Phil in first place. For finishing the leg before any of the other teams, the couple won a trip for two to St. Lucia.
Brendon and Rachel R. then finished the leg in second place, while Art and J.J. subsequently secured third place.
Vanessa and Ralph then became team number four.
Bopper and Mark were then greeted by Phil, who told them they had finished the leg in five -- and last -- place.
"Bopper and Mark, I'm sorry to tell you that you are the last team to arrive," Phil told the team.
"It's just good to be here my friend. It's been an honor," Bopper said. "We never thought we'd even be in India, Phil. Two Kentucky boys standing on the mat of the ninth leg, so."
"I stayed with it for my kids -- for them. People backing you and backing you, it finally brings you around and then I finally did it," Mark explained.
"When I look in his eyes and I see that nobody's home and he's that tired, that was good for me," Bopper said in tears. "For me, it's family. Everybody could use some extra money, but you can't replace this guy."
"You're going to have to muster your strength because this is a non-elimination leg and you are still in The Amazing Race," Phil explained. "This is the second time you've managed to escape elimination."
"Oh my God," Bopper said.
"Guys, at some time in the next leg of the Race, you will encounter a Speed Bump. You've done a Speed Bump before," Phil said.
"We're going to deal with it. We're going to give it everything that we've got in our hearts and souls," Mark said.
"I know that we have a tough leg coming, we've had tougher. Bopper and Mark are going to stay in the game and we're going to fight until the Final 3. Somebody's going to have to fight the Kentucky boys for the million dollar prize on the way home," Bopper added.