Exclusive: Gary Wojnar and Will Chiola talk 'The Amazing Race' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/22/2012
Gary Wojnar and Will Chiola were eliminated from The Amazing Race during Sunday night's fourth broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 21st season.
The "Best Friends and Substitute Teachers" became the fourth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's fourth Pit Stop at the Shambazar Chan Mia Ghat in Dhaka, Bangladesh in last place. The pair moved into last place after they experienced a long unnecessary "wild" cab ride through backroads, losing about an hour's worth of time, and then they couldn't regain speed once Gary greatly struggled with the Roadblock task.
In an exclusive interview on Monday, Gary and Will talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including what exactly went wrong in their final leg, what played a big role in Gary's struggle to repair his bus, how they would've felt about picking up rats had they opted to do the Fast Forward task, and whether they were happy with the Detour task they had selected or wished they had attempted the other one involving metal.
Below is the first portion of Gary and Will's interview. Check back with Reality TV World tomorrow for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: About how far behind Trey Wier and Alexis "Lexi" Beerman do you think you finally got to the Pit Stop? The show didn't really seem to distinguish whether you were very close to or extremely far behind them.
Will Chiola: We're not sure. We think it might've been maybe 15-20 minutes.
Gary Wojnar: I think it was a little bit longer, because we ran into Trey and Lexi on the banks of the river, and they told us that the cab driver had taken us to the wrong site and we had to go across on the boat and take the boat back across the river to the landing we were at and then travel to the Pit Stop, which actually took quite awhile. I'd say a half-hour, 45 minutes. It's hard to say.
Reality TV World: You guys started off this leg in last place, however, the flight to Dhaka erased the gap and allowed you to catch up to all the other teams who had departed before you. Did it worsen the blow of your elimination knowing you started the leg off on a level playing field with your fellow Racers in that luck seemed to be on your side at least for awhile?
Gary Wojnar: Yes, we were really happy that we all got clumped together and were going to start on a level playing field. When we first started the leg, we thought that we could maybe win this leg. We were very confident.
And ultimately, we lost the leg because I wasn't able to do the Bondo [putty] quick enough. So when we got in our cab at the airport, the driver said, "Short cut! Down my road!" So we thought, "Okay, we'll take a short cut." And unfortunately, we kind of went the back way and Dhaka is a very, as it's shown on TV, a very populated city.
We were out in a flood-plain area on this road in the middle of nowhere. There was no house around, no cars. And we're looking on the map afterwards, and we found that we went kind of the back way and we arrived about anywhere, we thought, from about 45 minutes to an hour behind the first team at the first Roadblock.
So we were behind from the start, but I should've been able to do the Bondo. Because when I was younger, all my cars were made of Bondo. We fixed them that way. And I was actually happy when it ended up being a Bondo Roadblock because I had experience with it, but it was a very difficult task. Everybody was having difficulty with it.
Will Chiola: I was so confident Gary could do it. I thought for sure we could sail right through it, but it just didn't happen today.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode showed you two scrambling in your taxi on the way to the bus-repair shop, which forced you into last place again. Could you talk a little bit more about what exactly happened there? Did your driver get lost going those backroads or something?
Will Chiola: Yeah, we got in the cab and we said we needed to go to the Bondo shop, and he said he was going to take us on a short cut.
Gary Wojnar: Looking at the map that we printed up at the travel agency before we started, heading from the airport to the [shop's location], you had to travel South and take a little jog left so you're sailing East. So, the cab driver said, "I know a short cut." So about two minutes into the ride...
Will Chiola: During the ride, we just stopped and we were in the middle of nowhere and all these people were swarming us. A lot of people were swarming us and we realized, "We don't want to go on a short cut! Don't take us on a short cut. Take us [to] that road." But he took us on a short cut and we just couldn't communicate with him properly.
Gary Wojnar: The short cut was actually getting off the main road and he made a left into like, I guess you would say, an alley or a very narrow, windy road to a bunch of shops. And then he did stop and ask some local people which way to go, and that's when we got our first clue, "He might not know a short cut."
So then we started saying, "Please, no short cut! Go back to the road, buddy!" But he just kept going with the short cut. So that's when we went on a wild taxi ride, which was probably an hour, hour-and-a-half.
Will Chiola: Yeah, we probably arrived an hour after the first team got there.
Reality TV World: You two had the opportunity to pick the Fast Forward task, but you probably knew you were behind other teams given the amount of time it took you to arrive at the Bondo shop. Could you talk about your strategy there in choosing to go ahead with the Roadblock task instead of the Fast Forward? Was it a decision you made solely because you thought other teams might have already started it and therefore had a good jump on the task?
Will Chiola: Well actually, when we came up the back way down the road, we saw the rockers [James LoMenzo and Mark "Abba" Abbattista] and they were already doing the Fast Forward. And we stopped there because we thought that was where the Roadblock was. We just saw those guys there, we saw Amazing Race flags and were like, "Oh, here's the Roadblock!"
But then when we tried to talk to them, and they said, "No, we're doing the Fast Forward." We actually went so far behind that we ran into the rockers. So when we did get to the Roadblock, which was about 15 minutes later I'd say...
Gary Wojnar: Yeah. We knew we were going to be at least 15 minutes, because it took us 15 minutes to get [to the] Roadblock. We were at least 15 minutes behind them, so we thought at that point, "You know what? We better stick with the Roadblock because we're way behind for the Fast Forward already."
Reality TV World: James L. and Abba seemed perfectly content with picking up rats for the Fast Forward task. How would you guys have felt about doing that? (Laughs)
Will Chiola: We would have loved to do the rats because it was pretty much just finding the rats and putting them into a bag. That stuff would be easy for me. I'm not scared of stuff like that.
Gary Wojnar: Yeah, that was no problem at all.
Will Chiola: It's like I had a problem in height and we had that in the Race from the start. But the rats, that wouldn't have been an issue at all.
Gary Wojnar: We were going to do anything to keep us in the Race. I mean, rats, we weren't scared of.
Will Chiola: If we could go back and we were there in the middle of the pack, we definitely would have done the Fast Forward.
Reality TV World: Gary, it did end up taking you a long time to finish repairing that bus for the Roadblock. How long do you think it took you? How far ahead of you do you think Trey finished it?
Gary Wojnar: I believe it took me between two-three hours to do that. I actually started. And when you asked the gentleman who was deciding if it was alright, he didn't tell you what was wrong with it. He would just say, "No." So I re-did it. I stripped it all off. I did it again.
I stripped it all off, and I kept using less hardener in the compound, because it was so hot -- when we went home, I think it was 100 degrees, maybe 101 -- so I kept using less hardener in the Bondo in order to make it [easier to apply]. But it was so hot that it was just bubbling up so quick. So it probably took us two, two-and-a-half hours to do that. And I think Trey left maybe 20 minutes before us?
Will Chiola: Yeah. Twenty minutes to a half-hour.
Gary Wojnar: Time just kind of jumbles up on you while you're on the Race.
Reality TV World: I don't recall last night's episode showing any footage of you guys searching through the bucket of dried fish for the painted one. How did that go for you two? Did you find your fish quickly or no?
Will Chiola: We found it pretty quickly. We found the fish in the barrel pretty quickly -- probably maybe two or three minutes. So that went pretty quick. We just dug out pieces of fish in there and we found it! It was difficult, but we just kept searching quick and found it.
Gary Wojnar: The most difficult part of that was finding the actual stall that we had to go through. What we did, in order to save us time -- because the market was a very large market -- we had the taxi driver drive us around the whole thing until we found it.
Because instead of getting on foot and running, we figured we could save time being in the cab at that point looking for it rather than being on foot. I think that did work out and it saved us some time there.
Reality TV World: You guys chose the "Pound the Cotton" Detour task instead of the metal one, and it seemed like most of the guys who picked the task were caught offguard when they realized it required sewing. Looking back on things now, do you wish you had picked the "Pound the Metal" task instead, and if so, why?
Gary Wojnar: The sewing was no big deal. I mean, you stick a needle through a couple pieces of cloth. That was nothing. I do think we should've picked "Pound the Metal" though. We don't know what the time difference was though because we didn't have the opportunity to talk to anybody afterwards, so we don't know if the metal was any faster.
But we kind of think in hindsight that the metal probably would've been faster. But we're not absolutely positive on that.
Will Chiola: Well the problem with the mattress was, we didn't know exactly what the man wanted. We would say, "What do you want us to do?" And he would just shrug, like, you're not done yet. So we didn't know exactly what we were supposed to do, so we kept kind of doing it over and over until he finally gave us the "thumbs up."
Gary Wojnar: That's correct. When you questioned if you were done, nobody would say anything. They would just shrug their hands and say, "No." I guess with the "Pound the Metal," you would have more of a definite answer because you actually have the metal [to observe]. So it probably would've been better to do "Pound the Metal."
Will Chiola: With "Pound the Metal," it looked like they actually had a guy there helping at the place where they did it.
Reality TV World: Any idea how long that "Pound the Cotton" Detour task actually took you guys?
Gary Wojnar: About an hour. The Detour task probably took an hour. Another reason we picked the mattress, which helped with our decision, was when we were looking at our choices, we asked somebody where the mattress was, and they showed us right next to the building.
We just had to walk up the stairs, and we asked where the other one was, and they didn't know. So we said, "Well we know our task is right here. Let's do it." That was one of the factors in our decision also.
Above is the first portion of Gary and Will's interview. Check back with Reality TV World tomorrow for the concluding portion.