Exclusive: Jody Kelly and Shannon Foster talk 'The Amazing Race'
By Reality TV World staff, 02/22/2010
Although they had finished next to last during the first leg of The Amazing Race's sixteenth edition, the "Grandmother/Granddaughter" team of Jody Kelly and Shannon Foster appeared to catch a big break when most of the other Race's teams decided wait upwards of 12 hours for a direct bus to their next location.
However unlike some other trailing teams, Jody and Shannon were unable to capitalize on the situation and became the second team eliminated from The Amazing Race's sixteenth season during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality competition.
On Monday, Jody and Shannon talked to Reality TV World about why they were unable to exploit the situation, why they believe they lost The Amazing Race, and how Jody got kicked in the head by a cow.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode really made it look like getting on that last direct bus was pretty much what sealed your doom, so I'd like to start there. What happened when you got to the Santiago bus station, how did you guys end up on that 8:30PM bus to Puerto Varas?
Shannon: Well we were definitely last to start, because we'd finished last on the last leg. So we were a good, you know, something like 45 minutes behind the other teams.
Reality TV World: But didn't you all get on the same bus [from Valparaiso] to Santiago?
Shannon: No, we were on the last bus. We had the bus with the Cowboys to Santiago, but the other people were all ahead of us.
Reality TV World: Okay, the episode didn't show the [Pit Stop] departure times for all you guys, and maybe I just misunderstood it, but it looked like all the teams had been on the same bus to Santiago. But you're saying yourself and the Cowboys were actually back on a different one?
Shannon: Yeah, that's the way I remember it. Wasn't that right Grandma? We got like -- everyone else got there first and got the earlier buses. At the time we arrived, we got the last bus. So we were already at a disadvantage of starting later.
Jody: Yeah, that's what I recall. It's all kind of blurring together though of course, after all this time. You can only do so much journaling. (laughs)
Jody: So I'm not even sure. If I went back to my journal I'd be able to tell you exactly when we left and exactly when we arrived.
Reality TV World: Okay. Well, once you got there, did you ever think of taking a non-direct bus or had you considered it and decided it was too risky?
Jody: Well we went to about six or seven different bus windows and asked for the fastest arrival in Puerto Varas and even with some of the English-speaking people and using both of our high school Spanish language skills, we were not able to determine if there was an indirect route. Everyone...
Shannon: Yeah, and I heard that the reason that the Big Brother team were able to get a bus that was a little earlier -- even if they missed it -- was because someone recognized them from Big Brother and was like "Hey, we'll help you out!" and was kind of helping them find the earlier bus.
I'm not sure what the Cowboys did because I'm pretty sure they didn't speak Spanish.
Reality TV World: That's what I was going to ask I guess -- what did you think had happened to the Cowboys, because after you got your tickets you were shown saying that you thought you were only 45 minutes behind the other teams. Did you think that included the cowboys as well?
Shannon: I knew -- like were pretty sure... we saw them LEAVE, you know. So we don't know how they got an earlier bus, but they had to have done something like that.
Reality TV World: After you got stuck on that last bus, they didn't seem to show a lot of you during the rest of the episode, but what little they did show appeared to show you guys hopeful that someone else but might make a mistake but almost resigned to your fate -- would you say that was accurate?
Jody: Well we didn't lose hope at all, but we were always realistic. Luck -- good luck or bad luck -- is so much of the race. We were hoping to have some good luck, and not necessarily to hope bad luck on any other team, but we were just hoping that we would prevail.
Shannon: Yeah. I mean I think we stayed levelheaded and practical about things. We were definitely still trying to do the best we possible could. I mean we did think we were probably in last but I don't think it effected how we ran our race or how fast the decisions we made were.
I mean we were at a disadvantage later, but I mean we did our best and we definitely made some fast decisions, and maybe if we had done "Condor" it would have helped us. But I mean you just don't know. You just don't know what the tasks are going to be like....
Jody: You just never know...
Shannon: Until you do them.
Reality TV World: Shannon, why did you say "Condor," did doing the "Llama" [Detour task] end up taking you a while or something?
Shannon: Yeah, it did because we were last and all the llamas that were friendly had already been dressed and so we were running after these really stubborn ones.
And actually the reason I was finally able to rope one is because I waited for the dressing to fall off of one that had already been dressed and then I was like "We've getting that one," because that was one of the more friendly ones. And then it was easy (laughs)
Reality TV World: The reason I was asking it because the show made it look like you went [through the Detour] pretty quick and zeroed in on one of the baby ones, but obviously you're saying that wasn't the case then.
Shannon: Yeah, definitely not. It was probably about half and hour just trying to rope a llama.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised when you saw Dan and Jordan were still there [at the Detour] when you got there?
Jody: Yes, that was a surprise.
Shannon: We saw them leave as soon as we got there.
Reality TV World: So did that give you a little bit of extra hope that you might be able to pull out of last place?
Jody: Oh sure.
Shannon: Oh definitely. Yeah. They couldn't drive a standard [transmission] so I think that put them at a disadvantage. (laughs)
Reality TV World: How did you decide that Jody would be the one to do the cake ingredient Roadblock task?
Jody: Well we had..
Shannon: Well we had decided that Grandma knows how to cook, you know, and I don't know how to cook at all. And she knew was a kuchin was, she right away knew it was a cake, so that's why she decided to do it.
Jody: Yeah, the part of the clue that we could read before making the decision had to do with baking a cake, so I thought I would take that one on. I had no idea that I would have to be running all over looking for a pantry.
So that was my cultural assumption that was bad, I didn't think of a pantry being way out in the backyard in a shed. So that was my downfall.
Reality TV World: So based upon what you could read at the time when you had to make a decision you thought you were actually going to have to bake the cake?
Reality TV World: At that point, did you know that you had managed to pull up out of last place?
Shannon: We had no idea that Mike and Louie had made that wrong turn and had to come all the way back until they showed up when Grandma was doing the Roadblock.
Reality TV World: I was only asking because I thought there had been something [in the episode] where other teams were counting the number of clues left in the clue boxes and thinking they had figured out where they were [in the standings].
Jody: Well we had watched last episodes of past seasons and had realized that sometimes there are extra clues in the clue box and you just don't ever make assumptions based on how many are left because some could be decoys. No, we were recently familiar with the rules of the Race before we got there.
Reality TV World: Shannon, what was going through your mind as you stood there with Louie?
Shannon: It was so frustrating because I could see Mike actually doing the task and I saw where he got the stuff for the pantry but there were people making sure I wouldn't yell out to Grandma and tell her where it was.
And so I had to watch Grandma -- after she had been hit in the head with a cow! -- running around trying to find the pantry. [And] I knew where it was! It was definitely frustrating. But Grandma still did such a great job.
Reality TV World: Jody, what actually happened when that cow kicked you. Did a medic come check you out or did you really just go back to milking it like it the episode showed last night?
Jody: I went straight back to milking.
Reality TV World: Did they ever explain why they thought that might have happened -- were you milking the cow wrong in some way or do they just have cranky cows down there?
Jody: No, my parents had a farm when I was growing up and I knew that cows kicked a lot. So I was trying to be careful and talking to the cow the way I had as a kid, and you could see some blurred out hindquarters of the cow in that episode last night.
They were peeing and pooping all over the place and that doesn't smell good, and apparently cows don't like to smell their own poop any more than humans do and so the cows started getting restless and it was a little difficult to calm them down enough to continue milking. So that was just a bad turn of luck with the cow.
Reality TV World: So you think the earlier teams might have had a little bit of an advantage there, because they got to the task earlier?
Jody: I saw last night that two other teams had gotten kicked. Carol in the hand and Monique in the chest. So we weren't the only ones who had trouble with the cow. Cows are just ornery creatures.
Reality TV World: Not friendly like llamas.
Jody: (Laughs) No, no.
Reality TV World: During your Elimination Station video you said that you felt like you had let Shannon down and you guys would still be in the Race if she had done the Roadblock. Do you still feel that way now that you've had some more time to think about it and see everything?
Jody: Well, I'm the kind of person who takes the blame for everything.. Good grief, people always think old folks are so wise and that kind of stuff and we aren't necessarily wise but I'm perfectly willing to take the blame because I was the one who got us in the Race in the first place, or at least encouraged us to go on it.
Shannon: I definitely don't think it was one Roadblock [that we lost].
Shannon: There was such a combination of things and decisions that we made. Some of was Roadblocks, some of it was just we made the wrong decisions. I mean it wasn't any one thing and it was definitely not just "the pantry incident," we'll call it. (laughs)
Jody: I know, but that was so frustrating not to be able to find the pantry...
Shannon: Oh, I'm sure...
Jody: ...when the definition of the word is that it's in a closet or a little room off the kitchen. So I just did not have the mental flexibility to jump out there, outside the box as it were, and so I do blame myself for that.
Reality TV World: How far behind Louie and Michael did you actually arrive at the Pit Stop, do you know?
Shannon: We don't know. We just know that we were behind Mike and Louie but we don't know the exact time.
Reality TV World: So you have no idea whether something like getting kicked by the cow and having to restart your milk might have been the difference?
Shannon: No, we don't know.
Jody: I have a feeling we weren't all that far behind them, but there's no way to know.
Reality TV World: Shannon, what was it like doing that high-wire Roadblock task on last week's episode -- were you surprised that Cord decided to chit-chat during the middle of it?
Shannon: I was the one who was trying to start a conversation with him. I was like let's tell jokes or something like that he just kind of -- and then he started struggling a little bit and he kind of had to concentrate on what he was doing. I mean it was definitely difficult, it was an upper-body workout.
Reality TV World: So were you trying to keep your mind off of where you were or were you trying to distract him or what was the thinking behind that?
Shannon: I was trying to get my mind off of how difficult it was, definitely.
Reality TV World: How were you guys cast on the show, was it your first time applying? Jody, you suggested you were the one interested?
Jody: So much of Well we were approached and decided to go ahead and do it. And then we had to apply just like everyone else and do the videos and the paperwork and the auditions and that kind of thing.