Bopper was supposed to race with his "Kentucky Friends" teammate Mark Jackson, who was initially willing to throw in the towel at the idea of his best friend being unable to enjoy all the Race has to offer right alongside him. However, Bopper convinced Mark to stick with it for his family's sake and the potential life-changing grand prize of $1 million, so former Racer Mallory Ervin was brought in to be Bopper's replacement.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Bopper talked about his health scare and how Mallory's participation came about during Sunday night's premiere episode of The Amazing Race: All-Stars.
Below is the first half of Bopper's interview. Check back with us on Tuesday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Sorry about the way things turned out for you, Bopper!
William "Bopper" Minton: Eh, that's the way things go sometimes, you know?! You can't always have your cake and the ice cream and eat it all!
Reality TV World: Tell me a little bit about the pancreas attack you had other than what was shown during last night's episode. What do you think caused it and what was the recovery like?
William "Bopper" Minton: Well, actually, you know, the best thing that we could come up with is it was just -- I never had a pancreas issue in my life.
This happened the day before we were leaving for Los Angeles to go start the Race and, you know, I just had a lot of worries, I had a lot of stress on me, I was doing a few things different, you know, with my diet and stuff. And so the perfect storm brewed up at the wrong time and it kind of got me!
Reality TV World: How last minute then was Mallory's participation? Was she on standby for awhile to be a potential replacement for someone or how did that come about?
William "Bopper" Minton: Well, I really don't know how that came about as far as how they had Mallory on standby or whatever, but I had the pancreas attack the day before we went to Los Angeles and they wanted to admit me into the emergency room, but I wouldn't let them. And so, I was really hoping I would come to Los Angeles and the pain and the problem would go away within a day or so.
I was [drinking] clear liquid and was on a bland diet and I was hoping I'd be ready to go. So, you know, I get to Los Angeles and I'm not doing any better, so I'm sitting in the motel room and I tell Mark, "Look, I'm going to have to ask the doctor. These pains are really starting to hit me hard and I got to see what's going on," you know, "I got to let them know what's going on."
So I went to production and told them that I needed to see a doctor, and so he did the blood work on me and another [test] on me and just came to the conclusion that I was at the borderline. I was able to go and not go, so it was just best for everybody to look after my health and just not let me go on the Race.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like producers came up with the decision to have Mallory pair up with Mark and you two didn't come up with the idea. So do you have any explanation as to why Mallory was selected? Would Mark be unable to compete with another friend back at home because the person would've had to appeared on a prior season? Maybe producers more simply just wanted another Kentucky native?
William "Bopper" Minton: Well, a number of those. You can kind of use all those [reasons]. It had to be, of course, since this is an all-stars race, they had to have run the Race before. And of course, we're extremely proud Kentucky people, and so all those things come into factor.
It had to be somebody that's run the Race before -- which Mallory has -- it had to be somebody from Kentucky -- which Mallory is -- and so, actually, when it comes down to it, they had no other choice, I don't think, than to let Mallory fill my shoes.
She's the only one who brings the energy, you know, as far as being from Kentucky and how we're the Kentucky team. She's the only one that brings the energy that I've got -- the laughter and enthusiasm, all that. Mallory has got that package, you know? So, I think that's why they chose Mallory to race with Mark.
Reality TV World: You seemed to give Mark the stamp of approval on pairing up with another teammate immediately. Is that really the way the conversation went down or were you a little hesitation at first? Like maybe you initially considered both of you sitting out the season and waiting to compete on the next all-stars edition together or something.
William "Bopper" Minton: No, [it started with] misery and shock. I was already thinking I was going to this doctor, and you know, they were going to say, "Bop, you're good to go!" I was really hoping because I was feeling better every day but not to where I should be.
I needed to let the doctors know where I was at with my health, and so, when we got the news, of course we were devastated and Mark didn't want to go through the Race without me. So, I would've had to live with that, knowing that I knocked Mark out of doing something that was both our dream. I wouldn't have let him ask me not to go, so I told him that he had to go.
[I said], "I don't care who they put you with. You have to go do this for your family and you can't let me knock you out of doing this."
So him not going was never even a thought for me.
Reality TV World: You mentioned how Mallory seemed to match your enthusiasm and pride in Kentucky. But what was it like watching Mark work with Mallory as a teammate on the show? Based upon what you saw last night, do you think they'll get along well and run a great race or do you think any differences might get them into trouble?
William "Bopper" Minton: They're definitely, you know, they're just like me and Mark. We're completely opposite in every way but we work well together. We've known each other our whole lives, you know, Mark and Mallory just know of each other.
They don't know each other's ins and outs, what buttons to push and what buttons not to push. So I saw a little bit of that last night, and you know, I think they'll end up getting together and they'll get to know each other a lot better and run a really good race.
Above is the first half of Bopper's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on Tuesday for the concluding portion.