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Mother/son team of Susan and Patrick Vaughn get eliminated from CBS's 'The Amazing Race 7'

By Andrea Sellers, 03/23/2005 

Three consecutive eighth place finishes finally caught up with The Amazing Race 7's mother and son team of Susan and Patrick Vaughn. Once again finishing eighth in the fourth race leg where only the race's top seven finishers would continue, the duo became the latest The Amazing Race 7 team to get eliminated from the competition.

Last night's CBS broadcast of The Amazing Race 7's fourth episode began with the lead pack (aka the folks who ate last episode's big load of cow) heading out as the sun rose to the race leg's roadblock -- a traditional gaucho challenge in which one member of each team had to ride a horse through a barrel course and capture a ring within the specified time limit.

Alex Ali retained his team's lead by finishing his second run through the course within the time limit. A trouper, Joyce Agu got bucked off her "nice" horse twice, but managed to successfully navigate the course on her third try. Although Brian and Greg Smith departed the pitstop at the same time as Ron Young and Kelly Mccorkle, the brothers missed a key turn on the way to the roadblock site, losing valuable time to the former POW and his girlfriend. Arriving at the roadblock ahead of Brian and Greg, Kelly successfully completed the roadblock on her first try, solidifying her team's hold on third place. Recovering from their travel problems, the brothers quickly completed the roadblock task and joined the other three teams at the airport.

Unlike prior The Amazing Race legs, where bunching was the dirty word for the day, this leg provided a major obstacle flight-wise. The teams were told they had two flights available to Buenos Aires -- but the flights were five hours apart. The first four teams easily ended up on the first flight and didn't mind having to check their luggage, since they anticipated a big lead over the remaining teams. After all, they had over a two-hour head start on the next team -- time-penalized former survivors Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich.

Even though they got lost on the way to the roadblock, Rob managed to complete the task quickly enough to get his team on the first flight, much to the chagrin of the other competitors. Having departed the pitstop more than four hours later than the lead pack, the other three teams (Susan and Patrick, Ray Housteau and Deanna Shane, and Meredith and Gretchen Smith) were forced to take the second flight. While Deanna and Patrick’s incompetence at the roadblock did little to change their teams' fates, it did force the viewers to be subjected to the temper tantrums of their partners. Waiting at the Mendoza Airport, Gretchen commented on the "ménage a trois" still being together.

On the lead flight, being the last passengers to get on the plane meant that you were the first to get your luggage, giving Rob and Amber a critical edge over the other teams. Once in Buenos Aires, the teams were instructed to head to a church tower to receive a clue from a man in raincoat. After finding this Father Guido Sarducci look-alike, the teams boarded a train to Tigre, with all five lead teams ending up on the same train, causing Lynn and Alex to comment that Rob and Amber were "like an STD" and that they needed to stay away from and protect themselves from Romber.

Once in Tigre, the teams headed to a dock to begin the leg's detour, "Shipwreck or Island." Given a 30-year-old picture of a boat and a map, the teams were instructed to search the nearby river and find the ship's wreckage, with the alternative being to simply use the map to navigate to San Antonio Island. "Romber," the brothers, and Ron and Kelly all managed to find the shipwreck. Uchenna and Joyce also opted to search for the shipwreck but instead stumbled onto the island following a fruitless search. After losing valuable time waiting for a replacement boat to arrive following the engine failure of their original boat, Alex and Lynn also found the island.

Beating the other lead pack teams to arrive at La Martina Polo Club pitstop location first, Rob and Amber won a trip to London. Brian and Greg followed in second place, with Uchenna and Joyce in third. Alex and Lynn’s transportation problems continued when their taxi had to stop to ask for directions, allowing Ron and Kelly to claim fourth place.

After the final three trailing teams landed in Buenos Aires and followed the clue to the train. Susan and Patrick mistakenly believed that since they are alone on their train, they were ahead of the other two teams. In actuality, they were already in last place -- a position that would remain theirs for the reminder of the race leg. Each of the three teams suffered through their own blunders as they stumbled through the detour, however, sadly, only one team could finish last.. Roy and Deanna managed to achieve Roy's frequently repeated goal of beating the "oldsters," but Meredith and Gretchen managed to overcome their mistakes and reach the pitstop in seventh place. Encountering some boat problems of their own, Susan and Patrick finished last, becoming the fourth team to be eliminated from The Amazing Race 7.

Next week, viewers will be treated to a special two-hour (one of which is presumptively non-elimination) episode that features a hair-raising ladder walk, Gretchen’s bloody head wound, and the brothers experiencing a violent car accident. Is this The Amazing Race or Reality Show Bloopers?

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