The Aiello family becomes the third team eliminated from 'The Amazing Race: Family Edition'
By Andrea Sellers, 10/12/2005
A momentary delay in making a roadblock decision turned out to be the moment of doom for Tony Aiello and his sons-in-law, as they became the third team eliminated from The Amazing Race: Family Edition.
The Amazing Race: Family Edition's third episode began with the teams departing Middleburg, VA, the location of the race's second pit stop. As they left the pit stop, the teams received a clue instructing them to drive to Washington Dulles International Airport, where they would finally take the season's first airplane flight all the way to Charleston, South Carolina.
As one of the first teams to arrive at the airport, the Weaver family had plenty of time to question airport employees about their travel arrangements -- an event that raised suspicion and distrust after the inexperienced flyers subsequently refused to answer the questions of several other teams. Once the teams arrived in Charleston, they drove to the Battery district and found their next clue in a gazebo. With seven of the eight teams on two flights that landed only two minutes apart, the race was tight at this point, with only the Paolos trailing behind on a third flight that arrived about thirty minutes later.
After reaching the gazebo, the teams were faced with a detour: "Forest Gump" or "Muddy Waters." The Weaver, Aiello, and Gaghin families decided to choose the muddy option and drove 4x4 jeeps through the Ridgeville Mud Run's 400-foot "mud bar," while the remaining teams chose to drive to the closer Wando Shrimp seafood company and remove the heads from 200 pounds of shrimp. After six unsuccessful tries in the mud run, the Weavers gave up and headed to the shrimp boat detour, falling from second to last place. The Gaghins were able to navigate the course in their first try (perhaps another situation in which their children's small size -- and weight -- proved to be a challenge advantage), but it took the Aiellos fourteen attempts to complete the course. Meanwhile, all the shrimp deheaders were able to complete their task fairly quickly.
Once they had completed the detour, the teams were instructed to go to the Charleston Visitor Center and sign up for one of two charter buses to a "mystery destination." The first four shrimping teams left on the first charter at 3PM, leaving the three mud teams to travel on a 5PM bus with the Paolo family, who had selected the shrimp task after their arrival on the later third flight. What the teams didn't know was that the mystery destination was eight hours away, in Huntsville, Alabama. Most of the teams handled the bus ride well, but the Weaver family whined, cried, and "flaked out" during the eight-hour ride -- much to the disgust of the other three teams traveling on the second bus with them.
Upon arrival in Huntsville, teams were directed to drive to the Edward O. Buckbee Hangar at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. There, the teams were presented with a roadblock. As a special twist for the family version, some roadblocks are designed for completion by two team members. In the hangar, two members of each team entered the centrifuge used for astronaut training and were spun at 3.2 G's. After completing the roadblock, teams had a one-mile trek through the center's rocket park to find the designated computers within the Space Museum and log on for a final clue directing them to leg's pit stop at the nearby space shuttle Pathfinder.
Despite their fatherís difficulty completing prior physical challenges, the Bransen family was the first team to arrive at the pit stop and won the added prize of "free gasoline for life" -- a potentially very valuable prize given the youth of the three 20-something Bransen daughters. The Linzes, Schroeders, and Godlewskis were the next teams to arrive, leaving the four teams from the second bus to battle to avoid elimination. Although the Aiellos arrived at the clue box ahead of two other teams, their hesitation in choosing two members to perform the roadblock allowed the Paolos and the Gaghins to pass them and ride the centrifuge before them. That turned out to be the deciding factor, as the Aiellos were the last team to check in at the pit stop.
In the next episode, the Weavers are forced to relive the nightmare of their fatherís death, as The Amazing Race sends them to the Talladega race track. But will the viewers be there to care? So far, we've endured teams squabbling as they search for a gas station, complaining on buses, and challenges that include de-heading shrimp and pitching tents. Who ever told the producers that family vacations made for exciting television?