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The Linz Family wins CBS' 'The Amazing Race: Family Edition'


By Andrea Sellers, 12/14/2005 

Just as an online gambling website revealed back in September, last night's broadcast of The Amazing Race: Family Edition's season finale ended with the Linz siblings crossing the finish line first and claiming the competition's $1,000,000 grand prize. Close behind them in second place were the Bransen family, with the Weaver family finishing third.

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This marks the second consecutive season in which the identity of The Amazing Race's winning team has been leaked via an online gambling website.

The Amazing Race: Family Edition's finale broadcast began with the three remaining teams departing Larry Arnold’s Green Meadow Ranch, a 10,000 acre Montana cattle ranch that served as the competition's final pit stop. As they left the ranch, the teams received a clue instructing them to fly to Montreal, Canada. In a somewhat atypical move, the show's producers had already pre-booked plane tickets for the teams, however each team also had the option to purchase alternate tickets if they wanted to gamble on a different route. Even though the first-place Bransens purchased tickets for what they thought was a quicker direct option that avoided a Toronto layover, both the Linzes and Weavers still managed to pass them when they were later able to depart Toronto an hour earlier than originally expected. Once in Montreal, the teams searched through a series of metro tunnels called the Underground City to find the clue box in one of the passages.

After finding their Underground City clue, the teams were then instructed to complete the "Slide It" or "Roll It" Detour. "Slide It" required the teams to show off their curling skills while "Roll It" required the teams to use traditional lumberjack tools to roll logs along a 100-foot course. After getting lost on their way to McGill Arena, the Weavers and Linzes showed off their skills with the rock, while the Bransens logged their way to last place.

Once they completed the Detour, the teams proceeded to the American Pavilion, a structure built for the 1967 World Expo, and climbed into the big ball to retrieve their next clue. There they learned that their next stop would be an industrial park where they had to find door J (or "La Porte J," if you want to get snooty about it.) Behind door J the teams found a Roadblock task in which one team member had to become a daring young man (or woman) on a flying trapeze and learn to complete "the catch." Rolly Weaver -- the only Weaver actually capable of participating in any Roadblock that required more than praying to God -- easily completed the task on his first try. Meanwhile, Alex "Flabby Ass" Linz took three tries to complete the task. Although they'd ended up arriving in Montreal more than an hour after the other two teams, Alex's struggles allowed the Bransens to catch up to the Linzes at the Roadblock. Once Alex succeeded on his third try, Beth Bransen made sure the teams stayed close by quickly completing the Roadblock on her first try.

After the Roadblock, the teams headed to Parc Olympique, where they drove golf carts around the Olympic Stadium until they found the entrance to the playing field. Once in the former home of the now Washington Nationals baseball team, the teams had to search the stadium's 56,000 seats for three clue boxes that contained charter flight departure times for the following morning. Having led the race since the teams arrived in Montreal, the Weavers became discouraged when the other teams caught up to them at the stadium. Already whining about how having to find the clue boxes was "so unfair" and "stupid," the Weavers became even more upset once the other teams found their way to the stadium's upper level and located their departure time tickets. The Weaver women wanted to give up and rest, but Rolly finally persuaded Ma Weaver to end her nap and resume the family's search (for some reason, Linda had no issue allowing 14-year-old Rolly to complete both of the final leg's hazardous Roadblock tasks but prohibited him from wandering an empty stadium by himself with a camera crew in tow.) After finally finding the final departure time in the wee hours of the morning, the Weavers headed directly to the airport, where they learned they would be leaving on the last of the three charters.

Beginning at 5:45AM, the three teams boarded the three flights -- each spaced five minutes apart -- that would take them to Toronto, their "mystery destination." Once there, the teams went to the top observation deck of the tallest building in the world, the CN Tower, and used binoculars to search for the next clue box. After some quick searching, the Linzes and Bransens found the clue and headed back down the elevator together. Meanwhile, the Weavers provided the opportunity for their elevator operator to remind The Amazing Race viewers of one of the lamest jokes ever written by admitting his job "had it ups and downs."

After collecting the clue they'd spotted from the CN Tower, the teams had to complete another Detour, "Ship" or "Shoe." Opting for "Ship," the Linzes and Weavers sailed from Queens Quay to the Kajama schooner, where one team member had to climb 100 feet up the ship's rigging and retrieve a nautical flag. Once there, the Weaver women once again sat back and watched Rolly climb high above the ground and complete their Roadblock. Meanwhile, the shoe fetishers (aka, the Bransen girls) traveled to The Bata Shoe Museum and wandered among 100 women trying to match a pair of shoes to the proper Cinderella.

Once they completed the Detour, the teams drove 81 miles south to Queenston, where they jumped into jet boats and motored out to the Niagara River whirlpool that contained a buoy holding their next clue. After retrieving it, the excited teams learned they were headed across the river to their final destination: Lewiston, NY.

After jetting their boats ashore -- alleluia -- the teams were given one final Roadblock, a task in which one member of each team had to puzzle their way through a large 71-piece jigsaw map of North and Central America. Nick Linz was able to overcome his initial inability to remember the true location of Oklahoma to beat Wally Bransen in their quest to pick up the pieces, and the jubilant Linz siblings met The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan at the finish mat, where they were greeted with the following watered-down finish line words:

"25 days... 50 cities... and more than 600 consecutive hours together as a family... Linz family, you are the official winners of The Amazing Race"

The delighted Bransens ran hand in hand to a second place finish, where the top two teams played one final round of "you're awesome.. no, you're awesome" as they tried to out-compliment each other. The Linzes commented on how "smart, competitive, and pretty good-looking" the Bransens were while Wally Bransen called the Linz siblings "a testimony to their parents... four young people with so much integrity."

Not-so-surprisingly, the mutual compliments stopped flowing as soon as the Weavers crossed the mat to finish in third place. Instead -- looking to immediately begin wiping the bad memories of The Amazing Race: Family Edition's dumbed-down race from viewers' minds -- CBS ran a preview of The Amazing Race 9, a new regular edition of the show in which the competition will return to its traditional two-person team format. Although CBS' preview stated only that the show would be "coming this February," The Amazing Race 9 is expected to premiere on Tuesday, February 28 -- two days after the closing ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

(Photo credit CBS)


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