Exclusive: Anita and Arthur Jones talk about 'The Amazing Race' ouster
By John Bracchitta, 09/30/2008
Anita and Arthur Jones "white knuckle" trek in The Amazing Race was all too brief.
"The Beekeepers," aged 63 and 61-years-old respectively, from Eugene, OR became the first team eliminated from The Amazing Race's thirteenth season during Sunday night's broadcast of the CBS reality show's premiere.
On Monday Anita and Arthur talked to Reality TV World about how they prepared for the show, why they got off to a slow start in Los Angeles, how they managed to briefly recover in Brazil, why they picked the cargo net Detour option, and what contributed to their last-place finish in the Race's first leg.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for the show?
Anita: Um, we saw the [advertisement] on television that said "Do you want to apply for The Amazing Race?" and we thought it would be fun to send in a video so we did. A little later down the road we got a call to come down and [they put us on the show.]
Reality TV World: Was that your first time applying or had you applied before?
Anita: No, that was the first time...
Arthur: ...Our first time. We had a whole lot of fun making the video and sent it in. I sort of described it like buying a lottery ticket. You do something and you dream for fifteen minutes. [We had] no thought at all that we would ever make it and we ended up going to Hollywood!
Reality TV World: Were you regular viewers of the show?
Anita: Yes it was my favorite show. It's still amazing to me (laughs).
Reality TV World: So you had seen most of the seasons?
Anita: Um... I would say the last five seasons or so. [The show] is just a wonderful way for people to see different parts of the world when they maybe can't go do it. That's what I was doing when I was watching!
Reality TV World: You had mentioned during the clip [shown in the premiere] that working on the farm kept you guys pretty fit. Was that the extent of your preparation? Or did you guys do some additional...
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Anita: Working out? Yeah.
Arthur: Yeah, we went down to our local community center [where] they have a pool and we did lap swims. They had a fitness room and we talked to the trainer. [Eugene, Oregon] is also very bike friendly -- we live right off of a bike path -- so we bicycled everywhere.
Reality TV World: What about travel issues? Did you do any research and familiarize yourself with travel issues or [read up on some foreign countries or cultures]?
Anita: Not too much. Arthur speaks some Spanish. We just figured that we would have to go on our charm. (laughs)
Arthur: And we made up a list of phrases that we would need to know and would find them out as we went along.
Reality TV World: Had you guys done a lot of international traveling before?
Arthur: In 2004 we took our whole family -- there are 11 of us -- to Italy for a couple of weeks. As far as Anita and I are concerned that's the extend of traveling that we've done together. I did quite a bit in the 1970's on my own. I spent about nine months traveling through Europe and North Africa basically hitchhiking.
Reality TV World: What were your first impressions of some of the other teams there?
Anita: That there was going to be an exciting adventure to go along with all of them (laughs).
Reality TV World: But nobody stuck out more than the others?
Anita: Well it was sort of... Our meetings with [other teams] were so fast that we really didn't get to... They just seemed so young to us!
Reality TV World: Last night we actually saw Nick and Starr [Spangler] form an alliance with Ken and Tina [Greene] right at the Los Angeles airport. Did you guys try and have any of those types of discussions or were you just holding on for the ride and trying to get through the first leg first?
Anita: We had a lot of fun with the people that we were with when we ended up in Chicago.
Arthur: Yeah, like Brooke [Jackson] and Marisa [Axelrod], Toni and Dallas [Imbimbo]. We were all doing the hokie-pokie in the airport...
Reality TV World: You ended up in Chicago?
Anita: Uh huh.
Arthur: Yes. The second plane out went to Chicago.
Reality TV World: Wow, it went from Los Angeles to Chicago and then on to Brazil?
Anita and Arthur: Yes.
Reality TV World: Well no wonder [the flight] was three hours later [than the earlier one]! (laughs) So you had some layover time with those teams in Chicago?
Anita and Arthur: Yes.
Reality TV World: You were one of the last teams to get into LAX. Did you get lost on the way? Or did you just get off to a slow start at the [Los Angeles Coliseum]?
Anita: Well... (laughs) [The Amazing Race Host Phil Keoghan] said that we couldn't go until he had dropped his hand and so we were just intent on making sure we didn't do anything wrong! (laughs)
Then we looked up and we were watching him and all at once we saw that everybody else had taken off. It was very funny actually, we were laughing about it quite a bit because there you see us coming along and [just] puttering along.
Arthur: And, you know, we made a couple of wrong turns on the way to the airport. I don't think we were last out of the Coliseum, but we were the last team to the airport. But we were first on our flight...
Reality TV World: Yeah... you were on the later [United Airlines] flight but you were actually the second United team to make it to the military base. Why do you think you two managed to do so well on that part of the leg?
Anita: See, I truly believe we could have kept on -- if we were on the show longer -- and we could have done all of the tasks. We really weren't worried about that at all.
Arthur: We had an incredible taxi ride from after the coffee cart to the military base that... it was truly "white-knuckle." We couldn't commend [the driver] enough for his skills and everything. I think that might have had something to do with it. But you don't know because we didn't have any idea where anyone else was.
Reality TV World: So coming out of the airport, you actually didn't believe you were the second [team]? You'd believed you made up that time somewhere else along the way?
Anita: Well, we didn't know where we were once we got to the cart.
Arthur: And that's the difficulty because everyone's just out there doing it as fast as they can because it's not like there's somebody -- like in a footrace -- right next to you so you can see where they are.
Reality TV World: When you guys were at the military base overnight there was a situation where Terrence [Gerchberg] got upset that Sarah [Leshner] was spending time talking to you and the other teams. Where you aware of that issue while you were out there or was that news to you last night?
Anita: That was sort of news to us because we had a wonderful time talking with everybody and trying to say "hello" for the first time. They were very sweet.
Arthur: Terrence and Sarah were one of the couples that we sort of connected with in the jungle so that was news to us.
Reality TV World: What happened when you left the base? You seemed to fall into last place right when you left the base and really never got out of it at that point. Did you have taxi problems?
Arthur: The taxi coming to the church... we sorta got slowed in traffic. We had a little more trouble than the other teams catching a taxi. Going into the race I don't think we realized how important transportation is.
Reality TV World: Yeah, everyone [we talk to] says that (laughs)
Arthur: And that's it. Anybody can win and anybody can lose based on that. You get a taxi that makes a wrong turn or doesn't know... I mean... I asked the driver "do you know where this plaza is?" and he said "yes." But yet he still stopped and asked for directions.
Reality TV World: Yeah, based on the show, it really looked like that was your downfall. For whatever reason, you were the last one to get to the Detour option [and] it really seemed like you were sunk at that point, would you say that was accurate?
Reality TV World: You were the last ones [to reach] the Detour, correct?
Reality TV World:Why did you guys choose to do the cargo net [Detour option] instead of the staircase?
Arthur: When I was in high school I spent a summer in Mexico City with my uncle and I was exposed to the cultural custom where people crawled on their hands and knees to cross the plaza in front of a church and up to the alter and everything.
I had thought about that for 45 years and I saw that and immediately I saw this trail of blood everything and I just... it freaked me. Right there with all of the adrenaline and everything... you know that's their cultural tradition but I can't do that.
Reality TV World: I thought it was a wise decision, I was just wondering what your thought process behind it was. Obviously all of the other teams except for one came to the same conclusion.
Arthur: Yeah. And I may have had a little more force behind it because of this memory that came up from out of nowhere that just said "No, you don't want to do that." But at the same time we went into the race knowing that we would never be asked to do anything that is too dangerous.
Reality TV World: When you got to the cargo net... I know there was a limit of three [teams] on the net at a time. Based on the show, it looked like you actually had to wait for some of the other teams to finish, [is that what happened]?
Arthur: No, I think that Dallas and Toni were off the net....
Reality TV World: Oh so you didn't have to wait on the net and got to go down immediately?
Anita: We just went down as fast as we could.
Reality TV World: No, I understand that. But you didn't have to wait at the top for another team to clear the net?
Arthur: No we did not have to wait for another team to clear.
Reality TV World: How close behind Marisa and Brooke where you when you reached the Pit Stop?
Anita: We don't know because when we got there and we were going up the ramp we didn't see them.
Reality TV World: So you really have no idea whether it was two minutes or half an hour?
Anita and Arthur: Yeah.
Reality TV World: I'm guessing you two were surprised to be the first team eliminated?
Anita: (Laughs) Yeah. It was like we were in a dream. We were in a fog. We couldn't believe it really was... to see Phil there, we just wanted to say " you're not really here." So it was very strange to have that whole thing happen there.
Reality TV World: What are you doing now? Are you back to the farm and the honey-making?
Arthur: Uh-huh. We've got some fall things to do with the bees and need to put the blueberries to bed for the winter.
Anita: We're making lots of jam!
Reality TV World: [The Amazing Race producer Bertram van Munster] mentioned that he got lots of jars of honey when we spoke to him a couple weeks ago.
(Anita and Arthur both laugh)
Anita: Everybody [on the show] was wonderful. We can't stress that enough.
Arthur: Everyone we've been involved with in The Amazing Race has just been extraordinary. These are the best professionals out there and we can't talk enough about the camera man and the sound guy.
It's what you like to say is the "Ginger Rogers syndrome." They did everything that we did but they did it [while walking and running] backwards and also carrying a 40 lb. camera and all of their backpacks and everything.