Exclusive: Monique Pryor and Shawne Morgan talk 'The Amazing Race'
By Reality TV World staff, 03/02/2010
Monique Pryor and Shawne Morgan appeared to be on fairly solid The Amazing Race footing when they arrived at the third leg's Roadblock ahead of several other teams.
However Shawne ended up struggling to complete the lassoing task, resulting in the "Moms/Attorneys" team dropping to last place and eventually becoming the third team eliminated from The Amazing Race's sixteenth season during Sunday night's CBS broadcast.
On Monday, Monique and Shawne talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience, including what happened at the roping Roadblock task, whether they thought the task was fair given the cast also includes a team of real-life cowboys, which accomplishment they're proudest of, and what happened at the leg's subsequent Detour tasks.
Reality TV World: Shawn, you obviously had a hard time with the steer roping Roadblock task, about how much actual time were you out there?
Shawne: I can't say time-wise [but] it took a while. Honestly, I wasn't sure of the time but I just was like "We're going to do this." Our whole thing during the whole Race was "We must complete our tasks, we're not going up." So I was just focused listening to Monique.
Reality TV World: Monique, what were you thinking as you just had to stand there and watch her struggle?
Monique: I wish I could help her, and that was the frustrating this about it -- to watch the teammate who you care about, that you're in a race with, doing a task that's very challenging. Innately I just wanted to help her and encourage her and say the right things.
She was just so focused and determined -- she was just quiet most of the time -- and I [was] yelling different things and at one point I said "Do you want me to just shut up?"
And that's when she was like "I just need you to pray with me." And we said that prayer and then it just happened. I mean that wasn't any editing, it just happened and that just gave us even more faith and encouragement.
I think I actually got emotional when it happened because it's a testament to who we are.
Reality TV World: How did you guys decide who would do the Roadblock?
Shawne: It was a split decision. That was our thing, we both knew that we were both up to whatever challenge, so we were just like "Okay, you do this, you do that... let's just do it." We didn't even think about it.
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Reality TV World: Shawn, was there some secret to throwing the rope that you finally figured out or was it just a matter of throwing it time after time and eventually getting lucky?
Monique: It was the prayer! (laughs)
Shawne: Yeah, that was the biggest part, I will tell you. Honestly. I was just like "I have to remain focused because obviously you get frustrated and it was going to tire me out... but the biggest thing was like, we had to pray, and I know that I needed something, the extra push.
But physically it was the gauchos, for sure showing us how to do it, and I changed out ropes for a lighter one. Even still, trying and trying it, it took you know, a minute to get it done. But we were like "Look, I just need to know" -- because of course if you're discouraged that's one thing, but to know Monique was encouraging me AND that prayer, it helped me beyond belief, I have to tell you.
Reality TV World: [Brandy Snow] seemed to think that the task was unfair similar to what [Jet McCoy and Cord McCoy] do on a regular basis. What are your thoughts on that, do you think [the producers] should review all the tasks after they finalize the cast or do you think it's just kind of the luck of the draw?
Shawne: Absolutely not...
Monique: I mean there's different people. The funny thing is my 8-year-old daughter felt the same way Brandy did, so I had to explain to her -- and you know most people should realize this -- we all had different advantages throughout the Race.
You know Brandy could speak Spanish and the cowboys couldn't speak Spanish. So I couldn't say "Oh dang, we're in two Spanish-speaking countries, it's not fair." You come to the Race with different strengths.
You know, I'm a fast runner, Shawne has upper body strength. We're [both] attorneys, we can be calm, cool, collected and positive. Those are all advantages. So just because the cowboys had a task with a lasso, we definitely thought "Oh man, the cowboys got this really good!"
Reality TV World: What was Brent's secret -- [like Jet, he also managed to rope his in only two throws]
Monique: One thing he has is physical strength.
Shawne: And he's a tall guy. I mean who knows, it seemed to help him.
Monique: And the rope is heavy, so physical strength was part of it, [plus] like you said Shawne, being tall. And luck! That's the great thing about the Race, luck is a great equalizer.
Monique: You can get a task that you probably don't even know that you're skilled at doing, and you do it well. Then you get a taxi cab driver like we did on the first leg that takes you the wrong way...
Monique: That's one thing that attracted me to the Race more than anything.
Reality TV World: You actually seemed to catch some luck at the Detour. When you got to the "Horse Power," ["Dating Models" Brent Horne and Caite Upton] and ["Detectives" Louis Stratvato and Michael Naylor] were showing up at the same time -- at least it looked like on the show -- and ["Brothers" Dan Pious and Jordan Pious] were also still there. What were you thinking at that point, did you think you were back in it?
Shawne: Oh no, we knew. There were a lot of teams there at that point, because the land was so spread out. Unlike many tasks, you really couldn't tell what the actual Detours -- you know, what you were choosing from -- where on other ones we kind of knew "Okay, you're walking this, you know whatever. This one you really didn't know what it entailed.
So at one point, we saw horses down -- basically on the land-- so we were thinking "Oh, we're riding horses." And so we had seen them and tried to figure out "Where do you begin this task?" It was soooo spread out.
I don't know if you could really capture it watching on TV, but it was miles between the tasks. And so it was interesting even to find the starting point, and when we saw other teams going down and trying different things they looked like they were getting frustrated on the Detour that involved counting and doing the compass reading -- which didn't even involve a compass. But a lot of people steered away from that.
So we were like "Well okay, let's try it," we saw other had completed the "Horse Power" so we were like "Okay, let's try that at least." So we went down there and we saw -- you know, we're not going to give up and that was our thought. We're not going to give up, and we didn't want to be -- as you said Monique -- one of those teams where the lights shut down and the sun goes down and Phil comes out [to meet them].
We were determined to get it done. But after a while it was just physically grueling with that stupid wooden horse. That was just -- it was sooo heavy. It was extremely heavy.
Monique: And awkward.
Shawne: Yeah, awkward AND heavy. So at that point we were like "Okay, this is physically wearing us out," and we didn't want to get injured as a result. Because they didn't show it [all] but people were falling off. I think you fell off Monique, didn't you?
Shawne: What amazed us was we then went to the other task and that done in no time, with did it just like that! So of course hindsight is "Darn it, we should have gone to that one!" But you know, that's the Race, it is what it is.
You always have people tell you "You should have done this!" or whatever. But it's not until people get out there and you're dealing with the mental aspects of it, as well as the physical, can you honestly say it, until you've run the Race.
Monique: Yeah, people are like "Oh, you should have switched sooner." It's like those tasks were like a mile and a half apart, and walking through cow dung and up hills and so forth.
Monique: We've seen the past shows where people switch tasks and just keep getting confused and couldn't complete it and so we didn't want to do that. Like I said, it's just luck that you pick the task that works for you.
Reality TV World: So you guys started with "Horse Power" because of what you saw with the other teams, did I understand that right?
Shawne: Initially we thought you needed a compass [for "Horse Sense"] because we saw the coordinates listed for [it].
Monique: Right, and we thought we would have to go back to our car to get our compass, so we didn't want to waste time doing that. You know, we were there to live the Race, as well. And we were like, "Okay, when is the next time we're going to get on a horse?"
We thought we were going to be actually on a real horse.
Reality TV World: A lot of teams seemed to...
Monique: We wanted to have fun at the same time and experience life different.
Shawne: Right. We were thinking we already fed some llamas, now we're going to deal with some horses.
Reality TV World: Given it went so easy for you, do you think you might still be in the Race if you had just started with "Horse Sense" right away?
Monique: You never know, you never know.
Monique: We saw people getting confused. A lot of people gave up on "Horse Sense" because there were so many teams there at the same time that counting your steps got some people confused. So if we would have started "Horse Sense," who knows if we would have done it quick or like the others, [not been able] to concentrate or something like that and wasted time.
You never know. We don't want to be Monday morning quarterbacks.
Reality TV World: Shawn, do you think all the rope throwing at the Roadblock task ended up tiring you out for the Detour? It seemed like you were a little exhausted by the time you got done roping, and then you had to drag the heavy wooden horse.
Shawne: No, because we had time in between there. We had to drive. What you don't see is all the driving that's involved and we knew other teams kind of got lost as well. So we had other things that we were jumping to really quickly.
In fact before that we played the poker and got it on the second hand. We found the spot for the Detour pretty quickly and when we saw all the teams there -- no, we had time. I mean our adrenaline was flowing so fast.
Shawne: We were just "Let's do it, whatever it is." And the biggest part of us was to make sure we completed it, whatever it was. That's what we really felt good about when we watched [the show]. It's so funny, people we holding on, "Oh, what's going to Happen?" And our biggest sense of accomplishment was knowing that we completed it.
We finished it and the Detour that we did accomplish we did it pretty fast. Of course, like we said, hindsight is always 20/20. But we were happy that we ran a good race.
Reality TV World: It was nice to see you didn't just quit when things weren't going your way. Do you have any idea how far behind Louie and Michael you guys actually were? Obviously it looked like the sun had just about set by the time you did finish.
Monique: It was pretty close. It was pretty close, as you saw it. We knew anything could have gone wrong -- somebody getting lost, getting the wrong directions, getting penalized for something. So we didn't even try to focus on "Okay, we're not that far behind." We just knew that anything could happen.
Reality TV World: So you thought you had a real chance right up until you got to the mat?
Shawne: Oh yeah!
Monique: Oh yeah!
Shawne: That's why we kept hustling, and Monique was driving like a bat out of hell. Because we're like, "We still have to hustle to get in here, because anything can happen." And that was shown throughout the Race, we saw that time and time again.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on the show? Was it your first time applying?
Shawne: Yeah, they called us right after they saw our tape. We submitted a video and the audio was a little off or whatever so we had to re-submit, but yeah, we got a call shortly thereafter.