Exclusive: 'The Amazing Race' winners Kelsey Gerckens and Joey Buttitta talk (Part 2)
By Steve Rogers, 12/15/2015
The Amazing Race crowned "Dating Co-Workers and News Anchors" Kelsey Gerckens and Joey Buttitta the winners of the series' 27th season during Friday night's finale broadcast on CBS.
Kelsey and Joey from Santa Barbara, CA, crossed the finish line together in first place and won $1 million on the twelfth leg after conquering five continents, 10 countries and more than 34,000 miles.
Second place went to "Engaged Couple and Amazing Race Super Fans" Justin Scheman and Diana Bishop, while "Dating Paparazzi Business Partners" Logan Fazio and Chris Gordon finished in third.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Kelsey and Joey talked about their The Amazing Race experience and victory. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: What do you think attributed to running such a consistent race? You had many ups and very few downs, if any.
Kelsey Gerckens: I think the fact that Joey and I got along so well and the fact that we work together on a daily basis, so we know how to work together and how to do things. We don't always have to talk things out. Half the other teams are yelling and stuff. That's why you see them a little bit more than us, but the fact that we got along, that's why we were so consistent.
Reality TV World: Tiffany Chantell and Krista Debono said they had a bad taste in their mouths for Justin and Diana while they were racing but they actually changed their minds watching the season back because "The Green Team" stayed pretty honest and loyal with everyone. Tiffany and Krista then pointed out you guys were actually the surprise because you were the sneaky, more cutthroat ones. What's your reaction to that?
Joey Buttitta: Hashtag Puppetmastering!
Kelsey Gerckens: Joey and I, we played it as a game and we were there to do as good as we possibly could. So, I think that was just something that -- on the Race, we got along with everyone.
And when somebody says, you know, "Do you want to be a part of our alliance?" Are you really going to say "no" to their face? And the fact people wanted to be aligned with us and stuff, I think that's kind of where that comes into play.
Joey Buttitta: We're okay with playing the game. We don't have any qualms about U-Turning "Texas Boys." I mean, it's all part of it and people need to understand that you're always looking to advance in the game. And you know, every 14-year-old girl was mad at us for U-Turning "Team Texas," but that's okay. We'll get over it.
Reality TV World: Did you have a similar experience though as Tiffany and Krista in terms of watching the season back and seeing Justin and Diana in a different light than you saw them during the Race?
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Joey Buttitta: Not really.
Kelsey Gerckens: We got along with them!
Joey Buttitta: We never argued with them.
Kelsey Gerckens: Yeah, Justin and Diana, we got along with them. We never argued with them. We were never the ones that were so irritated with them, so for us, [our opinion] never changed because we were friends with them and had become friendly with them the entire race.
They were a team that we were loyal to and a team we wanted to compete with. They're good competitors and we had a good time playing with them. So we actually got along with them the whole time. We weren't one of the teams that was irritated by them the entire time.
Reality TV World: How did you feel about Chris and Logan though? A lot of the teams were saying the "Paparazzi" really rubbed them the wrong way.
Joey Buttitta: Yeah, we stayed out of the fray a lot. We didn't get in those confrontations when there were three or four-team blowouts where everybody was hashing it out. Chris and Logan, that's just how they are.
I mean, what you saw on TV was probably not even as bad as the way that they talked to each other. So, (laughs) to be around them at airports, that's just their personality. They both have very strong personalities. That's how they constantly are. It's exhausting, really.
Kelsey Gerckens: Yeah, I think Joey and I, we were just kind of racing our own race. We weren't really worrying about them. But their biggest issue was their relationship with each other. They didn't really have to worry about the other Racers. We just thought that was going to be their downfall.
Reality TV World: Your favorite memory from the Race is obviously crossing the finish line in first place and winning the million. But looking back on the journey of the Race itself, what was your favorite or most memorable moment? Maybe it was a certain place or moment between the two of you that you shared.
Kelsey Gerckens: I think our two legs in Africa were incredible. Going to the village and going over Victoria Falls and seeing the elephants and the crocodiles and the hippos, that was incredible. And then Joey and I got to kiss under Victoria Falls. I think those two legs were just so memorable.
Joey Buttitta: Yeah, Africa was amazing. We loved everything about it. And I even think of India as one of my favorite moments. We handed this little kid a Granola bar. He was asking for candy and just to see the smile on his face and how happy he was and to see him running back to tell all his friends, that was something I'll never forget -- just how a simple Granola bar can make this little kid in India so happy.
Reality TV World: What is the status of your relationship now since competing on the Race? I know you said you had plans to move in together, so what's in the near future for you guys?
Joey Buttitta: Yeah, we have a great relationship and Kelsey and I both see this as, you know, getting married down the road and a dog and kids and all these things. So we're definitely on that path and nothing about The Amazing Race changed that. It only made our relationship stronger.
Kelsey Gerckens: Joey and I went on The Amazing Race knowing we were in love and knowing we had a strong relationship, and I think just having the Race to test us in going through all of that and loving each other even more and coming out of it saying, "We're together. We can really accomplish anything."
I think that was just proof to us how amazing our relationship is and how strong it is and, you know, we want to be together for the rest of our lives.
Reality TV World: Joey, I think you mentioned you wanted to pay off the mortgage on your parents' house. Do you have any other big plans for the money, or even small purchases you'd like to make?
Joey Buttitta: Yeah, I mean, we're definitely going to help our families out, and I don't even know if it would cover -- I don't think a million dollars after taxes and all that is enough to do all the things we would like to do for people, but yeah, we're starting our lives together and saving [the money]. We don't want to be working when we're 80-years-old. So that's going to be the big goal, to try to save as much as possible.