INTERVIEW: David and Mary Conley voice no 'All-Stars' regrets
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/05/2007
It was a thrill for reality television aficionados David Conley Jr. and his wife Mary when they competed on the tenth season of The Amazing Race, so imagine how they must have felt when they learned they'd be giving it another go during the currently airing All-Stars edition. While they may have been the third team eliminated during The Amazing Race's eleventh installment, they have no regrets.
On Monday, David, a 33-year-old coal miner, and Mary, a 32-year-old homemaker, talked to Reality TV World about their feud with Charla and Mirna; their respect for Dustin and Kandice; and just what it felt like to be considered all-stars.
Reality TV World: During your pre-race interviews, you talked about wanting to race this race differently (not depend on others) -- what did you mean and what was your All-Stars strategy?
Mary: I wanted to prove to America that we could run this race on our own. I kind of got tired of reading on [Internet websites] that, "Dave and Mary can't do it on their own." We wanted to prove to these people because I really... I'm a big fan of the show just like they are and I wanted to prove to them that we could run this race on our own.
Reality TV World:Do you think you proved that?
Mary: Oh yeah. We have no regrets about how we ran the race.
Reality TV World:Did you do anything different to prepare for All-Stars?
David: Well, equipment-wise. We went out and bought waterproof shoes, the best backpacks we could buy, the zip-off pants, the Under Armour clothes... We was very well prepared for the All-Stars race.
Reality TV World: Pre-game alliances and subsequent out-of game relationships have played a big part in other all-star editions of reality shows. Did you plan on trying to ally with any of the teams you know?
Mary: No. We didn't want to form an alliance.
Reality TV World: Mary, during the first leg you lied to the beauty queens about flight information and said you specifically didn't want to help them and want them out. Why was that?
Mary: Because going into the race I was upset that [Dustin Seltzer and Kandice Pelletier] were chosen from our season. I really wanted -- I really thought -- it should have been [Erwin Cho and Godwin Cho]. At that point I wanted [Dustin and Kandice] out. I don't know what came over me. I don't know why I lied to them. It was ridiculous of me. But we got to know them this season. I understand why they were chosen as all-stars. I'm backing them all the way. Dustin and Kandice to win buddy.
Reality TV World: Why do you think Dustin and Kandice were chosen for All-Stars? Were there some characteristics they had that you just noticed during All-Stars?
Mary: No... they are the most competitive people on the race today. David: Well, female team... Mary: It don't matter. David: Yeah, they're the most competitive female team of any season. Mary: For me if there's any female team that can win, it could be [Dustin and Kandice] this year.
Reality TV World: David, who do you think the most competitive team is overall?
David: Overall? Well I'd have to say Rob and Amber [Mariano] overall.
Reality TV World: Is there a reason for that?
David: Most people have watched Rob on Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: All-Stars... he's got his new show Against All Odds. He's been on [Sci Fi Investigates], he's been on The Amazing Race. So I mean we've watched him on all these shows and you know he likes to try to get inside people's heads. Mary: And he don't quit. David: And he won't quit. For me, really, it ain't Rob. He couldn't do none of this without Amber. You know it is the team. To me, they was the most competitive team.
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Reality TV World: At the beginning of the second leg of the race, you helped Charla Baklayan Faddoul and Mirna Hindoyan pull their vehicle out of the mud. What prompted you to decide to help them?
Mary: That's just us. I don't care if it's our worst enemy stuck in the mud, I would have helped them. I'm not somebody who's ever going to leave somebody who's down. There's other things that I would have changed. I mean, I wouldn't have told her Chuquicamata [was the answer to the second leg's Roadblock challenge]. There's a lot of things on that leg I would have changed. But no... we don't regret pulling them out of the mud.
Reality TV World: Following that Detour, you passed Charla and Mirna arguing with Dustin and Kandice on the way to the Pit Stop and seemed to be excited you were no longer in last. However based on the alliance you previously formed, why didn't you stop to help them when you saw them on the side of the road?
Mary: What happened between leg one and leg two...I don't know. Let's just say [Charla and Mirna] know how they played the game. And I know how they played the game. And 10 other teams know how they played the game.
Reality TV World: So are you still harboring hard feelings towards Charla and Mirna?
Mary: I just don't like them as people. It's nothing to do with them passing me [on the way to the second Pit Stop]. I don't know why they wanted to edit it like that because it's nothing to do with that. I just don't like them as people, and why would I want to be around somebody I don't like as a person.
Reality TV World: Did you like them before the race or was this something that developed during All-Stars?
Mary: Well I mean I didn't not like anybody before the race. David: We didn't know them before the race. Mary: We didn't know them. I tried to like them because it was pretty sad during the first leg... nobody wants to talk to Charla and Mirna. David: We tried to help them along. But after we saw the way they are... Mary: The way they played the game out... David: ...the way they talked to other racers and just the way they talked to cab drivers... Mary: ...they were rude. David: We just didn't like it.
Reality TV World: You saw the first time they appeared on The Amazing Race, right?
Reality TV World: While competing during the second leg's Detour, Mary you appeared to have a hard time working by hand. When David tried to help you, you said "Whatever." You ended up being the last team to finish the challenge after a foreman repeated what David said. Why didn't you listen to your husband's advice?
Mary: I did my best on that truck. I mean wow. He's right here you can ask him... I worked just as hard as he did on that truck.
Reality TV World: So David?
Mary: He's got stronger arms then I've got. He can tighten [the bolts]. He did all the tightening. I tightened them as far as I could do it but then you still got to really screw it in there. And he's that much stronger than me. I pulled my weight on that leg... David: What a lot of people don't know about the tire and truck is when we got there, we were in third or fourth place. We could have chose the end-loader, which I've run many of... I could run one right now. But when we went to look at it, the distance from the end-loader to the gravel, and the time it takes to make five or six trips, I thought I could put a tire on faster. Which I did. I put the tire on twice which the TV didn't show. Mary and I put it on the first time and we didn't have all the lock washers... we really didn't read all the additional information right. If we would have put all the lock washers on right the first time... we would have smoked everybody and had a bigger lead. But it was my fault. I should have known better any ways that it goes on a certain way.
Reality TV World: David, was it aggravating already being in the back of the pack and getting lost leaving the airport in Puerto Montt?
David: There's a lot of would of's, should of's and could of's... because if we really wanted to in Puerto Montt we had a local who was going to take us anywhere we wanted to go. But he needed us to drive him back to his house first, which would have been 15 or 20 minutes out of the way. Mary: And I said, "David I don't want to be a Duke and Lauren [Marcoccio]. I don't want to take somebody home and come in last." David: You know we had an opportunity there. And then when we left the airport I drove in a circle around... I didn't get out of the airport right. And when we was driving to Puerto Montt, the local had told us to keep driving around the ocean... that the road keeps going around. We were driving and we were ahead of all the teams on the back of the airplane... (pause). For some reason the ocean got away from us and we saw a road going by the ocean, so we turned around and went back. When we did that then the Cha Chas [Ozwald Mendez and Danilo Jimenez], beauty queens and Teri and Ian all passed us.
Reality TV World: You then missed the sign for Petrohue, even though David thought he saw it. Mary you persisted he keep driving and you eventually got directions. Do you think the decision to not turn around at the sign hurt you?
David: It might have. But at that time we were really mentally fatigued... we were tired. We had slept maybe an hour, an hour-and-a-half on the airport floor in three days... Mary: And they showed every time we passed a sign him saying, "Oh! Is that Petrohue?" So I'm still not convinced that he saw that sign. He didn't see that sign. I don't know how he could have seen that sign if he was driving. Every sign that we passed he thought it was Petrohue. David: I was falling asleep driving. She was trying to stay awake. We were really, really tired at the time.
Reality TV World: At the third leg's Roadblock David, you chose to participate despite not liking water. Why didn't you do it Mary? Do you think it would have made a difference?
Mary: Because when we got there, it was Amber and Danielle doing it... Uchenna was doing it... and Teri was doing it. They were all girls... even the Cha Chas. Except for Uchenna and Danny... and [Joe] Guido. I mean we were there with all of them. But you've got time and you get the clue and you can look around and see these girls are struggling, the guys are doing awesome. We were in this game to win... and that's the only way to catch-up time was for [David] to do it because he's much stronger and much more physically able to do things than me.
Reality TV World: How was the white water rafting experience?
David: It was really scary. I mean at first I was excited, and then when I started getting in the boat, going down [the river]... I was scared. Mary: I was scared to death.
Reality TV World: Do you think it was adrenaline that got you through it?
Mary: No. Once I got on that boat the guide told me, "You better listen to me if you want to stay up." And you know I listened to him... so I did everything he told me to do because I wasn't about to die.
Reality TV World: Being such huge reality television fans, how did it feel to be considered all-stars for The Amazing Race?
David: Oh it was awesome. We were really honored to be chosen. Mary: We didn't understand it.
Reality TV World: So you guys didn't consider yourselves all-stars?
Mary: Right. We didn't consider ourselves all-stars. But I consider [John Vito Pietanza and Jill Aquilino] and [Kevin O'Connor and Drew Feinberg] all-stars and we beat them. I think we underestimated ourselves a lot... a lot of teams can be considered as all-stars.
Reality TV World: Do you think that being such a fan overwhelmed or distracted you from focusing on the competitive aspect of the race?
Mary: No. I think us being fans, we kind of knew these people more than they knew themselves, you know?
Reality TV World: How did you guys end up being part of the All-Stars?
Mary: [The Amazing Race producers] called us. They were like, "We're going to do an All-Stars season, do you want to be part of it?" We said, "Yes" and I started crying because we were truly honored to be given the chance. David: We got the chance once. And then we got it again... Mary: The chance to go around the world twice.
Reality TV World: When did you find out who you'd be racing against?
Mary: We didn't find out until... David: The starting city.
Reality TV World: Anybody surprised to see or not see?
Mary: Honestly, we didn't expect [Eric Sanchez and Danielle Turner] to be there because Danielle and Eric were not a team [on their first race together]. So it was hard to see them because who would ever pick them as an all-star team. I thought that [The Amazing Race's Freddy Holliday and Kendra Bentley from the sixth season] or... I mean there's so many earlier season teams... David: The hippies [The Amazing Race 9 winners BJ Averell and Tyler Macniven], they should have been there. Mary: They could do All-Stars 20 times and still somebody would be left out because there's so many awesome teams out there who just as well could have been all-stars.
Reality TV World: Who would you like to see win?
David: We would like to see Dustin and Kandice win All-Stars.
Reality TV World: Wow. Is it for the new respect you have for them?
David: We have the new respect, plus they're representin' [Season] 10. Mary: I think they could be the first all-female team to win.
Reality TV World: Anybody you wouldn't want to see win? Is it Charla and Mirna?
Mary: It's Charla and Mirna... all the way. The sooner they get out, the better the race will be.
Reality TV World: How was Sequesterville?
David: Awesome. I've never been in paradise with somebody waitin' on me hand and foot. It's a dream come true. You don't get that everyday. Mary: You never get that (laughing). David: Yeah I never get it, but I mean it's just something you dream of. It was awesome... it was really awesome. Mary: The people, and just watching the sunset over the ocean, watching it rise... it was just all beautiful.
Reality TV World:Do you think participating in The Amazing Race for a second time helped strengthen your relationship?
David: We're still Mary and Dave. I don't think we've really changed at all. Mary: I think he realizes that I can do things and I realized that he's the rock of this relationship. That's the only thing that has changed: We've figured out our roles in life.
Reality TV World: How's life currently treating you -- have you guys gotten that house and car The View gave you last November?
Mary: We do have the truck, but the house... we don't own the land that we're on... it's [David's] daddy's land, so it's not ours. So we're in the process of buying our own land in order to have the house built.
Reality TV World: So are you guys planning to follow through with [The View co-host] Rosie O'Donnell's request that you "pay it forward" and give your trailer to somebody who could use it?
Mary: Yeah. We're giving it to my sister-in-law Leann... she has three kids, my brother left her when they were babies. We've helped her to raise [the kids]... David: She's a single mother who works -- most of the time six days a week -- and she pays rent... Mary: The kids don't even have their own bedroom. Now we can see them grow-up in our home. David: We just think they really need it. They need a break.
Reality TV World: Do you have a time frame for when you'll be in your new house?
Mary: I'm hoping this week or next week we'll know what piece of land to buy... and what [house] design for sure... and they'll start building it.
Reality TV World: What reality shows are you guys currently watching?
Mary: Oh my goodness... there's so many... Grease: You're the One that I Want I think is awesome. It's pretty bad that The Amazing Race is in the same time slot. So it's hard on me, because I was really rooting for [Derek "Wholesome Danny" Keeling], but I love The Amazing Race. Survivor... American Idol... I can keep on namin' them. David: [Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?]... I love that one. Mary: I love that one... I love 1 vs. 100, I love Deal or No Deal...(laughing)