Report from TARCon XIII

After a whirlwind weekend in New York, I’m now unwinding at home, re-watching The Amazing Race finale. I’ll give you some observations after meeting the Racers. First off, I have to thank Georgia Peach of Reality Fan Forum for allowing me to meet the teams at a lunch on Sunday. Only four RFF members were able to take part in this event and it was an opportunity to get some behind-the-scenes information. A lot of the discussion was off the record, but there are some things I will share with you.

Before lunch, I met up with my friends from RFF and Mark from Mark & Bill for a sitdown. Mark gave us some insight about his elimination in Bolivia and into the race. A lot of what he gave us is also readily available in the various interviews he and Bill have conducted in the days and weeks since they were eliminated from the race.

Then we all left to meet up with the rest of the racers at Rockefeller Plaza where I first met up with Arthur & Anita, the beekeepers who were the first to be eliminated this season. While they were the first ones out, people recognized them right off the bat. They have a unique look and fans flocked to them. Anita is so nice that she hugs everyone she sees. And she also gave me this homemade refrigerator magnet which has pictures of all of the teams.

Also meeting us at the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree were Nick & Starr, Bill completing the Mark & Bill team. We got word that the other racers were on the other side of the plaza, so we walked around to meet them. During this time, more fans were following our group, trying to take pictures and talk to the racers. Arthur & Anita could not have been friendlier to the fans.

One aside here. If CBS wanted to gauge the popularity of The Amazing Race, all the network needed to do was have a representative follow us to witness the crowd that gathered around the racers. It was a bit ironic that the racers were meeting outside the GE Building which houses NBC, but I don’t know if anyone caught this like I did.

Eventually, all of the teams met up and it seems that this cast really likes one another. Then right in front of the famous ice rink with the Christmas tree in the background, the cast began to pose for pictures, not just with the fans, but to get pictures for each other. I’ll post what I have.

In the middle, that’s Kelly & Christy with Christy’s mom to the right. I believe the two men on the right are also family members. That’s Mark in the foreground wearing the hat.

Left to right in the back row, Bill, Anthony, Dallas, Mark (obscured by Nick), Ken (obscured by Arthur)
Middle row (L-R), Starr, Stephanie, Andrew, Nick,
Second Row (L-R), Terence, Sarah, Marisa, Brooke, Tina, Arthur
Front Row (L-R), Kelly, Christy, Toni, Anita
Missing, Dan, Ty & Aja

This is the first time I’m attempting this, here’s a quick movie I shot of the above picture.

More pictures now.

Tina & Ken

The always lovely Kelly & Christy

Toni & Dallas

The delightful Anita & Arthur

Terence & Sarah joins Anita & Arthur

Nick & Starr with their parents

Christy with her family

Kelly joins Christy’s family

Andrew, Dallas, Nick, Mark, Ken, Starr, Anthony and Terence all mingling after picture taking is finished.

Once that was done, I went to lunch with the teams. Kelly & Christy did not join us, but Ty & Aja did. This was an opportunity to ask some questions about the season and they helped us to fill in the blanks of what was not shown. As I mentioned, most of the conversation was off the record, but there are a few tidbits I can share.

First, Terence is a very engaging person. Yes, I was critical of him in the only episode recap I was able to complete this season, but I based it on what I saw in the show. Spending time with him, he was very friendly and told me that people don’t want to speak to him because of what he says were “a few bad moments.” In the race, it is stressful and if the camera catches you in a bad stretch, most likely, that’s going in the show. He also said he has made a friendship with Kynt & Vyxsin from TAR 12.

Also, I had a chance to talk with Ken and he told me that being on the Race was tougher than NFL training camp. Ken said in training camp, you know what time you’re getting up, what time you’re going to start, what time you go to bed. In the race, he had no idea where he was going next, what task he was about to do, everything was random and he was not used to that.

Andrew told me that he knew that the Russian soldiers were laughing at he and Dan during the Detour on the 9th leg in Moscow. Andrew said he could hear them laughing especially when Dan could not march properly which was truly funny. Andrew said he knew it would make good television right off the bat. And when they were on their way to the mat, they had figured out this would be a non-elimination leg, they stopped to get drinks and food. I was laughing when Andrew was talking because he’s truly a funny guy.

Lastly at lunch, Toni was quite nice and yes, Dallas and Starr left together. As you probably know by now, they’re a couple. And throughout, Nick and I talked about his performances in The Fantasticks on Broadway and his experiences on the race.

Once that was done, it was a rest and then to TARCon at Stitch where the fans were ready to watch the race. I won’t go into everything, but at the end when Ken pulled out his wedding rings on the mat, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

And the racers started to come in around 9:30. Anita & Arthur were first to enter the restaurant to a huge cheer and were mobbed.

It was a great time. When Kelly & Christy walked in, Stitch was getting packed with people. They saw me and we started talking. Once they looked at my nametag, they recognized my screen name from RFF and told me they appreciated the nice things I wrote in my recap and on the board. And yes, I’m joining their Facebook groups.

I really can’t write much about TARCon itself because it was a mob scene, but it was a good time to watch the finale with friends and discuss the race with people who get it. And since TAR14 could be the last season for this great show, I’ll be sure to attend TARCon XIV in May.

And I hope to do better with the recaps.

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.