Merritt couple competes in Kamloops Amazing Race
A big bowl of hot food — that didn’t really look like food but was edible nonetheless — was just one of the obstacles that stood in the way of a Merritt couple, as they looked to win the Amazing Race in Kamloops.
On April 28, Alex Grebenyuk and Katrina Pascua ate, golfed and pleaded their way to an 11th-place finish in a high-stakes race.
“My shirt won the race,” Grebenyuk said, referring to a mixup at the beginning of the competition when another team received the team’s ‘Yogi and Boo Boo’ shirt. “Really, I just feel glad that it feels like a part of me won the Amazing Race.”
Grebenyuk, a Merritt radio personality and play-by-play announcer for the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials, said he is a die-hard Amazing Race fan.
So, when the opportunity came up in mid-April after three of the 24 teams dropped out of the competition, Grebenyuk and Pascua sprinted to register as contestants.
Grebenyuk said his team lost for two reasons — first, his was the only team not from Kamloops and, second, the other teams cheated.
“It doesn’t make sense that we weren’t in the Top 10,” he said. “Katrina and I were one of only nine teams that didn’t skip a task.”
The couple had to complete 10 tasks and each team that cheated would be penalized 20 minutes. For every failed task, a team was docked two hours.
But Yogi and Boo Boo were only one of a few teams that completed all the tasks without cheating or skipping. When they finished, they were ranked in ninth place and only about 1.5 hours behind the first-place team.
The “cheating teams,” however, were given an opportunity to return to a task for another attempt.
“It wasn’t fair,” Grebenyuk said.
“If we’d known we could do that, then we would have skipped some of the tasks, finished the race, and then returned to each task to complete them.”
He said organizers admitted there would need to be changes to the race next year.
This year, Pascua said her toughest challenge was pleading to locals to purchase two tickets to an Amazing Race banquet for $15 each. The money would go to the construction of a new park in Kamloops.
“I had to go around everywhere and a lot of people were rude,” Pascua said. “I went into a restaurant and people there didn’t like me asking. I couldn’t find anyone and I knew Alex would be so [angry].”
She eventually found someone who worked at a local shop to purchase two tickets.
The first-place team won a Caribbean Cruise from Florida, second won a stay in San Francisco and third-place won their choice of a spa or golf weekend in Banff. Each prize winner also received money for their trip.
Each team paid $250 to enter.
The Westsyde Community Development Society Absolute Amazing Race was intended to raise money for improvements to Centennial Park in Westsyde, Kamloops.