'Amazing Race' rival returns to Salem for episode
Saturday, February 28, 2009 KRISTI TURNQUISTThe Oregonian Staff
Competitors on the hit CBS show "The Amazing Race" are always surprised to find out where they're headed next. But one of this season's contestants knows just where she'll be Sunday -- her hometown, Salem.
Jodi Wincheski is among the cast in the 14th season of the Emmy-winning show, in which teams compete to arrive first at round-the-world destinations and to complete various tasks.
Wincheski will be in Salem to gather with family and friends for a public viewing party of the third episode of this edition of "The Amazing Race." It's a homecoming for Wincheski, who grew up in Salem and graduated from South Salem High School in 1986.
Though she now lives in Houston, Wincheski follows in the footsteps of Oregonians Anita and Arthur Jones, the Eugene couple who competed on the 13th season of "The Amazing Race."
Under CBS rules, Wincheski can't talk about the show until or unless she's eliminated. But her father, Ned Kanoff, recalls that his daughter got an early start on traveling.
"I was working in Alaska back then," recalls Kanoff, who now lives in Stayton. "So she was born in Salem, but we took her to Alaska when she was an infant. She's been flying for a lot of years."
Wincheski continues to rack up air miles, not only on "The Amazing Race" but as a flight attendant. Her teammate on the show is a fellow flight attendant, Christie Volkmer.
A divorced, single mother, Wincheski has said she wanted to compete on "The Amazing Race" as an example for her daughter about the power of pursuing your goals. So far, it's been a challenge. On the first episode alone, Wincheski flew to Zurich, Switzerland; took a train to Locarno, Switzerland; performed a 70-story bungee jump; and transported 50-pound wheels of cheese down a steep, slippery hillside.
Wincheski and her teammate finished second from the bottom on the first episode, and again on the second episode. Will they survive the third episode? Viewers will learn the answer Sunday night.
No matter what happens, Ned Kanoff says his daughter is a natural-born Amazing Racer. "It didn't surprise me at all that she would want to get on a show like that," Kanoff says. "Jodi has always been real competitive."
"The Amazing Race" airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on KOIN (6). The public viewing party is at Top Dog Sports Bar & Grill, 1798 12th St. S.E., Salem, 503-586-0245. http://www.oregonlive.com/entertainment/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/entertainment/1235777111275960.xml&coll=7