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TAR 24: William ''Bopper'' Minton & Mark Jackson (TAR 20) "Team Kentucky"

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Exclusive: William "Bopper" Minton talks 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars' (Part 1)

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/24/2014

William "Bopper" Minton was forced to withdraw from The Amazing Race's 24th season, the show's third all-stars edition, due to a pancreas attack that left him unable to physically compete.

Bopper was supposed to race with his "Kentucky Friends" teammate Mark Jackson, who was initially willing to throw in the towel at the idea of his best friend being unable to enjoy all the Race has to offer right alongside him. However, Bopper convinced Mark to stick with it for his family's sake and the potential life-changing grand prize of $1 million, so former Racer Mallory Ervin was brought in to be Bopper's replacement. 

In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Bopper talked about his health scare and how Mallory's participation came about during Sunday night's premiere episode of The Amazing Race: All-Stars.


Below is the first half of Bopper's interview. Check back with us on Tuesday for the concluding portion. 

Reality TV World: Sorry about the way things turned out for you, Bopper! 

William "Bopper" Minton: Eh, that's the way things go sometimes, you know?! You can't always have your cake and the ice cream and eat it all!

Reality TV World: Tell me a little bit about the pancreas attack you had other than what was shown during last night's episode. What do you think caused it and what was the recovery like? 

William "Bopper" Minton: Well, actually, you know, the best thing that we could come up with is it was just -- I never had a pancreas issue in my life.

 This happened the day before we were leaving for Los Angeles to go start the Race and, you know, I just had a lot of worries, I had a lot of stress on me, I was doing a few things different, you know, with my diet and stuff. And so the perfect storm brewed up at the wrong time and it kind of got me!

Reality TV World: How last minute then was Mallory's participation? Was she on standby for awhile to be a potential replacement for someone or how did that come about?

William "Bopper" Minton: Well, I really don't know how that came about as far as how they had Mallory on standby or whatever, but I had the pancreas attack the day before we went to Los Angeles and they wanted to admit me into the emergency room, but I wouldn't let them. And so, I was really hoping I would come to Los Angeles and the pain and the problem would go away within a day or so.

 I was [drinking] clear liquid and was on a bland diet and I was hoping I'd be ready to go. So, you know, I get to Los Angeles and I'm not doing any better, so I'm sitting in the motel room and I tell Mark, "Look, I'm going to have to ask the doctor. These pains are really starting to hit me hard and I got to see what's going on," you know, "I got to let them know what's going on."

 So I went to production and told them that I needed to see a doctor, and so he did the blood work on me and another [test] on me and just came to the conclusion that I was at the borderline. I was able to go and not go, so it was just best for everybody to look after my health and just not let me go on the Race.

Reality TV World: So it sounds like producers came up with the decision to have Mallory pair up with Mark and you two didn't come up with the idea. So do you have any explanation as to why Mallory was selected? Would Mark be unable to compete with another friend back at home because the person would've had to appeared on a prior season? Maybe producers more simply just wanted another Kentucky native?

William "Bopper" Minton: Well, a number of those. You can kind of use all those [reasons]. It had to be, of course, since this is an all-stars race, they had to have run the Race before. And of course, we're extremely proud Kentucky people, and so all those things come into factor.

 It had to be somebody that's run the Race before -- which Mallory has -- it had to be somebody from Kentucky -- which Mallory is -- and so, actually, when it comes down to it, they had no other choice, I don't think, than to let Mallory fill my shoes.

 She's the only one who brings the energy, you know, as far as being from Kentucky and how we're the Kentucky team. She's the only one that brings the energy that I've got -- the laughter and enthusiasm, all that. Mallory has got that package, you know? So, I think that's why they chose Mallory to race with Mark.

Reality TV World: You seemed to give Mark the stamp of approval on pairing up with another teammate immediately. Is that really the way the conversation went down or were you a little hesitation at first? Like maybe you initially considered both of you sitting out the season and waiting to compete on the next all-stars edition together or something. 

William "Bopper" Minton: No, [it started with] misery and shock. I was already thinking I was going to this doctor, and you know, they were going to say, "Bop, you're good to go!" I was really hoping because I was feeling better every day but not to where I should be.

 I needed to let the doctors know where I was at with my health, and so, when we got the news, of course we were devastated and Mark didn't want to go through the Race without me. So, I would've had to live with that, knowing that I knocked Mark out of doing something that was both our dream. I wouldn't have let him ask me not to go, so I told him that he had to go.

 [I said], "I don't care who they put you with. You have to go do this for your family and you can't let me knock you out of doing this."

 So him not going was never even a thought for me.

Reality TV World: You mentioned how Mallory seemed to match your enthusiasm and pride in Kentucky. But what was it like watching Mark work with Mallory as a teammate on the show? Based upon what you saw last night, do you think they'll get along well and run a great race or do you think any differences might get them into trouble?

William "Bopper" Minton: They're definitely, you know, they're just like me and Mark. We're completely opposite in every way but we work well together. We've known each other our whole lives, you know, Mark and Mallory just know of each other.

 They don't know each other's ins and outs, what buttons to push and what buttons not to push. So I saw a little bit of that last night, and you know, I think they'll end up getting together and they'll get to know each other a lot better and run a really good race.

Above is the first half of Bopper's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on Tuesday for the concluding portion.


I haven't done the research on it, but can anyone speak to exactly how they got Mallory to come? I mean, it looks as though it was literally within a day or so to go until the race began. Was there a short-list of potential partners, was Mallory always there standing by to be a hybrid-team fill in, or what? Not that I'm complaining, LOVE that girl!! The contrast between her and Mark will make for an interesting change from the hybrid couple team of Eric/Danielle (meh.)

She was already an alternate.

Exclusive: William "Bopper" Minton talks 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars' (Part 2)

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/26/2014

William "Bopper" Minton was forced to withdraw from The Amazing Race's 24th season, the show's third all-stars edition, due to a pancreas attack that left him unable to physically compete. 

Bopper was supposed to race with his "Kentucky Friends" teammate Mark Jackson, who was initially willing to throw in the towel at the idea of his best friend being unable to enjoy all the Race has to offer right alongside him. However, Bopper convinced Mark to stick with it for his family's sake and the potential life-changing $1 million grand prize, so former Racer Mallory Ervin was brought in to be Bopper's replacement. 

In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Bopper opened up about what it was like to miss out on The Amazing Race: All-Stars. 


Reality TV World: Were you worried that Mark would have trouble enjoying his experience on the Race without you? Because the first episode showed him being very sad and missing you, so I'm wondering if you worried he'd almost feel guilty to have a blast while you were ill at home.

William "Bopper" Minton: Well, he was. We had a conversation in the motel after we left the doctor's that night. He was feeling a lot of guilt and I told Mark, I said, "Look, alright. I know you're feeling guilty." I said, "But could you imagine the guilt that I would feel if I'm the reason that you don't get to go through with this race." So the guilt was equal there.

 But, you know, me and Mark are from a small county and there's not any jobs here. And so, the financial gain that he looks to gain, the $1 million, oh God, there's no way that I would even consider asking him not to do it.

 So, to me, it felt like there was guilt on both sides. But you know, I saw that Mark missed his buddy. I always got his back in any situation, whatever we encounter, so yup! There's going to be a little bit of that, you know, "missing you pal" kind of thing going on.

Reality TV World: I was wondering about that from your end as well. It's pretty apparent you guys are inseparable, so did you have a tough time at home while The Amazing Race was filming because you didn't have your best friend around? Was that hard to deal with, especially since you had the pancreas issue?

William "Bopper" Minton: Absolutely! I can't lie. I'm a crybaby anyways and everybody knows that! So, the minute I come home and walk in the front door, I was in tears. I was devastated.

 I had to look my little girl in the eye -- you know, I was looking to go and change her life -- and I just had to look at her in the eye and apologize to her. But she put her arms around me and said, "You don't need no apology at all, daddy, I'm just glad to have you home."

 But you know, watching it last night was a little bit rougher than what I thought it was going to be. It really hit home. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. We were all crying, but the Lord has got a plan for us all, so I think I just got to turn it over to Him and throw the dice and let them roll the way they roll.

Reality TV World: You and Mark obviously had some time to think about racing strategy before the show began filming. Did you two plan on doing anything differently this time around? I mean, obviously you didn't get to race, but did you think of ways you could've improved on your initial run?

William "Bopper" Minton: Yup, the only thing that we were going to do, you know, there's one thing about the Race. You cannot plan and prepare for the Race, because you never know what you're going to do next.

 I don't care how strong, how smart, whatever -- you cannot prepare for The Amazing Race because you do not know what is going to -- when you rip that envelope open, you don't know what's going to happen.

 So the only thing me and Mark could do was actually look back at what went wrong in our first race, which was not reading those clues thoroughly, and really just having more fun and enjoying the experience. And that's what me and Mark were going to do differently this time, was we were going to stay focused and have fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! That's all we were going to do.

 If you come onto the Race overthinking, that's what's going to get you. So you have to, as far as the way I look at it, you have to go into that race just not -- don't worry about it. Don't even think about it. Just do it. That's what you have to do.

Reality TV World: Which team/teams do you think will be a big threat to everyone else this season, do any pairs stand out to you for being strong or uber-competitive or anything like that?

William "Bopper" Minton: Well, I actually think Mark and Mallory, if they put their heads together, I think they're going to be a big threat in this race this season. So, you know, but you got "The Globetrotters" Herbert "Flight Time" Lang and Nate "Big Easy" Lofton. It's their third time, they are big guys, they're smart, they're in shape.

 There are several teams. You got "The Cowboys" Cord McCoy and Jet McCoy. It's their third time. So they're the total package, so the competition level on this season is hard. It's hard to [pick] people out right now. There's [Brendon Villegas] and [Rachel Reilly]. They're fighters. If you give that team a second chance at something, you might get your butt beat.

Reality TV World: Are you going to apply for The Amazing Race again and try to get cast with Mark? And if the show gave you the chance to race again, but only if you brought along a new partner, would you take advantage of that?

William "Bopper" Minton: Absolutely. I would do it. Me and Mark had that conversation and I would do it in any way. If they called me right now and said, "Bop, would you like to do the Race again? How do you feel about that?"

 I'd say, "Brother, I'm going to come now. I'm going to put a backpack together right now and jump on an airplane and I'm heading to LA. If I run with Mark, I run with Mark. If you pair me with someone else, I'm game for that too. I'm ready. I'm ready to do it again, period."


Should we have a Mark and Mallory thread?


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