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Offline puddin

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Past Racers
« on: February 15, 2006, 11:12:57 AM »
Fame & Fortune: Uchenna and Joyce Agu

Break out of your rut, advise "Amazing Race" winners
By Tamar Alexia Fleishman •   

The husband and wife team of Uchenna and Joyce Agu claimed the $1 million prize on the seventh season of CBS's hit reality series "The Amazing Race." Their adventures traversed five continents, 25 cities and 40,000 miles.

The prize gave the couple much more than money. Uchenna had been employed at WorldCom and Joyce at Enron; financial strife nearly led them to divorce. They both lost their life savings, as well as their jobs. Additionally, the couple has had fertility problems, and now they are able to address those costs. They are now national representatives for a national fertility campaign, RESOLVE.

Bankrate spoke to Uchenna and Joyce about their sudden life changes for the good.

Bankrate: How has winning changed your life?

Uchenna Agu: So many different ways. Everyday, all of us have little dreams. Most of the time, we have to leave them. Now, we get to try them.

Joyce Agu: We had average debt, like most Americans. Being debt-free is nice.

Bankrate: You each worked for companies wracked by scandal and alleged financial crimes by many top executives. Would you ever work for a corporation again?

Uchenna Agu: Ha! Winning the money allows us options. We had become paralyzed. We wouldn't mind working with a corporation, but in a different capacity. We could do endorsements. We don't want to do what we don't want to do. We don't want to rely on a corporation; we want to be better-prepared. Wealth in America is based on entrepreneurialism.

Bankrate: What did you each do for a living?

Joyce Agu: I did telecommunication sales. Now, I'm a sales manager for Southwestern Bell.

Uchenna Agu: I was an energy broker, with natural gas. Now, I'm a real estate developer with my own company.

Bankrate: The stress of working under terrible conditions threatened your marriage. What lessons would you give for our readers about that?

Uchenna Agu: Most Americans get locked into a rut. Dare to step out of the box. It doesn't have to be entering "The Amazing Race." But, if you keep doing the same things, you'll get the same results. Also, dare to learn something new, so you won't have the same problems. You have to look at the European way of looking at things: Do you live to work or work to live? One way, you aren't with your family. The other, you can take vacations with your family and enjoy them.

Bankrate: You still reside in Houston, a city plagued with oil busts, failing corporations, an influx of people from New Orleans and its own hurricane problems. With your cash and opportunities, have you thought about moving?

Uchenna Agu: Moving? No. Houston is the center of the U.S. It still has affordable living. It has a decent lifestyle. You can be in California in three hours.

Joyce Agu: We know that Houston has its problems, but every major city has its problems.

Bankrate: Have you had other opportunities as a result of your winning?

Joyce Agu: Absolutely. We always wanted to help infertility causes. We also help a halfway house for children under distressed conditions, those with parents in jail or with AIDS.

Bankrate: Do you manage your own money?

Uchenna Agu: No, we do not. There are lessons about handling that kind of money that we have not learned. We got recommendations from friends who did have that kind of money. We got unbiased advice from a nonproduct-driven accountant.

Joyce Agu: We pay our taxes; we're no Richard Hatch.

Uchenna Agu: It's like, 30 million people saw you on TV. Don't you think one of those people might be an IRS agent? We were told, there were no write-offs; you have to pay. We paid. After six months, people still think we have a million dollars, even though it's spent.

Bankrate: Do you have investments?

Joyce Agu: We have diverse investments, conservative to mid. We have investments in money markets, in technology. We're in the middle zone.

Uchenna Agu: We're young; we're hedging our nest egg. We heard from relatives we hadn't heard from in a long time, looking for a quick fix to their problems. But, it's not like we won $300 million in the Powerball.

Joyce Agu: Caller ID helps.

Uchenna Agu: So does learning to say no.


Offline puddin

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2006, 11:30:15 AM »

Life's an 'Amazing Race' for career circus star

The Post and Courier

 This year's edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus may be new, but one face will be familiar to many circusgoers.

Clown Alley member Jon Weiss has been with Ringling Bros. for most of the past 25 years and in 2003 competed on the reality show "The Amazing Race." Over the years, Weiss has been known for balancing objects on his chin and as the Human Cannonball.

"Charleston is just the second week of the new show," Weiss says. "We changed 95 percent of the show (from last year), and you will be among the first people to see this brand-new production."

This is the circus' first local performance since December 2003. It runs today through Sunday.

Weiss says the production includes a new high-wire act, trapeze act, jump-rope act, contortionists, standard poodles, elephants and horses. It also includes the Globe of Death motorcycle act.

"We wanted to bump it up a notch," Weiss says. "It's a very interactive show. I will still be in the audience and will make sure we'll have fun. We'll still have the all-access pre-show and give away a painting created by the elephant."

In addition to the new acts, new music and costumes are designed to give the show somewhat of a more updated, hip-hop feel.

Weiss is one of the stars of the show as he leads the pre-show segment and interacts with the audience during the actual show.

It's a job he loves, and one that comes naturally to the Long Island, N.Y., native, who started balancing things on his chin as a schoolboy.

After high school, his father urged him to join the military, but Weiss instead went to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. A year later, he joined The Greatest Show on Earth's clown troupe, always thinking he would take things one year at a time. A quarter-century later, he's still there.

"One year turned into two, and then three, then five, 10, 15 and 22," he says. "Finally, I realized: This is my career. I've got the sawdust in my veins, I guess. I truly enjoy it. The circus has been very good to me, my wife and my kids."

Shortly after Weiss took to the road, Laura, his high school sweetheart, joined the show as a dancer.

They were married in Ring Two during a show at Madison Square Garden in 1986. Twelve groomsmen piled out of the clown car, and some of the bridesmaids were elephants.

Weiss and his wife thought they would leave the circus and settle down when children started coming along.

Instead, they realized what a great childhood they could give their kids: Jonny, 11; Nicole, 8; and Max, 6 this month.

"We've come to realize that we spend a lot of time with our kids," Weiss says. "We're with them 24 hours a day."

The family travels in a two-bedroom recreational vehicle with all the modern conveniences - even its own washer and dryer and satellite television, Weiss says.

The kids are so used to the lifestyle that several years ago, when the family slept inside the house during a visit to his in-laws, "Jonny started crying that he wanted to go home, that he wanted to sleep in his own bed," Weiss says. "We thought that was funny because his own bed was right there in the driveway."

The children attend a circus-run school with other performers' children, and the family often goes to museums and other landmarks in towns they visit to enhance that education.

After years of watching their parents and their friends' parents perform, the kids are getting into the act.

"You'll see them in the show during the 'Next Generation' part," Weiss says. "That's when the kids come out and show some of their skills."

Jonny seems to have inherited Dad's ability to balance objects, Nicole is into acrobatics and Hula-Hoops and Max likes the Chinese Yo-Yo.

Their dad, now in his mid-40s, is one of the oldest performers in the show.

"We take each contract as it comes," Weiss says. "I'll keep doing it as long as I'm still enjoying it and still an asset to the company."

Weiss in recent years added another feather to his cap.

Weiss and his pal, Al Rios, a special education teacher and cruise-ship performer, competed in CBS' "The Amazing Race 4." Although they finished in fourth place, they became one of the most popular teams in the show's history.

"We're hoping for an All-Star version," Weiss says. "We want to race again."

He has continued his involvement with CBS, he says.

During last fall's "Amazing Race: Family Edition," Weiss was co-host of "Finish Line," an Internet call-in program that interviewed the family eliminated on the show the night before.

Still, performing remains his first love.

"No matter how old you were, you remember when you were a kid and first went to the circus," he says. "You may not remember everything about that production, but maybe you'll remember the smell of the elephants, or something about that day. I try to make it a special moment for anyone that I'm in touch with during a performance."



Offline puddin

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2006, 06:05:43 PM »
 :hearts: :hearts:

Villages snowbirds describe reality show as ‘life-changing' adventure


THE VILLAGES - They're back!

After a whirlwind year of being on “The Amazing Race” and being involved in endorsements for Tylenol with another big endorsement in the works, Villages snowbirds Meredith and Gretchen Smith are glad to be back in Florida's Friendliest Hometown, where they are enjoying warm winter weather in a Santo Domingo villa home.

“It's just nice to be back,” Gretchen said. “It just brings a smile to my face to be here, and the weather is absolutely gorgeous.”

They wanted to be here sooner, except Meredith had open-heart surgery five weeks ago as a result of a faulty aortic valve. The Smiths were pleased when cardiologists gave Meredith permission to leave Maryland for The Villages, where is he now spending days exercising at the Laurel Manor gym as part of his recovery.

Meredith admits he would rather be golfing but that will have to wait.

“So we're enjoying going to the movies, Savannah Center and walking around Lake Sumter Landing, and we're excited about all of the new restaurants, the shops, and we're just real happy to be back,” Gretchen said. “The Villages really is the best kind of living.” 


The Smiths also were thrilled to see Carrabba's, their favorite Italian restaurant, at Rolling Acres Plaza. They dined at the restaurant on their first day back in the Sunshine State.

The couple's claim to fame was being on the seventh season of “The Amazing Race” adventure reality TV show, where they traveled 40,000 miles through seven countries. When the show aired last March, the Smiths were in The Villages quietly watching the show because they were not allowed to publicly talk or do media interviews until the show was over.

“It was a life-changing and exciting adventure,” Gretchen said of their adventure. They finished fourth in the race.

“I told Gretchen a number of times: ‘People are lucky if they get their 15 minutes of fame, and we had five weeks of fame,' and so we have had a really great ride,” Meredith said.

Their aches and pains from the race have paid off, too.

When Gretchen climbed a fort wall in Turkey as one of her challenges, she wailed: “Oh, my knees are killing me!” Tylenol noticed and advertising representatives called the Smiths, asking if they would do a variety of live television and radio spots for Tylenol Arthritis Pain. The Smiths agreed.

“I was really a lot of fun,” she said of their month-long tour in August on behalf of the pain medication.

The Smiths were informed that the media would be asking about the race, rather than the pain medication they use at home, yet the Smiths knew they had to get Tylenol mentioned in the live TV spots.

When one interviewer asked about the most difficult event of the race, Meredith replied: “The most difficult was watching Gretchen climb that wall in Turkey. When she was going up there, I knew she was having problems with her knees, I felt if she had her Tylenol, she would be in good shape.”

He meant those words, too. Gretchen does have a little arthritis in her knees.

And now the Smiths have another endorsement deal in the works geared for active seniors.

“We haven't signed the contract yet, and we can't mention what it is, but we have another endorsement for the active crowd over 50,” she said. “It's going to be a good one. It's for older people; outdoor people who are active.”

Initial talks involved doing the endorsement at a retirement community in Arizona, but Gretchen feels Florida's Friendliest Hometown would be the perfect place to do it.

“I said, ‘You should think about The Villages! You have never seen a retirement community like The Villages,' ” she said, adding she hopes they will consider her suggestion. Once the endorsement deal is signed, Gretchen plans to reveal more about it.

The Smiths say they talk about The Villages on their travels and even have persuaded friends in their hometown of Easton, Md., to come here.

“We've become the Chamber of Commerce for The Villages,” Gretchen said. “We've talked about The Villages so much, and after Meredith had his surgery, we found out our neighbors had been gone. They told us they had come to The Villages, rented for a month and had a wonderful time.”

The Smiths are looking forward to getting together at an open house with some Villages neighbors on their block on Saturday, and Gretchen is anticipating a luncheon today with some Villages friends, who like her, were former flight attendants. The luncheon will include a fashion show of airline uniforms from over the years.

They also are pleased that they can now publicly talk about their time on “The Amazing Race.”

“We were always on the run,” Meredith said, adding they had to get by on little sleep and little food. “We would be in places where we didn't understand the currency, couldn't read the street signs or couldn't find a restroom. It was like that throughout, and that's one of the things we are kind of envious over the last ‘Amazing Race' (family edition) because most of it was in English-speaking countries.”

The Smiths didn't have it so easy.

Many viewers were puzzled seeing Gretchen climbing the wall in Turkey, rather than Meredith, and couldn't understand why he wasn't making the climb.

“We each had to do six roadblocks and he had already done five, and I had only done three,” Gretchen said, adding she needed to do the challenge but viewers were not aware of that.

“We got one e-mail that came to me saying, ‘Meredith, you're such a wuss. You sent your old lady up the wall and you should have done it. It's no wonder your father named you after a girl.' ”

Gretchen also heard about it from viewers when Meredith was pushing her on a 600-pound wooden elephant and he was seen huffing, puffing and out of breath. Even Meredith's doctor quipped: “The 600-pound elephant wasn't the problem, it was the 150 pounds riding it.”

The Smiths admit they were relieved when the race was over.

“During the race, we were so tired all of the time, but the fallout after the race was over was wonderful,” Meredith said. “We have traveled and have met people all over the world virtually, and we were approached in Tibet by a couple who lived there and knew who we were, so it really was amazing.”

They enjoyed doing five big speaking engagements to large convention groups, and they also loved receiving mail from fans.

“We've received cards and letters from as far as Australia from people, saying how inspired they were with us,” Gretchen said. “We received cards from young people, too. Every day was like Christmas, we'd open the mail and there would be something wonderful.”

Meredith agreed.

“We had a lot of fans who were contemplating getting married or who had just gotten married, and some of the substance of the questions we were asked was, ‘You've got a great relationship. How do you do it?' We were more role models for the people coming up and for the people that had already been there and done that, so that was lot of fun,” he said.

The couple's loving relationship was reflected throughout the show.

“We were a team,” Meredith said. “We agreed before we left the country that no matter how far we got and no matter whose fault it was, it would never carry on with us in our lives. If one of us fouled up, it wasn't going to be a blame game.”

Gretchen said Meredith kept her focused.

“We treated each other with respect because we did respect each other. We were in it together. It was hard enough just to battle the elements without battling each other, and that's what most people (viewers) really respected in us,” she said.

Now that a new season of “The Amazing Race” begins Tuesday, the Smiths will watch the show. They also plan to take time to watch a DVD from the seventh season when they were in the race - the season that garnered CBS an Emmy Award last fall.

“The producers said that it was the best one that has been ever been made,” Meredith said, adding CBS won the Emmy based on one segment, the show when Gretchen had fallen in a dark cave and injured herself.

“They (academy judges) must have liked the blood and gore,” Gretchen said, grinning.


Offline puddin

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2006, 01:49:22 AM »
Phil comment on the Weavers  :lol:

The Insider: Phil Keoghan

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Character: The dashing, compassionate host of “The Amazing Race 9” (premiering Tuesday at 9 p.m. on WBZ, Ch. 4).
    Age: 38
    Hometown: New Zealand.
    Family life: Keoghan and his wife, Louise, have one daughter.
    Interesting fact: Keoghan co-wrote the book “No Opportunity Wasted” and turned it into a TV series of the same name that airs on Fit TV and the Discovery Channel.
    Fun fact: Keoghan spends about 15 to 20 minutes talking to each team when they reach the pit stop.

    On the not-so-popular “Family Edition” of the series: “I think I was surprised at how strong some of the reactions were toward it. I got more reaction about Season 8 than any other season. There was a real desire to do something that was a real celebration of America, because we’ve always gone out, we decided to turn in a little bit.”
    On interacting with the teams: “Very rarely do I cross the line. I’m not there to be a marriage counselor, to judge who they are and how they do things, but certainly if I see something that warrants a question, I’m going to ask it. Only because people at home are wondering, ‘Oh, what the hell is going on, we want to know.’ Just like with the Weavers (from Season 8 ), I was frustrated with them. There are so many thousands of people who either write to me or stop me on the streets who want so desperately to be on ‘The Amazing Race,’ and I’m looking at a family who has a chance to go on to win a million, and they are kind of lackluster, and I said to them, ‘Do you have any idea how many people would love to be standing where you are?’ I am an opinionated person. Believe me, if I see something, I say it.”  
    Where you’ll see him in five years: Co-hosting “Survivor: The Amazing Race Edition” with Jeff Probst.  :lol:


Offline Vintage212

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Chip and Kim
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2006, 09:27:18 PM »
Okay so I'm a member of myspace and I'm a friend of Chip and Kim's. They posted a bulletin today that listed a website of theirs where they talk about the teams on Amazing Race 9. They even do some Lake spoofs. It's SO funny and I recommend that everyone go take a look at them. Here is the link:
oXo Justine

Offline puddin

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2006, 09:44:51 AM »
Villages to stage own version of ‘The Amazing Race’

Offline Slowhatch

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2008, 08:33:01 PM »
No Jon/Kelly thread, so I guess this goes here.

Offline puddin

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2008, 10:23:14 PM »
Thats funny because everytime I see that commercial I'm like "whos feet are that bad? Get to a hospital....NOW!"

Offline TARAsia Fan

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2008, 11:33:27 PM »
One of my favorite shows on Sirius Satellite Radio, Whatever with Alexis Stewart and Jennifer Hutt both swear by the PedEgg.
Just here to visit.

Offline apskip

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2008, 09:36:04 PM »
I swear by the PedEgg and so does my wife. I got the idea from that famous commercial by Jon and Kelly.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 09:46:32 PM by apskip »

Offline georgiapeach

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2008, 10:28:55 PM »
More ped egg discussion...complete with the video! :lol:

"I can't speak for production, but I really like that people see us when we're traveling around the world. If you're a fan of the show, ... you're going to be more excited because you want to see what happens."  --Phil Keoghan

Offline georgiapeach

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Re: Past Racers
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2011, 09:34:33 PM »

Season Eight contestants Mama Paolo and son Brian, now 21, recently appeared on an episode of HGTV's House Hunters "Brian Wants To Buy His Own St. Louis Condo. . .". It's epidode HNT-4710H. It first aired on March 20, 2011 and will repeat this week. Recent college graduate Brian Paolo is accompanied by his mother, Marion Paolo, as he searches for a condo in St. Louis. At the end of the episode both of Brian's parents help him settle into his new home.

West Coast air dates and times on HGTV (check your local listings for times and channel):
Thursday April 28, 2011 at 7 and 10 p.m.
Friday April 29, 2011 at 1 a.m.

Mama Paolo still has lots of opinions!

Thanks to earthtrekker for the info!!
"I can't speak for production, but I really like that people see us when we're traveling around the world. If you're a fan of the show, ... you're going to be more excited because you want to see what happens."  --Phil Keoghan