After their first bid to win $1 million on “The Amazing Race” ended in a snowy Siberian village, Amanda Blackledge and Kris Klicka were left with a few questions.
“We were doing really well at the time. We always wondered, ‘What if we hadn’t been (stopped)?’ ” Blackledge recalled.
The Pismo Beach couple will get a chance at redemption when “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business” premieres Sunday. In the show, which was filmed last fall, they must travel 40,000 miles through five continents, competing against teams including Harlem Globetrotters, cowboys and former NFL cheerleaders for their shot at the prize.
“We’ll do anything to win a million dollars,” Blackledge said.
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Klicka, a 27-year-old insurance agent, and his 25-year-old fiancee, an admissions representative with Laurus College, first appeared on CBS’ popular reality competition in 2009 during its 14th season and moved to Pismo Beach afterward.
“It’s a really, really cool show,” Blackledge said of “The Amazing Race,” which premiered in 2001. “The more we heard about it, we went, ‘Oh my God, this is awesome.’ ”
Winner of eight Primetime Emmy Awards, “The Amazing Race” features 11 two-person teams in a breakneck race across the globe. Players must decipher clues, tackle challenges and cover ground in an assortment of vehicles, including bicycles, boats and hot air balloons, all in the hopes of arriving first at the “pit stop” at the end of each leg.
The last team to reach each “pit stop” is usually eliminated.
Blackledge and Klicka, who were dating at the time, made it to episode four of Season 14 before being eliminated. While in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, they fell victim to a “U-turn,” used by one team to force another team to backtrack and complete a previously skipped task.
“The first time, we tended to trust people 24/7. You end up becoming friends with (the other players), and you believe them,” Klicka said. “This time, we went in saying, ‘We’re not going to trust a soul. This is for a million bucks.’ ”
They’ve also learned a few survival tips, such as packing food instead of extra clothes, shaving cream and body wash. Each team receives a small allowance at the beginning of each leg that has to cover food, transportation and other needs.
“Last time, we were starving all the time,” Blackledge said.
This season, they filled the bottom quarters of their backpacks with energy bars, turkey jerky and other snacks, as well as a bottle of hot sauce.
“I can eat anything with hot sauce,” Klicka quipped.
Although it was difficult to predict what challenges they’d encounter in “The Amazing Race,” Blackledge and Klicka said they were confident about their chances.
“(We) are both really good at communicating with people and making friends with people,” Klicka said. Still, he acknowledged, “We’re both stubborn. We tend to butt heads.”
Klicka said it can be difficult to say which team is the biggest competition. “It doesn’t matter if you’re physically the strongest team or mentally the strongest team, you can get caught up on the smallest things. It’s just a giant crap shoot.”
The Pismo Beach couple will compete against four other teams from Season 14, including Hollywood screenwriter Mike White and his father, Mel, and former NFL cheerleaders Jaime Edmonson and Cara Rosenthal. Other opponents also returning from past seasons include Harlem Globetrotter teammates Herb “Flight Time” Lang and Nate “Big Easy” Lofton, cowboys Jet and Cord McCoy, and Goth models Kent Kaliber and Vyxsin Fiala.
Although Klicka and Blackledge befriended many of their competitors, “we all have an understanding from the beginning,” Blackledge said. “ ‘You’re my buddy, but we’re here for a race.’ ”
If they win, the couple plans to purchase a house and put money toward an upcoming wedding.“We’re at the point where we want to build our lives and look toward the future,” Klicka said.