S.L. father-son team gets U-Turned, comes in 4th during 8th leg of 'The Amazing Race'

Published: Monday, April 21 2014 3:55 p.m. MDT

At the Detour Decision Point, Salt Lake father-son team Dave, left, and Connor O'Leary, right, must choose between riding donkeys or building a wooden one in Italy during "The Amazing Race: All Stars" on Sunday, April 20, on CBS. Because they were U-Turned by Brenden and Rachel, they ended up doing both challenges.

CBS Broadcasting

Salt Lake father-son team Dave and Connor O’Leary were targeted by one team but helped two other teams, including one they U-Turned, in the eighth leg of “The Amazing Race: All Stars,” which took teams to the Italian countryside during Sunday’s episode.

The O’Learys, who are both cancer survivors, are one of five remaining teams in this race around the world for $1 million. This season involves teams following clues in yellow and red envelopes, navigating transportation and completing challenges called Road Blocks and Detours along the way to get the next clues.

And this time, a double “U-Turn” was in play, meaning two teams that completed the Detour challenge first could force other teams to do both Detour challenges.

Teams started out in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo and from there were instructed to drive 80 miles to Civita di Bagnoregio for their next clue.

Dave O’Leary, 59, a real estate investor, and his son, 22-year-old Connor O’Leary, a professional cyclist and a University of Utah student, were the third team to leave, just behind country singers Caroline Cutbirth, 30, and Jennifer Wayne, 31, with whom they’ve been working periodically throughout the race.

The singers ran to get directions from a nearby hotel and got a copy for the O’Learys, with the plan being for the singers to follow the O’Learys.

But their plan to caravan together was quickly thwarted by traffic, and Cutbirth and Wayne, who admit they aren’t good with directions, thought it was intentional.

At the Civita di Bagnoregio, both Detour challenges involved donkeys.

“Donkey Run” included both team members riding donkeys three times around a track before a live band finished playing through a song. In “Donkey Build,” teams had to build a wooden donkey from provided pieces, fill it with wood sticks and deliver it to Geppetto.

The O’Learys were second to the city behind newlyweds Brendon Villegas, 33, and Rachel Reilly, 30. Both teams did “Donkey Run.”

“We used to do pack trips into the high mountains," Dave O'Leary said of riding mules. "But donkeys are little different than a mule — a lot more stubborn.”

The “Brenchels,” as Villegas and Reilly are nicknamed, finished first and initially planned to U-Turn brothers and cowboys Cord McCoy, 33, and 34-year-old Jet McCoy, of Oklahoma, who had an Express Pass they had to use in this leg of the race. The McCoys won the pass on the first leg of the race, and it allows them to skip a challenge.

The McCoys, assuming they would be the ones who were U-Turned, used their Express Pass on the "Donkey Build" Detour so they would only need to do one of the Detour challenges.

“I had a unique way of hanging on to the donkey — any way I possibly could,” Dave O'Leary said. He ended up sliding off the donkey on their first try. He and his son succeeded on their fourth try.

The Brenchels then U-Turned the O’Learys because they were the team right behind them and the O’Learys arrived at the U-Turn board just ahead of the McCoys.

“Once we saw we were on the U-Turn board, we really didn’t have any other choice but to U-Turn another team,” Connor O'Leary said.

“We were really ticked off,” Dave O'Leary said. “But that’s the way they play the game.”

They U-Turned the “Afghanimals,” cousins Leo Temory, 27, and Jamal Zadran, 26, and told them and apologized when they saw them in the parking lot. The four of them decided to work together to build the wooden donkeys.

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