Salt Lake father-son team Dave and Connor O’Leary won the ninth leg of CBS’ “The Amazing Race: All Stars” after racing through Switzerland, including cleaning trashed hotel rooms, delivering milk and riding gondolas up snow-capped mountains during Sunday’s episode.
This season includes returning teams racing around the world for $1 million in a competition that involves following clues in yellow and red envelopes, navigating transportation and completing challenges called Road Blocks and Detours along the way.
The O’Learys, who are both cancer survivors, were the fourth of the five remaining teams to start in the Italian countryside, drive to Rome, take a train to Chiasso, Switzerland, and then drive to Altdorf.
Dave O’Leary, 59, a real estate investor, and his son, 22-year-old Connor O’Leary, who is a professional cyclist and a University of Utah student, were still pretty upset that newlyweds Brendon Villegas, 33, and Rachel Reilly, 30, had U-Turned them during the previous leg, forcing them to do both Detour challenges.
Villegas and Reilly won the last leg of the race and left first, and the O’Learys, country singers Caroline Cutbirth, 30, and Jennifer Wayne, 31, and the "Afghanimals," cousins Leo Temory, 27, and Jamal Zadran, 26, got on the train just before it left.
The three teams decided to form a final-three alliance, calling it the “Accidental Alliance” and doing what they could to help each other beat the “Brenchels” of Villegas and Reilly.
They arrived in snowy Altdorf during a parade and found the statue of Tell with instructions to come at sunrise.
Brothers and cowboys Cord McCoy, 33, and 34-year-old Jet McCoy, of Oklahoma, ended up on a later train and made it to the statue during the night, catching up with the rest of the teams.
All five teams were there the next morning with a man dressed like Tell showing up to give them their next clues to Lucerne and the Chapel Bridge, the oldest bridge in Europe.
Temory was driving ahead of the teams in the Accidental Alliance and the McCoys, leading the group to the bridge, which had a clue leading to Hotel Schweizerhof, where they had to perfectly clean a room trashed by a rocker.
Villegas and Reilly thought they were first to the bridge, but they went to the wrong one, and it took time for them to find the right one and get the clue.
The teams had to change into uniforms and get cleaning supplies.
“Helga, the room inspector, is not taking anything less than perfection,” Dave O’Leary said.
Teams had an example room to look at and replicate, including flowers, fruit bowls, the angle of the lights and toilet paper.
The first time the O'Learys called for a room check, it was the bathroom tissue box that kept them from a perfect room.
“It was much tougher than we anticipated,” Connor said.
It took the teams multiple times to get it right.
“Anyone can win but Brenden and Rachel,” Dave said as they completed the challenge and left the hotel.
The cowboys left first and were instructed to go to the Swiss Museum of Transport, where they had to identify the artifact outside — which was a drill bit used to create the world’s longest tunnel.
The cowboys got it right on the first try, thanks to a television show Jet McCoy had seen, and the teams went to the Ford Mustang exhibit, where they had to use clues on the road signs and a formula in their clue to calculate the year of a Ford Mustang. Mustangs have been in production now for 50 years.
Dave O’Leary’s father was a mining engineer, so he knew right away it was a tunnel drill bit and shared the answer with the Afghanimals and the country singers, who arrived at almost the same time.
The signs they needed were on the side of the building. The O’Learys’ was a ’69 Ford Mustang Mach 1.
The cowboys were in first and the O’Learys were in second, and they left before the Brenchels got there. Country singers Wayne and Cutbirth struggled with the challenge until Temory ran back and helped them.
The teams then went to Oberrickenbach, Switzerland, where one team member had to use a Bernese mountain dog and a gondola to transport empty milk containers and exchange them with full ones.
“This is so cool,” Connor O’Leary, who did the challenge, said as he rode the gondola up the mountain. “Icicles, crazy beautiful mountains.”
From there, teams drove to Engelberg and then had to go to the top of Mount Titlis, which is more than 10,000 feet tall, by taking a gondola partway up the mountain and then another gondola with skiers.
The O’Learys ended up on the second gondola with the Temory, Zadran and the McCoys.
“We won’t beat the cowboys in a footrace,” Connor O’Leary said. In their previous run on “The Amazing Race,” Dave O’Leary had detached his Achilles and another tendon running to the mat during the second leg, and they ultimately withdrew during the fifth leg of the race. Dave had to have surgery and physical therapy.
“Boys, it’s game on,” the Afghanimals said as they rode in the gondola.
At the top of the mountain, where it was -5 degrees Celsius, it was a race to find Keoghan and the Pit Stop mat. The McCoys as well as Temory and Zadran went in one direction, and the O’Learys went in a different one.
Going a different direction paid off for the O'Learys as they made it to the mat first, each winning a 2015 Mustang.
“What a footrace,” Keoghan said of the McCoys and Temory and Zadran making it second and third. “It couldn’t be closer.”
Cutbirth and Wayne were the last to arrive at the Pit Stop, but it was a non-elimination leg and they are continuing in the race.
Dave O'Leary is a prostate cancer survivor, and Connor O'Leary is a testicular cancer survivor, and both are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Holladay 25th Ward, Salt Lake Holladay South Stake.
In the next episode, teams will head to Spain where there is another U-Turn in play and Connor O’Leary “gets a close shave.”
“The Amazing Race” airs Sunday evenings on CBS.
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