A Salt Lake father-son team won the third leg on “The Amazing Race: All-Stars” during Sunday’s episode, despite having to backtrack during one of the challenges.
This leg of the race also marked a milestone for the team.
Dave and Connor O’Leary are one of nine remaining teams in this race around the world for $1 million. This season involves returning teams following clues in yellow and red envelopes, navigating transportation and completing challenges called Roadblocks and Detours along the way to get the next clues.
The O’Learys were on season 22 a year ago and at the end of the second leg, Dave O’Leary injured his leg running to the mat. The pair continued to race — with Dave on crutches — winning the third and fourth legs of the race. But ultimately, they had to withdraw from the race.
“Last season, leg two was a bad leg for us, literally,” Dave said during Sunday’s episode as they left for the airport. “It’s really a relief to be on leg three and be on two legs.”
Dave, 59, is a prostate cancer survivor and Connor, 22, 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.
The teams started out in Gaungzhou, China, and because most of the teams ended the second leg of the race at about the same time, they left within minutes of each other. This leg of the race took teams to Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, and through the rainforest to the Kionsom Waterfall.
The O’Learys were fourth to start, but the first to the airport and were one of six teams on the first flight to Borneo. The second flight left three hours later.
“This is a beautiful place,” said Dave O’Leary, a real estate investor, as they traveled by taxi to the waterfalls.
Once at the Kionsom Waterfall, one team member had to complete the Roadblock by rappelling 10-stories down a waterfall with the Travelocity Roaming Gnome to get their next clue tethered partway down the waterfall.
Dave O’Leary decided to rappel down the waterfall.
“The Kiomsom Falls were absolutely breathtaking,” said Connor O’Leary, a professional cyclist and University of Utah student. “It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see those falls.”
He watched his dad rappel and cheered him on.
“The last time we were on the race, (on) leg three we were in a wheelchair, and now my dad’s rappelling down the waterfalls and we’re in first place,” Connor O’Leary added. “Pretty big turnaround and we’re loving it.”
From the waterfall, they had to go to the river at Kampung Tompinahaton. Teams had to build a bamboo raft during the Detour challenge and either deliver a box of food to the village chief of Kampung Tombung or join a hunting safari where each team member had to hit a fake bird target using a blowpipe.
The O’Learys and three of the other teams that arrived first at the Detour decided to deliver supplies, which included watermelon, onions, apples, bananas and a bag of potatoes.
Dave and Connor lashed their gnome to the front of their raft as they headed down the river.
“The experience of being there was incredible,” said Dave O’Leary, who is a Cubmaster in his LDS ward. “To be in Borneo, to have that beautiful river, and to be healthy and to be able do this again with my son was great.”
The pair saw a sign along the river, which included some rapids and strong currents where a few teams struggled. They thought it was for the hunting Detour, but did not double-check the instructions and continued down river to a takeout point.
“We’re toast,” Connor O’Leary said when they realized their mistake. They had seen a couple of other teams arrive as they were building their raft, which was one of the few that stayed together through the trip downriver.
They ended up carrying their box of supplies over land back to the village.
“We had to figure out how to get the food back up river to the chief,” Dave O’Leary said.
“That box was not light,” Connor O’Leary said. “It had to be at least 50 pounds.”
“Oh, more than that,” his father countered.
“Seventy pounds; and we carried that thing a long way,” Connor added.
After making the delivery, they ran back to where they docked their raft, received their next clue from a local river guide and headed to Tanjung Aru Water Village, where host Phil Keoghan was waiting at the Pit Stop.
“Here we are; going from first to who knows where we’ll be,” Dave O’Leary said in the taxi as they headed to the water village.
“We’re not out though, Dad,” his son reminded him.
They were surprised to be first to the mat, and Keoghan told them they had won a trip for two from Travelocity to Budapest, Hungary.
“The last time we finished first, we were on crutches,” Dave O’Leary told Keoghan, referring to their previous show appearance. They won that leg of the race (using an Express Pass) and the next leg before withdrawing.
“It feels wonderful having just finished a leg; finished first on two legs and not have an injury that is going to eliminate us from the race,” Dave said. “We’re going to try to keep that tact going and hopefully win ‘The Amazing Race’.”
Cowboy brothers Cord McCoy, 33, and 34-year-old Jet McCoy, of Oklahoma, were second and the Afghanimals, cousins Leo Temory, 27, and Jamal Zadran, 26, were third.
Newlyweds Brendon Villegas, 33, and Rachel Reilly, 30, who won the second leg the race in Guangzhou, were first to leave, but thanks to traffic, they were the seventh team to the airport and missed the first flight.
They were on the second flight with YouTube channel hosts Joseph “Joey” Graceffa, 22, and 26-year-old Meghan Caramena, both of Los Angeles, and engaged couple John Erck, 28, and Jessica Hoel, 27, of Minnesota. All three teams made it to the waterfall, but Graceffa and Caramena didn’t tell their taxi to wait like the other teams. They ended up walking to find a taxi to take them to Kampung Tompinahaton and the river.
That put them well behind the other teams and last to the mat — after Villegas and Reilly, who thought they were last. Graceffa and Caramena were eliminated from the race.
“The Amazing Race” airs Sunday evenings on CBS.
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