To the rodeo world, they are Jet and Cord McCoy. Dubbed "the Real McCoys," the talented brothers each earned five world championships in the International Pro Rodeo Association. In 2009, the duo was inducted into the International Finals Youth Rodeo's Hall of Fame for their accomplishments during their high school rodeo careers at the IFYR Finals in Shawnee, Okla.
You have to wonder how two guys from rural Oklahoma ended up on a reality show. "I was leaving Cheyenne Frontier Days when Jet called me up and told me about The Amazing Race. He told me the in's and out's, getting a trip around the world and the chance to walk away with a million dollar payday. He had me sold," Cord said. "We then made our video and sent it in to CBS, we were selected and the rest is history."
The race begins with 11 teams and each team must overcome challenges to find clues and ultimately reach each destination. With each leg, the race is narrowed down until the final leg, which pits the last three teams against each other for a winner-take-all $1 million jackpot.
The brothers traveled 40,000 miles, covered 5 continents and 9 countries. "The language barriers were pretty tricky," said Jet. "But you have to assume that if you go to China, the people there are going to speak Chinese, you just had to figure a way to overcome the barrier."
"We were gone over 30 days, I think 33 days," Cord added. "We actually raced 28 days. Our typical days were fast and furious, every day was a race day," said Cord. "You might travel for 12 hours, so you'd sleep and try to catch up and maybe borrow some soap and wash your socks."
"After about three days, you didn't even notice the cameraman that traveled with us. He couldn't even tell us what time it was when he was with us. At the pit stops, it was just me and Cord, no cell phones and no contact with anyone except during the race," said Jet.
The duo won several legs of the race and their prizes included trips to Patagonia, Hawaii and Alaska, as well as a sailboat for each man.
"I really didn't think anything we had to do was scary, especially when you compare it to riding bulls and broncs," Jet said. "The bungee jumping did get my heart pumping. Now that I've done it once, I don't know that I'd need to do it again." As to how he managed to keep the trademark black cowboy hat on during the 150-foot tandem jump, Jet explained, "They tried to get me to take it off but I told them it was OK, a real cowboy never loses his hat. I just pulled it down like I do when I get on a bronc."
Forever labeled as "The Cowboys" Cord and Jet displayed character traits rare in reality television. They inspired fans with their natural graciousness and courtesy. The roughest phrases that came from this team were "oh my gravy" and "it's on like donkey Kong."
An early tone was set for the final show when another team cut in front of Jet and Cord in the airport check-in line as the final leg began. When Jet and Cord eventually finished second to that team, Jet provided some perspective on the situation.
"There are things that are more important than money," Jet said in a post-race interview. "Having our character and our integrity in tact, we can walk out of here with our heads held high and look people straight in the face and tell them we won second."
When asked to describe their experience on The Amazing Race without using the obvious word, amazing, the brothers hesitated. Jet said, "That's tough, let me think." Cord piped up and said, "Wow!" "He stole my word!" shouted Jet. "I guess I would have to say "sweet." I said that a lot during the race, sweet."
So if you were wondering what it paid to win second place on The Amazing Race, Jet shared what their earnings were, "We got a pat on the back and had an awesome experience." Sweet.