Race to the Altar
Deana: I actually had applied for Survivor and went to an interview in Pittsburgh and they called me back two weeks later and said that they thought I’d be a lot better on The Amazing Race and try out for that, and wondered if I could find a partner. And Ray and I weren’t dating at the time. We were off of our relationship for probably about 3 or 4 months, was it that?
Ray: Yeah, something like that.
Deana: But we were really good friends. I mean we never – it wasn’t that we weren’t together because we couldn’t get along, it’s just that we were in different places in our life. And I called him up and asked him if he wanted to do it and I knew that he would be a great partner. I couldn’t think of anybody else. Thank God he said yeah!
Tribefan: Had you watched the Race before you went on it?
Deana: I had, but Ray never did.
Tribefan: Oh, ok.
Deana: He never saw an episode, before I asked him so he – a friend of mine actually is a big fan and she had every single episode on VHS, so I grabbed those from her and we watched them all. So, that’s basically how we started – basically, you know, getting back into a relationship. I would come over every day and we’d watch those and….
Ray: I became a big fan at that point.
Deana: Yeah, he did.
Ray: Of Deana and the show.
miri: So Ray, were you just not a fan of reality TV, or didn’t see the Race?
Ray: No, Tuesday nights were a bad night for me. I don’t remember why. But, um, it was karate night – that was one thing – and I had the kids, you know, that was one of the nights I had the kids overnight and we just always did things, including karate, together. So, it just wasn’t a night we watched TV.
Tribefan: So, as you were watching all these tapes, were you starting to formulate a strategy, like did you decide how to split the tasks between the two of you?
Ray: Oh, yes.
Deana: Well, you know what? Before this, our Race, or is it…? Yeah, yeah, Amazing Race 6 – before that they never had the thing were you had to do 6 each. They had it where, I mean, the guy could do everything. So, we thought going into it that that’s what we were able to do until we got our papers that said each of you have to do six of these. So, we kind of were like, oh shoot, you know.
Ray: Well what we did, when we watched the show, we didn’t just watch them, we literally took notes. We’d freeze it and stop it and discuss it, and whenever there was a choice, we would sit there and say, alright, what would you do here? Which would you pick? Which detour would you take and why? And we literally felt like we played the game before we actually played it. And, you know, we just felt that we were very, very prepared.
Tribefan: You each had certain strengths and weaknesses – like, we happened to see, Deana seemed to be doing all the driving. Was that a conscious decision?
Ray: Well, it wasn’t a conscious decision because of the driving skills, it was a decision because of map reading skills and directional skills. I had taken literally an on-line map-reading course. And I have some friends of mine in the military that also went out and we trained, they trained me actually, you know, compass reading and just getting around. I was good with that anyway but I went to the extreme of making sure, and we never got lost on the Race, making sure that we, would not have that problem. So Deana, you know, being that it’s hard to drive and read the map at the same time, we decided that she’s gonna drive and I’m gonna read the maps mainly for that purpose.
Tribefan: Well, that makes sense. I think everybody that was watching was a little surprised to see that Deana was the one you chose to do the meat-eating.
Ray: We were surprised too, when we found out it was four pounds of meat!
Ray: Our strategy was pretty clear, we really thought this out and I screwed it up early on in the Race when I picked the shoes because I thought we were at a high altitude and when they said something about shoes I just jumped and said it must mean walking up the streets, or whatever, and I would do it. So I couldn't afford to waste myself on another Roadblock that we had decided ahead of time that she would handle. The eating we thought would be, you know, a bowl of something or just something that was gross,
Deana: In the past, like they had little, you know, I mean, that wasn’t that bad. This was the worst.
miri: It wasn’t the volume eating?
Ray: No. And she has a strong stomach, but I was going to do everything physical, everything from running, jumping, swimming, lifting, whatever. Anything that had to do with physical ability, I would do and everything….well actually, jumping you were going to do because whatever we jumped, whatever, wasn’t really a physical thing, it was more a mental thing. So, with that in mind, we had determined ahead of time, anything eating would be Deana, that she would eat the gross food and try to do her best with that and save me for something more physical.
Tribefan: Oh, I see. Ok, but you weren’t expecting four pounds.
Ray: We knew that we made a mistake and the first comment on TV, when we realized – we rounded the corner and I saw four big guys with their heads in buckets puking – we made a huge mistake. And that lead to a lot of things that were really misconstrued on the show. The biggest of which was that Rob, you know, manipulated us into taking a penalty. Actually, if you saw, and you look at the episode again, Rob is literally asking Amber, "What can we do here? I’m not going to eat this." We were schooled on the rules and we kind of knew that there’s a four hour penalty when you don’t finish something like this.
Deana: But we wanted to make sure.
Ray: We wanted to make sure. So, there’s production people everywhere and we were going to ask them, because as soon as Deana started eating and I saw what was happening with the other guys, there’s no way. Number one, I knew she couldn’t finish it. And number two, If she did she would be useless for the rest of the Race because she’s too little to eat all that food and still be able to, you know, function.
miri: Right, and the only way you could is if you threw it all up.
Deana: Not only that…
Ray: Even that, even that, it was difficult. So we knew we were either going to – without the penalty – we were going to go home. We thought we were going to take the penalty and go home. All Rob did was let us know that it was alright to take the penalty because nobody else was doing this in a timely manner and we knew there were teams behind us. We were able to listen and figure out from what we heard that they were quite a ways behind us. And we knew that Patrick & Susan would not eat the meat – and they didn’t – and Debbie & Bianca wouldn’t eat it either, and they really didn’t. Because what happened at the end, I think that they were just tired of being there, people were there, we were there all day long, probably morning 'til nighttime and they let Patrick and Debbie get away with a lot of things that the guys earlier on didn’t get away with. They had to eat every ounce – skin, fat, everything. Patrick and Debbie had probably at least a 1/3 of their food that they did not make them eat. And if they did, I don’t think they would have, I really don’t. They’re just too little, too.
miri: I’ve heard this from the previous racers, if you saw the Season 5 with the caviar….?
miri: Originally they were told that they could not throw up. And so the first two women who were there doing the task, had been there a long time because they were not allowed to throw up. So then people came in later and it was kind of like they re-thought it.
Ray: I think at the end that they just wanted to get out of there, number one, and number two, they wanted to make sure Debbie and Patrick were kind of close to each other, maybe to make sure, maybe make it a little exciting, or maybe they just had judges, you know, for their meat that were not as strict as the earlier judges. But you could not get away with anything left on your plate early on.
Tribefan: I guess when you’re down to your final two teams, you know….
Ray: It doesn’t matter as much.
Tribefan: Get them both out of here and see who makes it to the mat.
miri: So, really it sounds more like you two and Rob and Amber had kind of like decided together, almost at the same time, that we could do this, because it’s safe, because there’s at least two of us to do this?
Ray: And then I knew that it was up to me, because we kind of got Rob and Amber off the hook. It was up to me to convince Gretchen and Meredith to do it, Deana and I, and we did that. We also tried to talk to Alex and it didn’t work. We kind of knew, we knew these guys were gonna be useless, but it wouldn’t have worked to get them to stop. But Gretchen and Meredith, come on, there’s no way Meredith could’ve finished that and I wouldn’t have done it if I were him either.
Tribefan: Absolutely. It actually made Rob look like the evil genius when it sounds more like it was a collaborative effort.
Ray: Rob is a very smart, street smart guy and he brought a lot to the show, but there's a lot of things that other people did too that were smart and we weren’t, you know, being lead around like one of those, like lambs to the slaughter. We knew what we were doing; we knew what we were getting into. We brought everything up. Rob and I, and Amber and Deana, had discussed absolutely the probability of number one - finishing it, and number two - the people after us finishing it. We did the smart thing.
Tribefan: Well, obviously it’s no secret now that you guys knew Rob and Amber before the Race. How did you meet them? There’s been a lot of speculation on this and I don’t think a lot of fact, so…..
[Ray & Deana laugh.]
Ray: I know there is. I’ll clear it up as much as I can clear it up, if you’re not tired of hearing me talk yet.
Tribefan: No, you can talk all you want.
Deana: Imagine that.
Ray: My company, Shooting Star Entertainment – one of my companies which I don't run hands-on, I have managers to do it – had, at the request of a local fair which is called the Canfield Fair, here in Mahoning County….
Tribefan: I’ve been there
Ray: It’s huge. It’s the biggest county fair in the U.S., or one of the two or three biggest in the U.S. – it’s huge. They had asked us to try and contact Amber who lived in Beaver, which is very close to where we live, to see if she would make an appearance after the Australian Outback Survivor. And so we contacted her, and she did, and then we did a couple of other appearances with her because other people then called us and said, well hey – could you get her for this too? So, it was more of a business-type situation where I didn’t even have the lead in that but I did get to know her from seeing her there, talking to both her and her family. And again, the proximity, you know, is another issue. They were close enough to us that we did get to know them.
That being said, and eventually too, last year at the fair, they had asked if we could get Rob and Amber because they were hot issues because of All-Stars. And we did that and I met Rob that way. But it wasn’t, you know, like we were best buddies or anything of that nature. It was more a business-type situation that did turn into a friendship between Amber and I. Rob not so much, because we didn’t get to know him all that much to that point. We had no idea, and this is the truth, we had absolutely no idea, CBS had no idea, Rob and Amber had no idea, that either of us were on it [the Race]. And the odds, if you think about it, are astronomical, number one – that we would make it, the way we figured it, and number two – that we would make it on a show that Rob and Amber also got on. We didn’t realize it, and CBS realized right before we were going to leave. As we got to LA to start the Race, they called Deana and I in a room, when we got therem and they sat us down and said, "You know, listen guys, there’s someone on this Race that you know." And we said, "What?" And they said Rob and Amber. I mean the only thought that went into our minds was somebody’s going home, but it’s not Rob and Amber.
Ray: And CBS really liked us, we knew that from interviews. We did a great job on our interviews and they told us we realize you guys don’t know this, nobody knew, but we just found out by accident and there's no real damage is done and it’s nobody’s fault so we’re not going to penalize anybody. So, they let us be on the show and kind of went out of our way not to make it an issue because we didn’t, it wasn’t an issue really. And we thought that it took away from the accomplishment of Deana and I, of getting on the Race.
miri: Right. Because I think a lot of people… well usually they have all the contestants, you’re out kind of, you’re out in the same place, but you’re kind of sequestered from each other.
miri: But you kind of see each other in different little rooms, or whatever, but I’m guessing that Rob and Amber probably weren’t there.
Deana: They were…
Ray: Not till the very end.
Deana: Well, no, they were there. Well not till the end, yeah. Like when we actually went to LA to leave for the Race. That’s the first time anybody saw them.
miri: OK. Because I mean, a lot of times people have said in interviews that we’ve done in the past, production has told people if you see anyone here that you know you need to tell us.
Deana: Yeah, they did tell us that. “If there is anybody here that you know, please let us know.” Yeah, they did tell us.
Ray: Was that before Rob and Amber….?
Deana: No, this is when we got to LA.
Ray: Before them?
Deana: Yeah, before them. They said is there anybody here that you know and I looked around and went, “oh no, nobody here.”
Ray: But they did talk to us before we did see Rob and Amber and they already knew at that point.
Deana: Yeah, before that.
Ray: What they did was they found a review that I wrote for Amber’s brother’s book on line. Just surfing the net trying to find anything about any of us. And they realized that, you know, there might be something there and they dug into it a little bit and nobody lied. We wouldn’t do that.
miri: Yeah. I was kind of curious, because I had kind of thought that they [Rob and Amber] probably didn’t have to go out there for all, quite as much as everyone else.
Deana: No. That’s why they were just there at the end.
miri: I mean they’ve already been through all of that testing.
Deana: But you know what, so did Meredith and Gretchen, that weren’t in our original…when we were in LA for those 2 weeks, for our initial interviews, they weren’t there either. And Uchenna and Joyce weren’t there. When we asked them, they said that they called them 2 weeks before everybody were leaving and said that “we decided to pick you guys,” and said “could you fly to LA to get everything done? And 2 days to fly back.” Like, Uchenna and Joyce, we didn’t see them either. We were like shocked and we even talked about it. Were they there? I don’t remember them.
Tribefan: Rebecca [TAR6] told us that they were in the final group for last season. I think they had already been through all of this.
Deana: Yeah, Uchenna and Joyce said they tried out for 6 but Joyce thought that she was pregnant at the time so that she had to say no.
Tribefan: Oh, OK.
Ray: Uchenna told me that they felt that they were too similar to Chip and Kim having them on right after they were.
Deana: Yeah, but that’s not why they didn’t go. She thought she was pregnant and didn’t want to chance it.
Tribefan: That makes sense.
Deana: Yeah, it does.
Tribefan: Well, they decided at the last minute, OK, we want you now.
Deana: Well, that was afterwards. That was 6 they tried out for, and then they put another tape in for 7, and they remembered them from last time and they really like them.
Tribefan: Well, that works. So, everybody’s on the Race and at the starting line and what’s going through your head at this moment just before Phil says go?
Deana: Run your ass off. Where am I going?
Deana: Oh boy, here we go.
Ray: We felt, we really did, and a lot of teams told us this too, as well as some people in production, that, you know, we were really a team to beat and we were so – and it’s my nature I guess – but we were so confident, we just couldn’t wait to get started. And the adrenaline is pumping full blast.
Deana: Yeah, we, as soon as he put his hand down, we were the first to our bags, first out of the… out of the….where were we at, anyways? Something Mary…..
Ray: Queen Mary
Deana: Well, it was kind of, no, it was the Queen Mary, but it really wasn’t on the Queen Mary.
Ray: But you know what, this is interesting. We had figured out and deduced that the starting line would be the Queen Mary, would be Long Beach. We had literally looked at every potential start city in the US and we thought that they may go back to LA because they did, two other times, they did one at Dodger Stadium and started one at the Santa Monica pier. And so, we thought well it’s about time to go back to LA. They went north, they went central, now they’re gonna go south. If I were them, I would start here at Long Beach at the Queen Mary. And we had actually gotten satellite, downloaded satellite maps of the area, satellite maps of the LA airport, we had freezed those, or had one frame that showed the parking lot that they used the last time they went in LA, and it was called Park One, or whatever it was. And there’s one frame on this whole thing that had the name of this parking lot. So, we had worked out the route from Long Beach to LA to the parking deck of our parking lot and we knew exactly where we were going. When we were on the bus, I had my compass out and hiding it from the other teams because I didn’t want them to realize what I was doing because you can’t see on the bus – they’ve blocked the windows – and we had figured out what turn, what direction we were going from the hotel so we figured alright, we’re going left, now south, we’re going down 408, we doing this, and we were exactly right and we were amazed that we ended up right where we thought we would. We were completely prepared, got in the cars and made it right there to the airport. Had a good start at least.
miri: So having just watched all those episodes and, you know, got caught up on the past, is there any kind of weird feeling of déjà vu but from another side when you’re on that start line? I mean, it just must seem surreal.
Deana: It is so real. It’s part of the most real thing that I’ve been through. It’s, I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. You know what I mean….. for us it’s different, we know, than for you guys because…..it’s hard to explain. Ray, you try to explain.
Ray: We’ve talked about, we talked about this. It’s, you see this, and again, we have done a cram course on The Amazing Race. We watched all the series we could get our hands on right before this. So, watching it, I was again nervous when I watched the start on a few of these thinking I’m gonna be there soon and when you’re sitting there and he’s got his hand up and you realize that you’re gonna go, it’s, you know, it’s just, you can’t believe the feeling. Number one – that you’re there and number two – you’re really gonna do this in front of all these people.
Tribefan: I obviously haven’t felt it but I can understand that it’s a feeling like no other.
Deana: It’s an uuuuunbelievable feeling. It is like no other.
Ray: When you play football and you go right before a big game, you have kick off, you get butterflies. This is like butterflies times ten.
Deana: I was ready to puke.
Ray: I wasn’t sick, I was so pumped up, I would have run through a wall. And I, probably, would have run through a tree or ran over somebody. Good thing it wasn’t Gretchen or Meredith.
miri: I’m still waiting for a big, huge pile-up.
Ray: I know. It’s so crazy when you start there. You don’t even know where you’re going and you’re not thinking right and it’s gonna happen sooner or later.
Tribefan: Well, we have to talk about the fast forward because that’s probably the task that you’ll both be remembered for the most. How scary was that?
Deana: It was, uh, it was very scary but I don’t remember – to me it was scary, very scary but I don’t remember much of it because I was concentrating more on getting across that thing than anything else. So, I just kind of blocked everything else out. Trying not to fall, that’s all I was thinking of.
Ray: A couple of things that you couldn’t tell on TV. The main thing was that there was a helicopter filming it right above us.
Deana: Yeah, right above us.
Ray: And that’s really distracting, number one and number two, as you’re, you know, looking to not fall to your death, is really a lot to handle. And then when I got past it, I felt more nervous for Deana than me because the guy, one of the guys that ran it and strung it up, there were 3 of them there, and they do that all over the world I guess, they said that, all 3 of them tried it – 2 of them made it and other one didn’t make it within the 15 minutes that we had to do it. So, it ended up that I made it in 6 and Deana made it in 7. He couldn’t believe it. But, when he told me that, I said, oh no. This is gonna be tough for her to do.
miri: So ya’ll did had a time limit then?
Deana: Yeah, 15 minutes.
Ray: But if you would have fallen, you would have been done. There’s no way to….I don’t know how you would have gotten back up.
Deana: I don’t know either.
miri: Because at one point, especially Deana, I thought of this when you were on the bridge, you know, it looked like the bridge was shaking almost more from your shaking than from the wind or anything else.
Deana: That helicopter was right above me. I could have grabbed on and he could have taken me for a ride. And then my legs started shaking and I said “Deana, oh, you gotta go.” Come on now. I couldn’t look up at him because I would have fallen because there were big huge gaps.
Tribefan: Some gaps looked bigger than others.
Deana: Yeah, they were. They were huge. It was OK, how do I….my feet are so small and I’m thinking how is my shoe…..if the front of my shoe falls in here, I’m done. So, he’s flying above me and I’m thinking, oh, man, come on.
Ray: They could not have picked a harder thing to do. That really, it didn’t do justice for it on TV. Not only in the middle, when you had the bridge swing back and forth – which it did – but any time you shifted your weight, which you have to do when you move your feet, the bridge would tilt too – side-to-side. How we stayed up there, even now, I have no idea. I really don’t.
miri: See, I think that would be the freaky thing to me, you have nothing, you don’t have even a rope handrail, anything to hold on to.
Ray: A lot of people said – Why didn’t you crawl? Well, you weren’t allowed to.
Deana: You weren’t allowed to.
Tribefan: That was a question, because a lot of people said it would be easier to crawl on your belly, I don’t even know if that’s true, but….
Deana: I don’t know either, but we didn’t have a choice there so it didn’t matter.
Tribefan: Walk not crawl
Deana: Yeah, we had to walk.
Tribefan: Where you guys aware that Rob and Amber were waiting for you to…..
Deana: We had absolutely no idea. The only time we saw that was when on the show and we said “oh my gosh!” We didn’t even know they were down there, until we saw the show.
Ray: We saw them speed away.
Deana: We saw them leave, but….
Ray: But we didn't know they were waiting.
Deana: But we had no idea that they were waiting that long.
Tribefan: Ok, here’s the big question, have you gotten your cars yet?
Deana: Not yet. We’re waiting. We should be getting them very soon. We have been in contact with Toyota and production, so, we’re just waiting for Toyota.
miri: Do y’all get to choose all the options you want?
Deana: We can have any options, so we’re excited about that.
Deana: Any color? Anything on them, so, we can’t wait.
Tribefan: How exciting. That’s the first time that they’ve given cars away. So, that’s very exciting.
Deana: Yeah, we’re gonna get them personalized, the license plates.
Tribefan: How cool.
Deana: Yeah, we think so. We've got ideas – "Thanks CBS" or what else on there?
Deana: Yeah, TAR7.
Tribefan: Well that sounds like fun.
Deana: Yeah, but we don’t know which one yet.
Tribefan: When you were racing, you had the foot race to the mat there. Obviously you didn’t know that Brian and Greg were right behind you while you were driving?
Deana: You know, I’m not kidding you, I still have nightmares about that and I think to myself – I just had one the other night – and I sit down and I go, you know what, if I would have known they were there……we were in the car talking, saying, “you know what Ray, Deana, we need to start working together better,” this and that, and we’re talking about the next leg. And I pull up and all of a sudden I hear this car…. I’m like, I look over and I could not believe….. I mean, I had to look like a ghost….
Ray: We thought it was production, we didn’t know.
Deana: At first, yeah, but then I saw, I’m like Oh My God, how did they get behind us? And now I, the reason I have dreams is because if I knew that they were behind me, I would have kept on driving up to the mat because it didn’t say you couldn’t – that you had to park there.
Tribefan: I wondered, because you all parked so far away from where Phil was.
Deana: Because of where the other cars were we said, oh we’re OK. If I’d had known that…..that’s why I have nightmares thinking you should have kept on driving.
miri: Because was there just so much dust in the back that you couldn’t…..
Ray: You couldn't see anything.
Deana: You could not see anything, nothing. It was like a dust storm.
Deana: I mean there was a couple of times when I was behind on that road, I was behind Meredith and I had to stop, I mean literally stop, to wait for the dust to go before I could start going again.
miri: Oh, yeah, so you that you wouldn’t have a wreck.
Tribefan: They were right in front of you.
Deana: Yeah, I would have been in trouble.
Ray: Yeah, but we didn’t lose that leg in the foot race. We lost it in the corn. That’s what I have nightmares about because we really were done with that corn way before they gave it to us; again, we just had a bad judge. We had pounded the corn so hard, compared to even the other teams that were there we watched them. My hands were bloody raw and I know the work and effort that we both put into that, and they just, or she wouldn’t just give us credit at all. She would turn down our corn, no matter, it was like dust – not even corn meal – and we still wouldn’t get credit for it. And we saw the other teams were getting credit for it and it was nothing compared to, you know they were getting credit for a lot more than we were, let’s put it that way.
Tribefan: So it depends on the person you had to deal with.
Ray: It was like a bad taxi driver.
Deana: We should have paid her.
Deana: We should have paid her off. We didn’t think of that until now.
Ray: We had probably finished that, we thought in about ½ hour, it took us almost an hour and a half.
Deana: About an hour and a half.
Ray: We thought at least 45 minutes we finished that if we were getting credit for what we really thought we should get credit for. But it was an hour and a half. Just, you know, 3 or 4 minutes would have made us stay in the Race.
miri: It was really kind of portrayed as a break down of teamwork at that point, but do you just think, do you just really feel it was more the frustration at getting the corn to the standards that this person wanted?
Ray: We weren’t frustrated with each other until the very end. We did snap a few times and they always put that on. But, you know, for an hour and a half we were working together great. And we just couldn’t believe what we were, you know, going through. It was just too…..we were at our breaking point. It was so hot, we were so….my hands, again, were bleeding and she just would not pass our corn, and it was just more frustration with her than anything else and a couple of times Deana and I just snapped at each other, but it was nothing compared to time we worked together there.
miri: And Deana, it looked like you had the worst sunburn I have ever seen in my life. I can’t imagine standing out there pounding that corn in the sun with that sunburn either.
Deana: I was so sunburned from the first leg, and Peru was when I first got sunburned. And, you know what, it never stopped from there. I never had sunblock, so, the horse even added more. My shoulders, I mean, my shoulders are still scarred because every time it would heal, well it never really did heal properly because it would burn again and then my backpack - I had tank tops on - would rip the skin off. It would start bleeding again and then it would get sunburned again, and it was, it was absolutely horrible. My face swelled up from being burned.
Tribefan: OK, you looked like you had one eye swollen shut by the time you were eliminated.
Ray: Yeah, I got blamed for that one too.
Deana: And then the sun, I’m standing in the middle of the sun and Phil’s looking at me and my eye was so swollen and it’s starting to water because it’s so sensitive to light and I’m saying, Oh gosh, come on. Everybody thought Ray beat me. I said, come on people.
Tribefan: You mentioned the horse, how long were you on that horse?
Deana: I was on that horse for 3 hours.
miri: Oh my gosh.
Deana: 3 hours.
Deana: Yes, it was 110-115°. And yet, you have to put it into perspective, I didn’t eat for 3 days. We didn't sleep. We didn’t have water, I mean, it was, I was ready to, I wanted to be sick being up on that horse.
Tribefan: That was a long time, you had to do it in, what, less than 45 seconds?
Deana: 40 seconds.
Tribefan: And it took 3 hours to manage that?
Deana: Well, the first time I did it was like 42 seconds. And then, it kept going up and I ended up doing it in 33.
Tribefan: Had you ever ridden a horse before then?
Deana: I had ridden – I rode a horse when I was maybe 2 or 3 years old.
Tribefan: And you’re not an expert?
Deana: Yeah, I am. I was actually looking at this place in PA, and said, oh maybe me and Ray go there and take the kids with us and there’s horseback riding and something else….whitewater rafting, because we whitewater rafted for 7 miles on the show. Oh, I’ll just do the horseback riding, jump in the boat…..but I don’t think I’ll be riding a horse soon!
Tribefan: I think you’re done with horses.
Deana: Yeah, too frustrating.
miri: Traumatic Race flashbacks, right?
Deana: Yes. Definitely, yes.
Tribefan: Well, Ray, we heard and read that you apologized to Meredith and Gretchen before the Race even aired. At what point did you realize that you probably weren’t coming across in a very nice way?
Ray: When I watched it.
Ray: In all honesty, yeah, I mean, there was a lot more to the comments than they showed and it was, you know…..I guess I was trying to spice things up in a little bit and be funny and, you know, and I didn’t pull it off, of course. More than anybody I probably wouldn’t have wanted to hurt or offend Meredith and Gretchen, more than anyone on the show, because I really did like them, those two, a lot and I think, you know, how could you say anything mean about them? They’re so nice. And they did such a great job. So, it did……it did bother me the more I thought about it, and I said, you know what, some of the stuff is not going to come out that well, I’m just confident it’s not. So, I told them that if looks like that, it’s all done with tongue in cheek, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until I watched it. And I felt bad, not only for them but for their family and friends.
Tribefan: Well, you know, in repeat viewings, I will tell you that it did look like you were attempting humor.
Ray: Well, there’s a lot more than what was even on some of the other interviews. It was, you know, it was inappropriate and it didn’t represent my feelings towards them, it didn’t represent me and I’m, to this day, sorry that I did it.
miri: But you can see why CBS went for it, I mean, it made a great story the way it was edited together, even, I know it must have been frustrating for you and you felt really bad, but from the viewers' stand point it made a great story.
Ray: Oh, I was a great villain.
Ray: I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Brian and Greg to cross that, you know, to get to the mat first too. If I had seen and known of myself only from what I watched on TV, I would have been ecstatic when we got beat in the footrace.
Tribefan: There were a lot of happy people.
Ray: I don’t blame them and I would have been one of them.
miri: You don’t have any grudge against editors or how you portrayed?
Ray: I did that. I can’t say anything to them. I made a mistake in doing it poorly, that part of it. And we did a lot of good things too, and they didn’t put that in there and that’s OK. That’s what you sign up for. But, I have no grudges. I love CBS. I’m grateful that they gave us an opportunity and any way they want to present me is fine with me.
Tribefan: Do you take a lot of flack from you family and friends?
Ray: Yeah. It was kind of funny because people would, friends would call me up and say, “Come on Ray, give me something to work with here. Every time I tell them that you’re a good guy, that’s not you, you did something else.” I’m laughing, I’m thinking, something good’s coming up next week and then they wouldn't show it.
Deana: I know.
Ray: I’m comfortable with the fact that people that do have an open mind and know me realize that, alright, I’m not that kind of a mean person. And, if they do think that, I’m sorry about that but I can’t really live my life based on what other people think.
Tribefan: Well, you know, I think most people who watch the show can separate what they see on TV from the real person. But people did kind of vilify you.
Ray: And rightfully so, based on what they saw. The character that I had portrayed on TV or what was shown on TV deserved to be vilified. And I, again, would have been in the forefront of that. So, I have no problem or hard feelings or anything at all that I regret. I regret how I came off, but I mean, I don’t hold any grudges against anybody for their thoughts about me.
miri: Do you think that having known a little bit of Amber beforehand, and – I don’t know whether you knew anything about how she was on her season of Survivor – knowing then how the press reacted to her……and you kind of went into this saying, “well, I know what this person’s like and this is a nice person, and why is the press so mean to her….” – do you think that helped you be a little healthier about your reaction to that criticism, or did it not even figure into it?
Ray: It did. It figured into it a little bit. I mean, I realized from knowing Amber that she had gotten a bad rap on some things and you start to see that that’s just part of the game, you know, you get the opportunity to get on one of these shows, you take the good with the bad and you just live with it and accept it.
Tribefan: Deana, how do you feel about the way you were portrayed on the show?
Deana: I thought, like Ray said, I felt fine. It did make me look like a doormat, which I wasn’t. But, they had us picked out as what characters they wanted us to be in the beginning, and there’s nothing we can do about it. I was fine with it. It made me laugh – it was funny because I yelled at Ray so much and they turned around and make it look like he yelled at me or was so mean to me, and it was like, I can’t believe this!
Tribefan: Yeah, it looked like you weren’t standing up for yourself.
Deana: Yeah, and I stood up for myself every time. They never showed that though, yeah.
Ray: I'm more afraid of her than she is of me.
Deana: It was hilarious, I would scream – “Ray, would you please shut up!” And I would tell him….they wouldn't show any of it. They showed Ray just saying, “come on Deana, come on.” It’s like, how many times can you say “come on!”
Ray: You know, I was very calm for the whole thing. The only thing I do when there’s actually a competition of some sort, I do get very wound up and that’s just the way I compete. It’s a part of me from all the sports I played and I think I’m encouraging, and what I’m doing sounds like badgering.
Deana: Yeah. Yeah, to me it does.
Ray: And I didn’t realize it myself until I saw it. And you get a unique opportunity when you’re on one of these shows to judge yourself from afar and see yourself in a way that no one else normally gets to see themselves.
miri: So you thought you were being encouraging and then Deana, you’re taking it as being maybe overbearing or strong. Have y’all had a chance since then to work it out for what you need for encouragement and Ray, kind of how you need tone to be more encouraging?
Ray: Well, we don’t really need to work it out because we don’t compete in a thing like that normally and that’s the only time it comes out in me. I go to a gym and it's "come on you can do that rep, come on," like you’re encouraging your partner to get something and that’s just how I was always brought up in athletics. Deana and I don’t compete against each other or in a competition like we did there so, it never came out until the show and I don’t know if will come up in the future because I don’t know that we’ll be in a situation like that again.
miri: I think you said at the end that you were going to compete with each other.
Deana: But if we do, we know what to work on.
Ray: But, you know what? It’s successful for me. I’ve always been successful in athletics and it’s because I have that go, go, go, go mentality, push to the limits, and anyone involved with you have to do the same thing. And I was always told that in football, that the guys in the huddle hated me when I was on the field but when I got off the field, everybody loved me. I guess I’m that way in anything I do when I compete. I’m aware of it now at least; whether I can correct or not, I don’t know.
Tribefan: Self awareness is a good thing and most of us aren’t blessed with it. So, are there any moments that didn’t make to air that you wish they had shown?
Deana: Actually, on the boat when we were looking for the treasure – was that what we were looking for? The islands or the boats and we chose the island. Coming back from the island, we were singing and laughing and doing duets together – it was hilarious. We were having so much fun and they didn't show it. We were like, oh yeah, our singing part is coming up!
Ray: And they didn't show it. Because that's when all those Meredith and Gretchen and Susan and Patrick comments were made, and those were all done in the midst of all this joking and clowning and singing. Literally singing harmony stuff and everything. We were really having a good time.
Deana: We were having a great time. I thought, oh, they are going to show this. They didn't show it. We're the mean people still.
Tribefan: You couldn't be the villains if you were singing.
Deana: I know! But we were doing so good!
miri: I think advice to future racers: singing moments aren't going to make it on because they won't want to pay the royalties.
Ray: I even said to the sound guys, there's no rights to this one because it's a Christmas song – and it didn't make it.
Deana: On the boat, I sang Amazing (G)race. I thought, oh yeah, this will be the perfect song. But, no…I didn't get a record contract out of it. Darn it.
Tribefan: So when all is said and done, and you are off the Race and are Sequestered with everyone else, did you actually have a good time there?
Deana: We had…a good time, yeah. I mean, they treat you like royalty, but, you know, you're still wondering, where are they at? What are they doing? You still want to be in the Race, you don't want to be in Sequesterville. Even thought it's absolutely beautiful and they treat you like royalty, you don't want to be there.
Ray: I think a lot of teams got over it much quicker…
Deana:… a lot quicker than Ray and I.
Ray: …because of how we lost it. You know, it wasn't just that too. You think back on it - every little mistake you made and what you could have done differently. At least to me, I've run the Race over and over again many, many, many times. And you would just like the chance to do some things differently. Deana and I actually did do a very good job on the Race from downloading satellite images from airports all over the world – trying to get there – to guessing where the start was. We just had some bad luck too. The first leg all the way along, we had bad luck. We just missed out on the third ticket on the first flight. Rob and Amber were digging in the same pile as us when they found it. And our flight gets cancelled. We go from fourth at that time, possibly third if we could have beat them, to the last seats on the other plane because our flight got cancelled. We always had something like that, where we were coming back from behind. We made it up from last to seventh on that leg. We had a good second leg, but a production problem actually put us in third place when we would have been in first. We ran the books quicker than anyone; we would have won that leg, we feel, but we missed the flight because of a production problem. And nobody knows that part, of course. We still ended up third there. It was third, right?
Deana: Yeah, because remember, I got up when the plane was starting to land and I stood up and pushed my way all the way through Ron and Kelly and the Hillbillies all the way up to the front. So I was like, oh no, no, no, no. This ain't happening now.
Ray: And it was just everything like that that happened. And another leg we did real well – we ran with Rob and Amber – we did a good job. We spent all day in a travel agency. Me, Rob, Amber and Deana – we took over all the desks and computers. We were sitting there for, probably…
Ray: 4 hours. Mapping out our routes and looking at where we had to go for our clues and doing everything else. We went to a five star hotel there and talked our way into staying there for awhile, but we didn't have the time to do it. We did so many good things. The meat then, when we did take that penalty in the third leg, which carried over into the fourth because you didn't have a chance to make up that time. There was a five hour difference between those flights. So, the one time we did fall behind, we didn't get the opportunity to move up. And finally, in the fifth leg, we talked our way into first class, we did everything right there again. Got right to - never got lost or anything - got right to the water towers and run the leg. And then the last leg, everybody knows what happened there.
Tribefan: It's another example of first to worst – it's happened more than once.
Ray: We looked inept on TV and that bothered me because we did, I felt, a very, very good job. We had a lot of bad breaks and the breaks we had…and not to make excuses. We did what we did and we finished where we finished. But we can't help it if a flight gets cancelled.
miri: There's always so much luck – no matter where you finish.
Ray: To win the race, you've got to overcome that and we didn't.
Tribefan: It is a combination of skill and luck.
Deana: It is.
miri: Listening to you guys talk now, one of the most frustrating things, if I were you guys, would have been that you were portrayed as an inept team.
miri: Not necessarily that you weren't able to do things, but not able to work well together. When it sound like you were working well together…
Deana: We were working well together.
miri: …and it must have been frustrating to see your relationship portrayed that way.
Ray: Honestly, you know, the villain can't be shown in too good of a light, I don't think. I mean, if you think about each leg as I explained, there was really nothing that we did poorly in those legs. But in the first leg, if I had to change one thing it would be to not worry about the language barrier so much and just go out on my own, instead of trying to run around with the group. And once we did that, we still broke away and beat everybody to the piles and everything else. And our luck was, yeah, our flight got cancelled. We got put on the last flight with everyone else. The people who went for the wrong piles – we got put with all of them and they were actually seated in front of us. We were in the last seats on the plane. So we were last place as we were leaving that airplane. And we made up four spaces there. So it looks like an inept finish – not our fault, we moved up from 11th to 7th.
miri: Yeah, I just mean, it just seemed like you weren’t working well together as a team. But from talking to you, I can see that perhaps you were, but it was just how it was put together.
Ray: Well, I would say yes and no. We did work well together, but you know what I didn't do – and this is my fault again – I didn't use Deana's talents enough, in retrospect. You know, I'm out there and I get so hyped up and competitive that I try to win everything as a one-man team. And you cannot beat this caliber of people, when there are two of them working together all the time, if you're just doing it on your own. And I didn't use Deana's talents enough. We did work very much more together than they showed on TV, but I still could have improved that a lot. It's my fault.
miri: And you think that's just your natural competitiveness coming out.
miri: And was that something you'd seen before, Deana? Or since you usually didn't compete with him, you weren't usually on the other side of it?
Deana: Exactly. When I was dating him, I used go watch him play football and he'd be one way on the field and when he's off the field, he'd be a totally different person. And I really never thought anything because I wasn't competing with him. There were a couple times on the Race when I'd get mad at him. Because I said, you know, come on. I'm here too. I'm your partner. Work with me here. But you know, he's got that mentality – that he can do everything on his own and you can't do that on your own.
miri: I've always thought the Race was a weird combination of competition and experience – you know, life changing experience. It sounds like you guys were focused heavily on the competition. Do you think you missed some of the experience because of that? Or do you feel that you came out of it with what you needed?
Deana: I think we missed a lot of the experience. Those places, a lot of those places, were absolutely beautiful, and, you know, a lot of them, I’m not going to remember because it's "go, go, go, go." You're not worried about, "look how beautiful is it." You want to take that in, but you just don't have time to. But there were a couple of times we did stop and say, wow this place is absolutely gorgeous. If we win the million bucks we'll definitely come back. But you don't have time to suck it in and get to know what it's really like there. And that's something I wish I was able to see.
Ray: Me too. I do too. I am so focused on winning. And I did have the mentality beforehand of, let's win this thing, let's go back and take our money, go to these places and really enjoy them. And I really do feel that I would have done that with some of them, not all of them because there are some places that I don't care to go back to.
Tribefan: You don't want to pound corn again?
Ray: You'll never catch me pounding corn again or having anything to do with corn. Argentina, I thought, was beautiful.
Deana: Yeah, that was gorgeous.
Ray: It was incredible. And some of the things we did…. you just sit back sometimes and think, I mean, we are just normal people from the Midwest that were fortunate enough to get this experience. And I sit there sometimes thinking, my gosh, nobody's ever going to walk across those towers again. It's not like it's a ride that's there for anyone to do. We're the only human beings, or the last human beings at least that will ever do anything like that. You sit back, or I do and I know Deana does too, and think how fortunate and lucky we were.
Tribefan: So that sounds like something you came away with – you didn't win, but you did come away with the idea that you were fortunate to have the experience.
Ray: The experience, the places we visited, but more importantly, we really did make friends that will be our friends forever. You have a lifetime full of experiences thrown into a month with these people. And every single one of them - there's not one person on the Race that I do not think I'll end up not being a friend with forever. How hard is that – to get 20 other friends that quickly!
Tribefan: I don't think people who haven't run the Race can really realize that. People think, "How can they be good friends? They've only known each other for a month." But former Racers say that you have no idea what it's like. It's such an intense experience and, yes, you do become friends for life.
Deana: Yes, you do. You become really close friends. It's like family.
miri: No one understands that experience that you went through but them.
Deana: Exactly. They are the only people that we can say, you know what? You were there with us. They're the only people who can understand what it's like.
Ray: Your emotions are so heightened too and everything means so much more than every day life. You sit there and you can watch on TV a little bit of what happened on that beach in Peru. We were there all day long and the things we did and the fun we had and the bonding we had and the stress we're all under and we're able to share – not only the experience, but the emotions, with everybody. No one - I can't even explain it to you to do it justice. But if I sat down with Debbie and Bianca and we talked about it….the bond of being there is so strong and powerful that you can't help but build a friendship.
miri: I think it's like, what is it? Foxhole friends.…
Ray: Yeah, it is. I don't want to compare what we did to war…
miri: Oh, no.
Ray: .…but I can understand the mentality of something that has that much emotion attached to it, which this all does and stress also it does lead to enduring friendships.
Tribefan: Speaking of the friendships and relationships, I'd kind of like your perspective on something because you are in a unique position. You are friends with Rob and Amber and you're friends with the other teams. In this season, more than any other, we've witnessed so much sniping between the teams – even after the Race is over in the media. And we're wondering how much of that still lingers, or is it fabricated by the media?
Deana: I think it still lingers.
Ray: Yeah, it does.
Deana: I know Lynn and Alex, I mean, they are just hateful – they don't like Rob and Amber. Patrick doesn't like Rob and Amber and they won't be afraid to tell you either. I mean….it's stupid, I think.
Tribefan: It's interesting, I mean, I know you know you were quite the villain on the show, but believe me, after it's all said and done, there are other teams that are being vilified more because of this ongoing battle in the media. And we are seeing it still, in articles about Lynn and Alex's wedding and stuff. And I wondered how much of it is the reporter provoking the questioning about Rob and Amber or if it really is….
Ray: No, they're not provoking. One thing I will give all the teams is that they are upfront with their feelings. It's not stabbing in the back. They'll tell it to whomever, face-to-face or whatever. So, I will give credit there. I do see both sides of the argument too. Again, I'm in a unique position, I got to know Rob and Amber as people and not as media racers – celebrity racers or whatever. But I don't think anybody anticipated the amount of recognition they would have on the Race, and a lot of teams felt it gave them an unfair advantage and I can see their point there. They were recognized so frequently and at critical times and it did frustrate some of the teams. I don't agree with the lengths of the sniping they are going to – both sides. I love these people – it’s like my brothers fighting. You just want to tell them, no pun intended, but can't we all just get along. I'm the villain, but I'm trying to be the peacemaker. On the show, I'm the villain and in real life, I’m probably the only person – Deana and I – that are literally and truly friends with every single person on the Race. And we'd love to see everyone else get along.
Tribefan: And that speaks well of you. I will say the fans seem to be..…I'm kind of in the "oh get over it, already" camp, but there are a lot of people on both sides of the fence – defending Rob and Amber to death and those who think Rob and Amber are evil incarnate. Back on the other side of the fence again are people who think Lynn and Alex are terrible and Susan and Patrick are terrible and all of these people who won't let it go. But then, again, their supporters say that Rob and Amber didn't try to make friends with them either. Is that true?
Ray: I think Rob and Amber's perception of what was going on was completely opposite of the perception of the other teams. And, in all honesty, Deana and I did fuel that a little bit on both sides. Because we kinda knew, we'd go talk to Rob and Amber and they would be saying that “everybody here seems to alienate us.” And we'd go to the other teams and they would say that Rob and Amber don't even bother to try and talk to anybody. They both felt the other side was responsible for it and we would fuel whatever side we were talking to because we knew they were getting so preoccupied with each other. We were hoping it would help us in the Race. We were actually using that. We started the fight between Debbie and Bianca and Rob in that bus station. We just sat back and laughed our butts off – even gave an interview they didn’t show because again, you can't make the villain funny. But we did fuel the fire a lot, and I hope that didn't cause this ongoing thing. I think they were all pretty pre-disposed to feeling the way they felt. We didn't help it, though.
miri: So this is funny, because Rob was vilified for a lot of things and you were vilified for different things and yet you seem to have caused a lot of the things, or helped bring into motion a lot of the things, that got Rob in trouble with fans.
Ray: Rob can get himself in trouble all by himself.
Deana: We figured, they are already going to blame him for it, so why not? They already dislike him, so why not?
Ray: Rob was admiring my ability to do that. He picked up on it.
Deana: He loved it.
Ray: He said, “Man, you ought to be on Survivor – the way you work both sides of the fence is incredible.”
Tribefan: That's quite the compliment coming from him.
Ray: It is – he's one of the best to play that game. He knew what was going on. Rob doesn't care. In a way it's kind of a funny thing. You can sit back and at some points say, Rob why are you saying stuff like that and other times you are thinking, he is so damn funny, you know? It's hard to figure out which side is stronger.
miri: Yeah, I've always somehow managed to forgive him because he doesn't seem to take himself seriously.
Ray: You turn the camera on and Boston Rob comes out. He knows what they want him to say and how they want him to look. He loves it. He'll give you that wink. He'll do whatever it takes. He is so camera ready he might as well be in a package.
miri: People complained about the camera time they got and they were saying it's because CBS knew they were going to be popular and, I know part of that is true, but it's also because he knew what kind of material to give the cameras.
Ray: He knows what to give them, but you know, a lot of teams did. We thought we did some very entertaining things that never made it. But if I were CBS, and I had the exposure that comes with Rob and Amber being on the show, of course they are going to use that. I would have done the same thing. Rob is a very good interview. Rob is very funny, but there were a lot of very funny people in our cast. There were a lot of very entertaining things that happened and interviews that were given and everything that you just couldn't fit on there. But I can't deny the fact that I like watching Rob.
miri: I think this happens in a lot of seasons, not just that one, that one team happens to get a lot of camera time. I think a lot of the resentment was because they have already had a lot of camera time and don't need any more. But this does happen that one or two teams get a lot of camera time, and it's not necessarily the winners.
Ray: Well, face it, before the season started and up until probably the end, people didn't care about Ray and Deana or the other teams anywhere near about what they cared – whether you liked them or hated them – you wanted to see what happened with Rob and Amber and that's TV, and how could you deny that. I would have done the same thing.
Tribefan: There are so many teams, especially at the beginning, that it's hard to get emotionally invested until you're several episodes into it.
Ray: Absolutely. You are already invested in Rob and Amber.
Tribefan: Yeah, they do have a leg up in that regard.
Ray: Exactly – and not their fault. It's smart production.
miri: Well, hopefully, we'll get the DVD box set with all your funny moments.
Ray: They'll never make me funny, it will take away from the villain part. You can't have that great finish in episode six if people like us. And you know what's funny too? And I knew they wouldn't show this and I even told Deana – when we lost in episode six, this was the only leg where everybody was at the finish, at the mat, and everybody came up and was hugging us and crying, "I'm so sorry to see you go and we don't want you to leave, blah, blah, blah." And it was really touching to me. And I knew they wouldn't show that because they couldn't make us look like anyone liked us at all.
Tribefan: They had to make it look like everyone was doing cartwheels.
Ray: Exactly! And I would have done the same thing too.
Tribefan: And really to that point, they hadn't shown the great relationship between you and the other teams. We didn't get a sense of that.
Ray: After leg one there's a connection already. And, you know, you think that's just one show, but that leg is four or five days and we all bonded – well, most of us anyway – bonded in a good way. And you do get to be so close in a short period of time.
Tribefan: If you had the chance to run the Race again – say you were called for All Stars or something – would your self-awareness now, of how you come across, give you a new attitude….or would your competitive streak kick right back in?
Ray: I think if we were called for another opportunity at that show, I wouldn't change anything we did in terms of the technical part of running Race and our preparation, but yes, I would definitely change the dynamic of how we worked together. And again, I don't necessarily think that was our downfall or anything – I think we would have done better if we worked better together. It was the weakest part of our game. And yeah, I learned a lot about myself in watching myself on TV.
Tribefan: Deana, would you run the Race with him again?
Deana: Absolutely! No doubt. No doubt in my mind, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Tribefan: Well, that's good to know!
Ray: We are married.
Tribefan: Speaking of marriage, I think everyone heard about your wedding’s Race-colored theme, and thought that red and yellow sounded a bit garish…
Deana: No, it was actually goldish and red. We didn't want to do yellow. We have a local high school around here – Mooney High School – and their colors are red and yellow, so we didn't want to go with a Mooney theme!
Ray: And you're right, it would have been too…
Deana: Yeah, it would have been too…
Ray: I think that some people thought it was an obsessive thing, but it wasn't. It was little touches that paid tribute to the fact that, not that we were on TV, but paid tribute to the fact that this turning point in our relationship led to us being Mr. and Mrs. And that was what we were paying tribute to. The reason Rob and Amber were part of our wedding is because they are our friends, number one, and number two because it tied into it. And that's why the colors were what they were and that's the reason why, you know, we played around a little bit at the reception, but we didn’t go overboard and make it an obsession.
miri: Phil didn't perform the ceremonies or anything.
Tribefan: I imagine that for your family and friends, you being on the Race was a very big deal.
Deana: It was a huge deal for them.
Ray: We're from Youngstown, Ohio. Nothing happens here very often. It was huge for our family and that makes me feel better than even how I feel about being on it, the fact that they come up and say, "I feel like a celebrity because everybody keeps asking me questions." I love that. And my kids go to school and are the big shots at school because their dad was on TV. That is what means a lot to me. Not being on TV, but being able to enjoy the fact that so many people who know us and are related to us are enjoying this so much.
miri: So your kids didn't roll their eyes and say, "Oh dad…"
Ray: No, they are the big shots at school and I just noticed now my sons are saying, "Dad will you come and be playground monitor?" – they want me to be at school now.
Tribefan: They want to show you off.
Ray: Yeah, exactly. It's really cool.
Tribefan: What's in the future for you guys – professionally or personally – do you have any big plans?
Deana: Not right now we don't. We don't have any real big plans.
Ray: Well, just normal life.
Deana: Yeah, just normal life – relax, go back to what we did, and just enjoy our marriage.
Ray: Well Deana is changing careers to, though – phlebotomy. Not lobotomy, phlebotomy!
Deana: So, I'm in the middle of that right now. So, it's been fun just to get back to normal life and....
Ray: I wouldn't call it normal yet.
Deana: Yeah, it's not normal. There are times I go out and people are staring at me and I don't realize..…I think to myself, “why are they staring at me” and I'm not thinking, "oh, it's because you were on the Race." I don't think of stuff like that.
Tribefan: So people still recognize you?
Deana: Oh, God, everywhere.
Ray: We went to Florida – to just get away for a little bit after the wedding – and I run on the beach every time we go down there. We have a house down there, and it's no big deal usually – I just go run on the beach. This time, I got stopped all the time, it just amazes me that that happens.
Tribefan: It's not so amazing that that happens in Youngstown, but in Florida….
Ray: In the airports too.
Deana: Oh yeah, it's funny. We were coming home from Florida and this girl was sitting across from us and she was reading the People magazine that our wedding picture was in. She'd look down, she'd look back up, she'd look down – she wouldn’t say anything, but she'd just give us a little smile. It's just funny – it's cute. We like that stuff. It's different.
Ray: It's fifteen minutes. We know it's not our birthright or entitlement to enjoy this and we honestly, truly appreciate everything associated with it. Being recognized, we realize, is a fleeting thing. One day we'll look back on it and think, “Wow, we were in People! We were in airports and people recognized us and we signed autographs.” And when it goes away, you tend to wish you had appreciated it more, and we're not going to let that happen – we are enjoying every ounce of it right now.
miri: Did ya'll enjoy TARcon?
Deana: We looooved TARcon. I had a great time.
Ray: I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn't. I felt like, we'd go there and there'd be a nice little turn-out and people, maybe, would talk to us a little bit. I did not expect the reception that we got coming up that escalator and the graciousness that people treated us with – especially me. And I didn't – because people are apprehensive sometimes, people think I'm that way in real life. I like talking about the Race. I don't mind it when people come up to talk to me and I like it that fact people gave me the benefit of the doubt and, you know, I thought it was great again that my mother and sister were there and were getting their pictures taken and they felt so important. And that's a great thing to be able to be responsible for.
miri: It makes you wish that everyone could be rock stars for one evening.
Ray: That's what it felt like. For one evening you are a rock star. You can see how it gets addictive. That's really something.
Tribefan: Steve from season 4 says he will never get over how he felt the night of their TARcon. He says it's something everyone should experience. It's such an overwhelming thing.
Deana: It's amazing. I couldn't believe it. I was, like, wow, this is for us!
Tribefan: And what we always tell people is that everyone is always welcome back. Just because your season is over doesn't mean people don't still want to see you. The Race fans who go to this party love seeing former racers, so if you are ever inclined – you are welcome back.
Deana: We definitely will go. We look forward to stuff like that.
Ray: And again, it's not to bask in the glory or something like that, it's to celebrate that we were involved in this and that it means so much to so many people – us included. It is just overwhelming.
miri: Plus, I think it's nice for the former racers to come and see all their old buddies.
Ray: I can't wait to get…it's like we are in a special fraternity now and I can't wait to get to know…and I already have, I've talked to several racers from past seasons and to just share experiences like that with them is a great thing.
Tribefan: It is a special fraternity and it's something the rest of us really can't completely comprehend.
Ray: I think you guys get it more than most people and that's a great thing too, and that's why we love doing this interview and talking to people like yourselves. It's almost like sharing the experience with people who appreciate it as much as the people who participated in it.
Tribefan: And you will see there's a community that has developed among the viewers and Racers.
Ray: And we can't wait to explore that community.
Tribefan: I'm so glad you guys are happy, and that the Race helped bring you together. Thanks!