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February 20, 2014

Cowboys return to ‘Amazing Race’

Ada — The Cowboys are back.

Brothers Jet and Cord McCoy of Tupelo return to prime-time television for season 24 of the reality series “The Amazing Race,” which airs at 7 p.m. Sundays on CBS. The All-Star Edition’s premier is this Sunday.

“We continually hear from fans that they want their favorites back, and we listened to them,” host Phil Keoghan said in a recent interview.

The brothers finished second last spring in season 16 of the reality program; they were knocked out of the competition after nine weeks during season 18. During the two spring seasons, the cowboys were recognized as fan favorites, which is why they were invited to be part of the All-Star Edition.

The McCoys are one of 11 teams to race around the world for the $1 million first-place prize. Along the way, they will face challenges through the various legs of the race. Typically, the first team to conclude a leg of the race earns a prize, while last team is subject to elimination. The team that completes the final leg of the race first will be crowned champion.

The Cowboys join The Globetrotters, Herb “Flight Time” Lang and Nate “Big Easy” Lofton, and the mother-son tandem of Margie O’Donnell and Luke Adams as three-time racers — each team also was part of Season 18, “Unfinished Business.”

“When they called, they asked if my brother was with me, and it just so happened that me and Jet were gathering cattle together that day,” said Cord, 33, a five-time International Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association champion who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals before retiring from competitive rodeo last year.

“We almost fell off our horses. It was flattering to say that of the 23 seasons of ‘The Amazing Race,’ and for them to call two little old cowboys to ask if we’d do it again, it was an honor.”

The brothers, born just 13 months apart, grew up together on the family’s ranch. While competing on the rodeo circuit, they were traveling partners and each other’s greatest competition. Jet, 34, also owns five IPRA titles. He ranches with his wife, Ashlee, and their 6-year-old daughter, Ti Silver.

“I was a little hesitant to start with, because it’s a big sacrifice to take off and be gone about a month,” Jet said. “But I don’t know how many chances at a million dollars you get, so it wasn’t too much of a though to go ahead and do it.

“We were very hungry to try to do well this time since we felt like we left something on the table the last time we were on the show.”

After such a successful run in their inaugural race around the world, the McCoys were a little disappointed at their Week 9 exit during Season 18.

“I think me and Cord are both competitors, so it’s a matter of going out and proving it,” Jet said.

They intend to prove it the McCoy way, which means focusing on their own race and not concerning themselves with the gamesmanship that can come with reality shows like “The Amazing Race.”

“Jet and I are pretty good about not worrying about what everybody else is doing,” said Cord, who lives near Tupelo with his wife, Sara. “We’ve got enough stuff on our plate already to worry about whether another team is going to roadblock you or give you the wrong information.

“When we start each leg of the race, if we don’t make mistakes and can go as fast as we can, I think we’ll be OK. It’s a thinking game, and you’ve got to think your way through it. If you do that, we may not win first, but it’s not because of worrying about others. We’ve just got to run our own race.”

Each challenge requires a new set of tools, but the McCoys utilize a back-to-basics approach.“Most of the stuff you have to work through on the race, me and Cord’s already worked that out,” Jet said, referring to the siblings’ level of communication and trust. “We don’t have to stop and visit about much at all, because we normally know what the other one’s thinking. I think it’s a big advantage, just the two of us being that close.”

Now The Cowboys will spend time with family as they watch Season 24 of “The Amazing Race.”

“The most fun about the first two races we did was come home and sit down and watch the race with your family and friends,” Cord said.

His brother agrees.

“That’s what makes it fun, really, is getting to spend that time with my family and friends,” Jet said.

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