This week on The Amazing Race, friends William “Bopper” Minton and Mark Jackson of Kentucky were eliminated after surviving the sweltering heat in India.
Although Bopper and Mark gave it their best shot this week on The Amazing Race, the two Kentucky friends couldn’t make up time on the rest of the pack. Only a week earlier on The Amazing Race, Bopper and Mark hit the mat in last place for a non-elimination leg that nearly knocked the guys out of competition under the sun in India.
When Mark was forced to replicate an Indian dance in the blistering heat last week, Bopper watched as his friend suffered from heat exhaustion. Despite the setback, Mark finished the task and the two friends continued their journey on The Amazing Race. This week, however, Bopper and Mark made up huge ground on the other teams but were ultimately eliminated from The Amazing Race after a stellar comeback.
The following day, The Deadbolt caught up with Bopper and Mark to learn more about their time in India, how they braved the heat, why they decided to stick it out, and how The Amazing Race gave them a new appreciation of what’s important.
THE DEADBOLT: How glad were you guys to finish the race?
WILLIAM BOPPER MINTON: We were tickled pink to finish the race. I’ll tell you what: we had the honor of circling the globe. But the best thing was the two miles to Manchester, Kentucky, before you get into Manchester. That sign was the most beautiful sign I’ve ever seen in my life.
MARK JACKSON: Me too! That’s where I live and that sign let me know my kids were only a few miles away.
THE DEADBOLT: So, Mark, what happened between Africa and India? Was it just the difference in the heat?
MARK: Well, the heat and the smell. Let me tell you, man, the smell isn’t that good in India. You know how you stick your head out the window to get fresh air? You didn’t do that in India. You stick your head in your shirt if you want fresh air. You saw how I got sick all of the time, that just made it worse with all of the heat. It was 120 degrees in the shade. You blow into your hand and hope it comes back into your face. It was just brutal.
Bopper was going to do the task but his knee was blown out. He couldn’t do the dance so it took me to do it. I was already only about 60 percent. And at 60 percent, I went down quick.
THE DEADBOLT: Bopper, during the dance task, how long did it take to realize Mark was in trouble?
BOPPER: Well, he was pretty tough. It was about an hour and a half in the heat. It got to a point where he tried the dance several times and I was trying to get him to focus on me. I tried to smile at him and let him know I was there for him. But it got to a point that he couldn’t even focus on looking at me, so I knew that he was getting hot and he was done.
We want everyone to know that we wouldn’t quit on the race. I was concerned for my buddy’s health. He was that hot. I went and told Mark, I said, “Look, man, you’ve got nothing else to give these people. Let’s take the penalty and hope for the best. I’d rather you walk back to Kentucky instead of me taking you home in a body bag.” It was that bad and he got that hot.
THE DEADBOLT: There were a couple of times you could have quit. How tough was the decision to stay in the race?
MARK: It wasn’t tough at all! When you’ve got kids that you’re there for, and that’s the only reason you’re there, quitting is not an option. There’s no option in it. We would never have the chance to do this again to change our family’s lives, so there was no way we could quit.
THE DEADBOLT: In the end, how far behind the rest of the teams were you?
BOPPER: I’m guessing probably anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour maybe. It’s hard to tell.
MARK: When we started, we were three hours behind them. Whenever we got finished, I would say we were probably 30 to 40 minutes behind them.
THE DEADBOLT: How did the race change your perspective of what’s important in life?
MARK: It made me realize what is important in life – and what everyone in America should realize – that family is the most important thing in life. No amount of money in this world is worth your family. That’s just the bottom line. There’s no price that you could put on your family. If you love them enough, you’re going to be there for them.
BOPPER: I feel the same way. The most important thing was our families. That’s the bottom line.
THE DEADBOLT: Bopper, how did you feel when Art and J.J. gave you their prize money after coming in first earlier in the race?
BOPPER: That was truly from the heart of those guys. They’re big-hearted guys. Honestly, I don’t think they’re the type of guys that everyone’s making them to be. That was heart-touching for me. They know why I was there. I was there to try and win the money so I could relocate my child to a cleaner and healthier environment because she has so many respiratory problems. They knew that and it was out of their hearts to want to help my child. I still think highly of them for that.
THE DEADBOLT: Was there anything on the race that you wish we saw that wasn’t aired on TV?
BOPPER: No, not really. What you saw on TV, that’s how it was.
THE DEADBOLT: Well, at least you got free haircuts out of the deal.
BOPPER: Exactly right, bro!
MARK: I didn’t get one [hair was already shaved]. I should’ve gotten him to shave me. I just let him pretend he was cutting. But it was worth every bit of it to look at my buddy’s big moon dog!