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Fans hot on the heels of Amazing Race teams

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Amazing Race has migrated north; fans are scoping out tell-tale yellow and red route markers, such as this one in Regina.

COREY WALDNER / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Amazing Race has migrated north; fans are scoping out tell-tale yellow and red route markers, such as this one in Regina.

TORONTO -- Amazing Race Canada doesn't premi®re until July 15 but some of the reality series' fans already know all kinds of top-secret details about the show, including the identity of its host, some of the contestants, and where they've been racing across the country.

There are hundreds of posts and more than 23,000 views for a thread at the Reality Fan Forum (http://bit.ly/131gFnT), which has crowdsourced a play-by-play of the reality competition in near real-time, based on sightings of the show's production that criss-crossed the country.

The reports started trickling in about a month ago as the teams were first spotted in Niagara Falls, Ont., and it didn't take long for Twitter to be flooded with tweets and photos of the filming.

Some of the more devoted fans made it their mission to scour social media channels for any references to the race and aggregate them on the forum. They even cross-referenced those sightings against flight schedules to try to predict where teams would head next.

Among the web sleuths is Corey Waldner, who decided to seek out the show's production in Regina after hearing about a call for extras at Mosaic Stadium.

"I'm a two-hour drive away, I had that day off, so I decided I was going to go check it out," said Waldner, who had applied to be a competitor on the reality show.

"It was exciting. For me it wasn't just about seeing the racers, it was seeing the background, seeing how the production crew actually puts something like this together."

He sat in the stadium as the show's host led some of the teams through a competition, but he also tailed one of the duos after spotting them at the airport. He was surprised how easy it was to tag along with the racers.

"They had vehicles parked at the airport, and big flags out, so everybody knew what was happening, and I parked right beside those cars and just stood nonchalantly watching. And as soon as the last team started to leave the airport I just hopped in my car and started following along," he said, noting that team didn't speed excessively or zig zag in traffic to catch up to the other teams.

"They were signalling, which I was quite pleased to see. That probably tipped them off that they weren't from Saskatchewan, because we don't tend to signal. They were pretty easy to follow until I got caught at a red light and they didn't."

In downtown Quebec City, Erik Bolduc also thought it'd be fun to follow one of the teams when he stumbled upon the show's production crew, who claimed they were actually shooting a travel series called Marathon.

"I came across a team of two guys with backpacks and they were with a sound guy and cameraman, so I knew right away it was the Amazing Race and I decided to follow them," said Bolduc, who tracked the team to the historic Plains of Abraham, where a competition was staged.

"I would've followed them on to the end of the leg but I couldn't since I was with my baby, but it was very exciting to be there and to follow them a while."

Bolduc posted a couple of videos online that were found by members of the Reality Fan Forum, who tried to convince him to look for the teams the following day at a local airport.

"There are people a lot more motivated than I am," he said, noting he turned down the request at first.

"But I'm kind of crazy too, because the next morning ... I was crazy enough to go to the airport and see if they were there."

CTV declined to talk about the fans tracking the show's progress. But in a recent interview with the show's executive producer, John Brunton, he said he wasn't overly concerned about spoilers getting out online. While many secrets have been revealed, he's convinced the winners won't be known until the final broadcast.

"When you get to the mat with (the host) and the teams meet after certain legs of the race, generally we're in a pretty remote place, we're in a pretty privately controlled place. So the results of who comes in and when, we think we can protect," Brunton said.

"We're thinking about it but I'm not obsessing about it ... If they talk about you, it doesn't matter if it's good or bad, it's good for the show. So we hope social media goes insane with the program and gets all tied up in knots about it. "

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2013 D5

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