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Road warrior

Amazing Race host explores Canada on the show and on his own

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Jon Montgomery is taking part in his own Amazing Race Canada this summer.

The host of the popular CTV game show, which broadcast its third show of its second season on Tuesday night, is driving an RV across the country during his summer vacation.

A jaunt on the Trans-Canada Highway in a 9.6-metre-long recreational vehicle might pale in comparison with the televised hijinks of Amazing Race contestants. This week's episode, for example, the show flew Montgomery and the racers to Hong Kong for an episode, the series' first sojourn outside the Great White North.

"That might be the perception, but it'd be not entirely accurate," says Montgomery, who's crossing the country on behalf of Go RVing Canada. The former skeleton racer from Russell started in Winnipeg and attended the second night of the Winnipeg Folk Festival before making his way west to Clear Lake for a reunion with his bantam hockey team. He then headed to Calgary, and eventually, Vancouver Island.

"It's like exploring in our own backyard," he says of the Manitoba portion of the trip.

He's been pleased with the vacation, just as he's been with the opening episodes of Amazing Race.

"I think it's fantastic, in the way the show has opened," he says. "It's only going to get better.

"When I do see myself onscreen, I'm pleased with what I'm seeing. It's exciting being an active part of the show," he says.

After three episodes, the gold medallist hockey-playing duo of Meaghan Mikkelsen and Natalie Spooner remain the team to beat. They've been the top team in each of the first three episodes.

"I'm not surprised," Montgomery, himself a gold medallist at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. "They're showing the characteristics that got them the gold medals.

"If there's a word that Amazing Race Canada is all about, it's 'clutch." If you look that word up in the dictionary, you might see their pictures there," he says.

The Winnipeg duo, Nicole and Cormac Foster, finished in second on Tuesday night, conquering a martial arts challenge. They theorized they could do better in the challenge if they shouted a lot.

"The yelling helped," Nicole concluded.

"Yes, it did," replied her son.

The Winnipeggers still have a ways to go to match last year's winners, Winnipeg's Tim Hague Sr. and Tim Hague Jr., but they certainly don't lack in energy, Montgomery said.

"Cormac came into this, he was his mom's boy, under her wing," Montgomery recalls, saying the energetic tandem is benefiting from his growing independence.

"They're strong competitors."

The third team eliminated was Toronto married duo Laura Takahashi and Jackie Skinner. Nine teams remain in the competition.

-- with files from The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2014 C15

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