Father and son Gary and Matt Tomljenovich might have made the final four of The Amazing Race if not for a Speed Bump and getting tripped up by vocabulary. (Note to Matt: a "candelabra" is not an Estonian man downing beer). The partners, ages 47 and 22, say they were actually better than they looked on TV. "They made it seem like we took a while at the Roadblock, but we didn't," Gary tells TVGuide.com. "Once he figured out what a candelabra was, we got out of there pretty quick. We actually made up time when we got to the mat." By how much did they miss a semifinal spot? Find out below — and see what team they worked alongside.
TVGuide.com: The way the episode was edited, it seemed like you reached the Detour just as Brian and Ericka finished the slingshot. Did you see them?
Matt: We didn't see them. They had just [checked in] when we showed up. They said we were seven minutes behind the last team. ... We knew we were last going into the Roadblock. We weren't sure we were last [at the end], but we had a good feeling, like unless someone got really lost, we were out.
Gary: We did the slingshot pretty quickly. It wasn't hard at all. We probably would've beaten them if we made up the seven minutes somehow or if there had been a less athletic team playing volleyball.
Matt: It was three or four blocks. Then you have to strip down, sit in there and they close the door and you had to sit there 10 minutes. Then you had to get dressed again and then you had to run back. All in all, it took us about 20 minutes or so to do.Gary: It was difficult when we got to the Roadblock because without other teams to follow or to get a lead from or to see what they're doing, we were on our own for that one.Matt: When you run in there, you see a line of whatever it is you're supposed to grab, but when I ran in there, there was only one candelabra sitting in the middle of the table, so I didn't really know what I was looking for.TVGuide.com: You also didn't light the paper completely and missed the word "gardens." Did that slow you down when you went to the tower?
Gary: A little because we ran to the tower at first and ran by the clue box. We ran by it twice actually. We [tried to go up] the tower and they were like, "No, no entry." So we were like, "Oh, that's wrong." At the time, there were a bunch of Japanese tourists standing around it, taking pictures of [the clue box] because they had seen the other teams come through and then we finally noticed it. Actually, I think somebody pointed it out to us!TVGuide.com: Did you think the previous leg as was a non-elimination leg? You were due one in the Race and it's kind of sadistic to eliminate someone after the haybale challenge.
Gary: [Laughs] But they did it before, so that's in the back of your mind. I remembered that, but you sit there and think, "We haven't had [a non-elimination leg] for a long period of time." When you get to the mat, you're just hoping you're not eliminated. Actually, at that point, elimination might've felt good! It was a tough challenge, very, very challenge. That's the hardest part, I think, to accept on the Race as you're racing — the chance, the luck portion of it. To roll bale after bale after bale after bale... [Laughs]
Matt: Yeah, the thing about the Globetrotters is that they had a bull's eye on their back from the beginning. They're professional athletes that travel worldly on a daily basis. Everyone was pretty much scared about that team.Gary: I think they were underestimating us. We started off pretty well and won the second leg, so that kind of opened people's eyes a little bit that these guys are at least competitors. It's not all fitness and athleticism when it comes to this Race, which is the neat part about it. Anybody can win this thing and we truly believed that. Run it again, we could have different results. We don't feel like we lost. TVGuide.com: The brothers also had an alliance or worked with another team for practically every leg. You guys were always very efficient on your own and finished the tasks. Did you have any alliances that we didn't see?
Matt: We worked with Brian and Ericka. They didn't show it, but in Cambodia, our tuk-tuks rode alongside [each other] to many of the places. When it comes down to it, we all got along pretty well, but when we're racing, we all pretty much just raced. We did our own thing and it worked so far. ... Also, when you're racing, you really don't see the other people working together, especially when you're not doing the same tasks as them. It's tough to really judge the Race that way when you're in it.
Amazing Race's Lance and Keri did decapitate a snowman
TVGuide.com: It was cool during the bell task when Sam and Meghan worked together and you passed them.
Matt: [Laughs] Well, I read the additional information [sheet] pretty fast because I knew I had to make up some time and I thought it said, "You cannot work with other teams." But it said "You can..." and I just read it wrong in my hurry. At that point, I wasn't talking to anyone and just ran up there and ran down. And it worked!
TVGuide.com: I have to give you props for being one of the three teams to identify Jackie Kennedy.
Matt: [Laughs] In defense of the other teams, the picture was small and grainy, but we did get it right!