You have to know that you're a much-loved Amazing Race team when a show on a competing network hooks you up with lavish gifts. That's exactly what happened to Kentucky coalminer David Conley and his wife, Mary, this Tuesday when the CBS reality show cast-offs visited ABC's The View. "I can't even tell you how much I love them," Rosie O'Donnell told the studio audience before showering the couple with a new computer, a car, three family vacations and a house, among other things. TVGuide.com talked to Team Kentucky before their visit to that giftathon, er, The View. Here's what they had to say.
TVGuide.com: You two just might be the most popular team this season. Why do you think America loves you?
Mary: Because they never have just normal people on [The Amazing Race], ya know?
David: It's always actors and models and beauty queens — people who've got nice jobs. A lot of the audience is just normal people like us. That's why America likes us.
TVGuide.com: Mary, in the last episode you said The Amazing Race changed the way you want to raise your children. What are you doing differently?
Mary: On Labor Day we took the kids to Alabama to visit the ‘Bama girls. Cody, our oldest son — he's 10; Davy [just turned] 6 on Wednesday; and Hannah, she's going to be 7 Monday, the 13th. We'd never taken them anywhere, really. And then we gave them a choice of this summer coming up, of all the friends that we have now around the United States, "Where do you want to go?" They want to come to New York.
TVGuide.com: So you're going to do sort of an Amazing Race tour and visit team after team?
Mary: Yeah, that's what we want to do. We'll visit Tom and Terry in New York.
TVGuide.com: David, how did you manage to get time off from the mine to do The Amazing Race?
David: Well, I just told them I signed up for a reality show, and I really wanted the time off. They didn't act like it was really a big deal or nothin'. And I reckon they're happy they gave me the time off.
TVGuide.com: Why? Did they have viewing parties for you each week?
Mary: No, we've been mostly keeping it to us and the kids and [David's] daddy. You don't know what they're going to show on TV, and I don't want other people to see me crying. We're very emotional people. It's just every week after every week reminds me of when I was on The Race.
TVGuide.com: Which episodes made you cry?
Mary: Kuwait, with the Chos. And the last night was horrible for us. My kids really thought we won a million dollars, and that was the first time that they'd know that we didn't win.
TVGuide.com: Why'd they think you won?
David: Because they'd ask us all the time, "Mom and Daddy, did you win?" And we were like, "Honey, we can't tell you." But because we didn't tell them that we did not win the million, I reckon in their little hearts they thought since we were still on TV, we won.
Mary: We had to be here in New York. But I wanted to be there with them, because I know that their little hearts were broken.
David: She cried herself to sleep.
TVGuide.com: On to a happier subject: You won a trip to Jamaica during the Kuwait leg. When will you take it?
David: We gave it away to my dad because we was gone so long and he watched the kids.
TVGuide.com: You're too kind. What was your favorite part of The Race?
Mary: I'll tell you it wasn't climbing the Great Wall of China, because I didn't want to be there. Oh, lord have mercy, no! I did not like that all. The hardest thing I've ever done in my life is climb that Great Wall of China.
David: I really loved, loved being in Vietnam. Especially the second leg.
TVGuide.com: Isn't that the leg where you had to pull the oyster baskets? Why was that one of your favorites, when deep water is one of your biggest fears?
David: Because I got to conquer that fear, and then just being in Vietnam woke me up to the fact that I was on a race. I hadn't ever rowed a boat or been out in the ocean.... And for me, it changed my life. I would want to put a kid in a boat now.
TVGuide.com: What'd you think of swimming across the bay in Mauritius?
David: I didn't like that...
Mary: Because, honestly, we just don't know how to swim.
David: We go to swimming pools, but we'd never been in the ocean, really. That was difficult. I didn't know it was that hard to swim with a life jacket on. And it seemed like the boat was just getting farther and farther away, like we couldn't ever get to it. Then they tell us, "Turn around and swim back!"
TVGuide.com: How did you feel when you found the Cho brothers waiting for you.
Mary: That was so sweet. You know that's not the first time they did that. In Mongolia, we were following them, and they stopped traffic because we'd gotten lost. We're going, "Just keep looking for the Chos," and the next thing we know, there's Erwin standing in the middle of the highway waving his hands.
TVGuide.com: So did the six-pack alliance start with the Chos?
Mary: It was a little bit of both of us. When I talked to the producers, I told them, "We can't win this game without an alliance."
TVGuide.com: What did you think when you came in last place the second time, then found out you weren't eliminated again?
David: That was kind of...
Mary: Shocking. We honestly thought we were gone.
TVGuide.com: Did other teams treat you differently, like you'd been favored?
David: A few did.
Mary: Yeah. The first one, quite a few did. But the second one just made it worse. They were ready to "get rid of Kentucky."
TVGuide.com: They said that to you?
Mary: No, we could just tell. During the race it was so much of a division between [the Models, the Beauty Queens, Rob and Kimberly] and us. They didn't want anything to do with us, and obviously, we didn't want anything to do with them. And so, they would have their own talks, and you could hear them talking.
David: Watching at home, you probably think on airplanes we're getting sleep, but you're trying to get your locals to write down what you need in their language. You've also got one eye open and one eye shut, because other teams are making alliances. They never liked us from the beginning. We just knew it.
TVGuide.com: When you hurt your ankle in Mongolia, did you go to a doctor there?
Mary: No, actually, I didn't see a doctor until the second leg in Vietnam. My ankle was as big as my thigh at that point.
TVGuide.com: What was that like?
Mary: Wow. A group of five doctors and nurses came in. They were scaring me to death. They did an EKG on me like they figured everything in the world was wrong with me. I kept telling them, it's not my heart. It's my ankle. But they said it was badly sprained.
TVGuide.com: Towards the end, you looked slimmer. How much did you lose?
Mary: Honestly, I don't know. I don't ever weigh myself, but I can tell you my clothes were falling off me. It's the most [exercise] I had ever done in my whole life, and I wasn't eating at all. We were afraid to spend our money because you don't know when you've got to get a cab ride. At the pit stop they mostly had seafood. I think they figured everybody loves seafood. And I don't.
David: And if you were in China you eat the Chinese food. They had a lot of seafood, but they had the noodles and the soy sauce, and we'd never eaten stuff like that. We still don't like that.
TVGuide.com: Where'd you have the best food?
David: Kuwait. It was almost American.
Mary: We went to Burger King, that's why he's saying that.
TVGuide.com: How'd you even find a Burger King in Kuwait?
Mary: We were in the airport for a long, long time, because it's when we got first place. We got to beg for money, and it was so fun. These people didn't mind [giving] their money away, and the first thing on his mind was Burger King.
TVGuide.com: Odd question: Now that you're back and life's changing, what are your New Year's resolutions?
Mary: My New Year's resolution, and this time I really mean it, is I'm going to lose weight.
David: My New Year's resolution is to quit smoking. I quit smoking before I went on The Race, but since I've gotten back, I might smoke 10 a day.
TVGuide.com: So you were going through nicotine withdrawal on The Race?
David: Oh, no. Forget cigarettes. The thing that got me was no Mountain Dew. I drink probably 12 cans a day.
Mary: At least. Of the regular kind, and not diet.
David: Yeah, well. I like it, and I need my caffeine. But that was the hard thing for me. The Cho brothers made fun of me because everywhere we went I was looking for my Mountain Dew. Why doesn't any country have Mountain Dew?
Mary: Because they probably know it isn't good for you.
TVGuide.com: Have you heard from Steven Seagal yet?
Mary: No! [Laughs] I would freak out if I did, actually. We've got all his movies. We watch them all the time.
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