The Kentucky hybrid team of Mark Jackson and Mallory Ervin participated on the The Amazing Race All-Stars after it was determined that Mark’s original partner (Bopper Minton) would not be able to participate because of a medical condition. As the only team to have never raced together before on the show, the odd couple definitely defined the term as they feuded over going back for a lost backpack that ultimately cost them their lead and resulted in their exit from the show in China.
I caught up with Mark & Mallory to discuss what happened.
Murtz Jaffer: Are you guys ready to rock?
Mallory Ervin: We are ready to rock!
MJ: Alright, let’s get started! Mark when you were at the hospital and found out that Bopper wouldn’t be able to race the next day, did you have any idea that Mallory would be picked as your partner?
Mark Jackson: No not when we first found out… no I did not.
MJ: And did it surprise that you that they would pick Mallory?
MJ: Well it wasn’t really a surprise. I knew that they would pick somebody from Kentucky but I didn’t know exactly who it would be. Mallory was a good choice.
ME: Thank you Mark (Laughs).
MJ: Mallory was there an added degree of pressure on you to perform knowing that you were representing Bopper?
ME: Definitely. I kind of had an idea that I was going to replace Mark or Bopper because of the Kentucky connection. We had all met previously when we did a commercial in New York. I just knew that they were good guys and Bopper’s stry kinda broke my heart. There were four kinds of pressure. I felt like I was racing for Mark. I felt like I was racing for my dad. I felt like I was racing for Bopper. I was racing for Kentucky. So yeah. Definitely.
MJ: Mark are there advantages and disadvantages in having a new partner? It is a disadvantage because you don’t know what your partner is like but I feel like it might be an advantage too (because the other team had no idea that you guys would pair up and couldn’t prepare accordingly)?
MJ: I didn’t really consider it to be an advantage because we didn’t know each other and just like how the other teams couldn’t prepare, we couldn’t really prepare!
ME: Strategy was just not in the cards for us. We were just trying to figure out how we were going to make it through. So I think from the very beginning, the other teams saw that we didn’t really have an advantage. We actually had a huge disadvantage but of course we wanted to race for Bopper and race because we both wanted to. We were ready to take the good with the bad.
MJ: Yeah and Mallory I am sure you are sick of answering questions about the backpack but can you take me back to that moment? How frustrating was it for you that Mark wanted to go back and do you feel like the backpack was the only reason you were eliminated?
ME: Well that is one of the disadvantages of racing with someone that you don’t know. You don’t really know what your co-operative strategy is. The toughest thing about that was that Mark and I hadn’t been able to talk about what we would do if that kind of situation were to come up. Not knowing those kinds of things about each other threw us off . Add the fact that we were standing in the middle of traffic trying to find someone who would speak English and just kind of got crazy. Of course, it is completely devastating when something like that happens. It was a tough decision but we were on the same team and you aren’t going to go forward without your teammate.
MJ: So Mark I understand that the reason you wanted to go back for the backpack was because you had borrowed it and that it also had your glasses in it. Whose backpack was it and why was returning it so important to you?
MJ: The main reason that I wanted to go back for it was that it had everything that I had in there. The show is stressful enough, especially when you have to run around knowing that you don’t have anything. Mallory is right. Big Easy and Flight Time probably would have given us some clothes but the way that I was looking at it was that if we got somewhere where it was cold or something, ain’t nobody got three or four extra coats in their bag. They just don’t. They got one coat in there and that’s all they got. I needed it back. It was just a comfort thing. It’s a country thing. The backpack actually belonged to Rachel and Dave who won our original season of The Amazing Race.
MJ: Yes I totally remember them from our finale party! So they gave you their backpack from when they won the Race?
MJ: Yeah that is why me and Bopper asked them to use their backpack because we thought it would give us luck and we thought it could get us to a million dollars too!
MJ: Yeah and now it makes sense because obviously you couldn’t lose their backpack if they won with it.
MJ: Exactly. It was very sentimental to ‘em and it was a souvenir that I just had to return. I borrowed it so I was going to return it. Don’t get me wrong Murtz. it was one of the toughest decisions that I had to make because I could see how bad it was getting to Mallory but then she realized how bad it was getting to me so she went with me. I don’t think that it was the reason we got eliminated. I think it just brought us down to a point where we could get eliminated but I don’t think that was the reason we got cut. It knocked us out of first place and cost the $2500, and man, we would have sure loved to have that.
MJ: Mallory was there any part of you that felt that you had to do what Mark wanted because you were brought in to replace Bopper?
ME: You know maybe a little bit but I feel like I respected Mark’s opinion and if he thought he needed his backpack that bad… I mean he saw how upset I was about it. It threw us all off. I mean we didn’t even really have time to talk about it. We were just yelling in the streets trying to decide. I mean, yeah, there was a lot of pressure because of the way that we came in as a team. The Amazing Race has never done anything like that and who knows if they will do it again. You do feel like that a little bit, yeah. Sorry if I went around the question a thousand times.
MJ: It is all good. I get it. Mark did you ever think about potentially asking the cowboys for the second express park like the country singers did, or did you not see them after you built the car?
MJ: We never had the chance! We built the car and we were the first ones out of there. If we had known that we would be in the shape that we were in, yeah, we definitely would have asked them! We were in good shape. I think Mallory agrees with me, but I think they would have given us the express pass no matter what.
ME: I think they would have too.
MJ: That was a good strategy by them as they had to give it to somebody and by giving it to the country singers, they knew they would use it and that wouldn’t let anyone else use it. That gave them a huge advantage for the rest of the Race because then they were the only ones who had one.
MJ: Mallory, you raced with your dad and now you raced with Mark. Is there any part of you that perhaps wants to race with somebody younger as that might give you an edge that you haven’t had before?
MJ: Are you trying to say I am old Murtz?!
MJ: I ask the tough questions Mark!
ME: Get him Mark! Get him! Oh my gosh, no. I think honestly that my dad and Mark’s generation… Mark is a lot younger than my dad but I need that to balance me up. I might be faster in running everywhere (which is such an advantage on the Race) sometimes but sometimes you need that grounded force and I feel like my dad and Mark have that with all of the tools that they brought. The way they race is just kind of a straightforward way and that is something that I need definitely. So I am going to say I would definitely rather race with someone older…
MJ: With old guys!
ME: With old guys! I like old guys!
MJ: And finally for you Mark what did Bopper think about how you guys did and was he proud of you?
MJ: Yeah, I think Bopper was proud of me. But you could still see the hurt in his eyes when I came home. He asked questions, and I really couldn’t tell him much. I think that’s what really bothered him.
MJ: And Mallory; what is next for you?
ME: I would love to go around for a forth time. Me and Mark and Bopper and my dad would all love to go! Could you put a good word in for us?
MJ: Yeah, Bopper could race with your dad next time! Mark what is next for you?
MJ: What is next for me is raising these kids and living life to the fullest…
MJ: Well guys, hopefully our paths will cross again. Maybe at the finale or something. Thank you so much!
ME: Bye; thank you very much.
MJ: Thanks man.
Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, The Amazing Race