Some of you have already read Wayne's reviews of the teams but I figure I should put my own spin on things so, now that they've announced the first seven teams, it's time to get to it . . . in no particular order.
That said, let's get started with what I'm sure is going to be one of Wayne's favourite teams starting off, Joel Ground (42) and his daughter Ashley Callingbull (26), the reigning Mrs. Universe. This father/daughter team are proud members of the Enoch Cree Nation just outside of Edmonton and close enough to hang out with Wayne and I at the Druid for one of our video recaps. They're also the first race team to identify as First Nation. Joel's background as a mechanic should ensure we have no oil change mishaps during the race but his fear of heights will definitely get a few challenges, while Ashley's background in pageantry, motivational speaking, and acting could make her a triple threat with a target already on her back and her fear of bugs isn't going to help. Their Team Motto is “Team A & J – all the way! If you’re not first, you’re last!” and though that's not entirely true it's one they may want to keep up with.
The second team to review is Anthony Limbombe (21) and Brandon Campeau (21), both from Windsor, Ontario. These best friends are both servers in a restaurant and Anthony is also a nursing student who, for some weird reason, has a fear of feet. Brandon's fears are a little more normal since he's afraid of heights and spiders and I can pretty much guarantee that he'll encounter at least one of those fears this season. Their Team Motto is "BumpNGrind" and I have no idea why but I'm sure we'll find out.
The third team is Steph Eclair (27) and Kristen McKenzie (25), a dating couple from Toronto where Steph works as a lawyer and Kristen is and Account Executive. They're both former varsity softball athletes and highly competitive but with Steph's fear of sharks and Kristen's fear of snakes that competitiveness may be tested. Their Team Motto is "She's always right" and I guess that works for both of them.
Our fourth team is Rita Yakibonge (23) an Account Representative and her twin sister Yvette Yakibonge (23, duh) who's a Service Canada Agent. These girls were born in Montreal but had the good fortune to move to Edmonton (just kidding). Rita is afraid of heights, which she will definitely encounter this season, while Yvette is afraid of large bodies of water. How large? are we talking like huge puddles, lakes, or oceans? I guess we'll find out. They have four other sisters so you know these girls are going to be competitive and their ability to speak French will be an asset. Their Team Motto is "Slay!" which isn't exactly a motto, more of an attitude, but whatever works.
Team number five is the father and son team of Stéphane Tétreault (51) and Antoine Tétreault (25) from Montreal and I wouldn't be surprised to see some form of an alliance with the twins. Dad is an entrepreneur who is afraid of heights, while his son is a business financial analyst who is afraid of snakes. Okay, I'm calling it, there will definitely be some height related and snake related challenges this season, probably a lot of them with this many racers having those fears. Oddly enough, Antoine is the more mature of the two but this doesn't surprise Wayne and I as entrepreneurs tend to have a few quirks. Their Team Motto is “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!” which is exactly what they've done by entering the race . . . but this is going to be an entirely different kind of heat.
On to team number six, the married couple of Julie Taylor (33), a speech and language pathologist and her husband Lowell Taylor (34), a registered psychologist from Lethbridge, Alberta. That's three teams from Alberta and still no Team Gord & Wayne. Julie's fear of snakes is right in line with many of the other racers but I can relate to Lowell's fear of not being able to help his wife and kids due to his disability because I used to have an issue that would lay me out for 48 hours at a time with very little warning and it got to a point that I was afraid to go anywhere alone with my kids when they were a lot younger. Lowell's disability is Retinitis Pigmentosa which basically means he has no peripheral vision, minimal night vision and is legally blind. They'll be an interesting team to watch and I hope they do well as this will be great training for Lowell who hopes to compete in the Paralympic Games. Their Team Motto is “Racing with heart…not sight” and it's a good one to adhere to.
Our last team to review (until they release more teams) are the Supermoms, Anne Morrone (40) and Tanya Muzzatti (40) from Toronto who have been best friends for 35 years and are both single moms. So who's minding the kids? Yeah, it would take a dad to asks that question. Anne is afraid of spiders and snakes while Tanya is afraid of heights, and I guess we should look forward to at least one spider challenge as well this season. I have one more question, why would anyone wear leather workout pants? That is definitely coming up during an interview. Their Team Motto is “Fearless, fabulous, gonna win it!” and they might, but they're already up against some tough competition and there's more to come.
So that's it for now, . . . three teams from Alberta, three teams from Ontario, and another team from Quebec. It's looking like an east versus west showdown but I'm sure they'll round out the rest of the country with the final team announcements. I'm leaning heavily towards the father/daughter team because I always love travelling with my daughter and enjoy watching that dynamic, while the father/son team is looking good on paper. two teams of best friends, a married couple, a dating couple and twin sisters. Yep, it's gonna be a fun season.
I'll be back soon with a review of the final teams once they're released and next week we may have another surprise in store for you here at Gord & Wayne HQ. It's so hush hush that I'm not even sure what's going on. See you real soon.