Our 'amazing' hometown

Jennifer Freeman
From left, Kevin Gall and Pattie Vanlandingham of Washington and Dee Lott of Eureka jump in excitement at Gracie’s Chicago Style Grill after winning the Washington Park District’s Amazing Race Saturday night.

Pattie Vanlandingham and Kevin Gall of Washington and Dee Lott of Eureka claimed victory Saturday night at the Washington Park District’s second annual Amazing Race.

Arriving at Gracie’s Chicago Style Grill at 6:52 p.m., the team went on to complete nine challenges at nine locations in just one hour and 42 minutes.

Washington’s Amazing Race is modeled on the CBS hit show in which teams travel around the world completing challenges and deciphering clues to determine their next destination.

Kristy Howell is the Washington Park District’s recreation manager and the creator of Washington’s Amazing Race.

“I spent months thinking up challenges and days double checking my spread sheet to make sure every team’s clues were in order,” Howell said.

The challenges sent the 14 teams of three or four people to several different Washington businesses and Washington landmarks.

Among other challenges, participants ironed their names on the back of T-shirts at Team Works and collected and cleaned golf balls from the driving range at Hillcrest Golf Course.

At Double D Diner, teams had to choose one participant to eat a special dish from the cook.

“The hardest challenge was eating the Saltine (crackers). There were a ton of them in a big bowl,” said Vanlandingham, of the winning team.

Adam Kipp of another team was chosen to eat three hard-boiled eggs at the diner. He shook his head in disgust and requested barbecue sauce to help them go down.

At another table, Kevin Spahn was working on a basket full of extra hot wings.

At Lori’s Kitchen Store on the square, teams had to follow a recipe and assemble a dessert.

“The recipe was actually the most dangerous challenge,” said Lott, of the winning team, showing a small cut on her knuckle. “We had to chop apples, and I cut my finger.”

At the beginning of the race, Howell explained how important it was to take their own team’s color-coded clue.

“Every team has their own path. If you take another team’s clue, you will be off track to get to the final destination and so will the other team whose clue you took,” Howell said.

One team demonstrated how a wrong turn could lead in the wrong direction when they went to the current park district building after reading a clue that was supposed to lead them to the former park district building.

The team completed the challenge at the current park district building and continued on their way.

However, because of the mix-up, they missed several challenges and arrived at the final pit stop about a half hour earlier than expected.

Howell put them back on track.

The first-place team doubled its entry fee of $65, winning $130 and four tickets to a show at Five Points Washington. The second-place team won $65.

As the teams finished the race and headed to Gracie’s Chicago Style Grill, the only challenge left was to settle in and enjoy dinner.