The Amazing Race Party
Rachel in Lehi, Utah, USA
My husband just threw me an Amazing Race party that truly was amazing! He planned it all so that I could participate, and it was so much fun. I'm a big fan of the show, and I really feel like I got a small taste of the adrenaline, the panic, the frustration, the competitiveness, and the joy that I've watched real players experience on the show. INVITATIONS: My husband sent out an email to everyone who would be racing, which consisted of just our immediate families since that alone came out to be eight teams of two. The email had the Amazing Race logo at the top (from online) and basically informed the teams that they'd been accepted to participate in the Amazing Race, with info on where to meet, time and date, etc. There was a list at the bottom of teams and their colors which they were to dress up in. DECORATIONS: Since we were on-the-go this whole party, there really weren't any decorations necessary, but there were several standard Amazing Race props. We made a Check-in Mat out of black rubbery counter lining. It came in a long thin rolled up strip that we cut in half, then stuck the long ends together with packing tape to make one big rectangle. We painted it to look like the mat in the show (easily found online). In the show the teams get their clues inside heavy yellow envelopes that they tear open, but we simplified things. We created look-alike logos for each different clue type (Detour, Road Block, and Route Info) and printed them onto the appropriate color paper (Detour clues are yellow, Road Blocks red, Route Info blue) which we folded into thirds, brochure style. My husband then typed up the actual clue information on a page that was divided into three columns- one clue per column, printed them out on white paper, cut them into thirds and glued it into the middle of the colored paper so that it was covered by the folds. He got creative with the clues, too, writing them the way they're written in the show plus a little of his own humor and style. At each site we would retrieve a clue from a special Clue Box. He made a Clue Box out of a small cardboard box that fit the size of the clues. He made a stand to mount the box on using cardboard tubes stuck into the holes of stands from a Wii Rock Band drum set. He taped a piece of red paper onto the poles to make it more visible for the teams. THE RACE: We all gathered at one home dressed in our team colors. My husband handed out a sheet of rules and definitions for easy reference for those who weren't familiar with the show. It included the meanings of the different types of clues and the Check-in process for each Pit Stop. He also reiterated these things verbally, then emphasized that we were to drive safely (he made it clear that any accidents or tickets incurred would be THEIR responsibility), cheating would be penalized, etc. Next to him was the Clue Box, and when instructions were finished he told us to go at it. Our first clue was a Detour, which means that we had to choose between two different challenges to complete. One was called Driving Range, where we took turns hitting a plastic golf ball from one end of the big yard to the other, and had six shots to make it to a goal. If we didn't get there in six shots we'd have to start again from the beginning. The other option was called Putting Strange. My husband had taken 4 foot long sections of cardboard carpet rolls and cut them in half lengthwise. These were laid on the ground as barriers, forming rectangles that were meant to replicate a billiards/pool table. At each corner and halfway along each long side was a gap in the barriers to replicate the pockets in billiards. At one end was a triangle of 6 plastic golf balls, and one real golf ball at the other end. The teams had to putt the real ball into the plastic balls, trying to hit them into the pockets. If a ball bounced over the barriers or they scratched the real ball, they had to reset everything and start over. My brother and I were on a team together and chose Driving Range. We took turns hitting the ball but had to start from the beginning when I hit our sixth shot right next to the target (a circle of black plastic) but not on it. Finally we made it and got our next clue handed to us. My husband had a couple of his sisters as assistants, helping him keep an eye on everyone during each challenge, handing out clues, or running ahead with the clue box to the next location. The next clue was simply a logo printed on a small square of paper. We had to figure out that it was the logo for a local high school and drive there. There was always a little bit of drama on the road when several of us were traveling at the same time- some fist shaking, taunts out the windows, engines revving at red lights, cutting each other off a bit and such, but all in good fun. There were no accidents or citations all day, thankfully. When we arrived at the high school we had to track down the clue box (found it in the parking lot) and get our next clue. This one was a Road Block called Signs of a Good Memory. In a Road Block each team had to choose one player to complete the challenge alone. The clue told us that the school's mission statement was on a large sign on a wall visible through one of the windows and we had to find it, memorize it, and come back and recite it to an assistant. I did this one for our team. Once I'd recited it to the assistant, we checked in by standing on the mat and the assistant wrote down a time for us. Rather than someone being eliminated each leg of the race, my husband kept track of the time for each team. The way the timing worked was that rather than recording how long it took each team to complete that leg of the race, a stopwatch was started the moment the first team checked in on the mat. Thus, the first team to arrive got a time of 0 minutes, the second team 1 minute (or however many minutes they arrived after the first team), and so on. At the very end, each team's total minutes were added up to determine the overall winner. There was also a small prize at each check in point for the first place team. As the first place winners of this leg my brother and I won some Sobe drinks. We all had a few minutes to rest after all the teams, then the next clues were handed out and the next challenge began. This one was another Road Block called Bomemku which was an insane mixture of several different puzzles. First, my husband had made a giant Boggle game using our kids giant foam letter squares. We had to come up with as many 3+ letter words from connecting letters as we could in one minute. Then we were divided into two groups of four and played a game of memory. For each word we got in the Boggle game we got one turn to try finding a matching set of cards. The next puzzle was a Sudoku game. Some of the numbers were already filled in for us, of course, and for every match we got in the memory game we got another number filled in for us in the square of our choice. Once we completed the Sudoku puzzle, there was a word puzzle below it. There were spaces that we had to fill in to form a sentence which would be our next clue. Each space had a tiny letter in the corner. The spaces were set in a grid that matched the Sudoku game grid. To figure out the correct letter, we had to find the number in the correlating Sudoku box and count upwards that many letters from the tiny letter in the corner. For example, if the tiny letter was A and the correlating Sudoku number was 3, you'd count 3 letters up from A- B, C, D. The answer would be D. The clue ended up reading Find and Follow the map hidden in your glove box. We ran back to our cars and, sure enough, at some point my husband had hidden a map in our glove boxes that led to the next location. We followed it to my sister-in-law's house for a Route Info challenge called Treesed to Meet You. What we saw when we got there were two trees in the front yard, with numbers drawn on plastic plates labeling them tree 1 and tree 2. Each tree had 3 lines of string hooked to them with small plastic clips, and the strings ran from the tree around the house and all over the yard. Each person was given a small cardboard tube with yarn looped through it and we had to tie the hanging end of the yarn to our wrist. Each teammate started at a different tree (1 or 2) and we had to unclip the end of one of the three strings, string it through our cardboard tube, and then clip it back around the tree so that we were hooked to that line. We could then follow that line, threading it through our cardboard tube as we went, around the yard. The backyard had several more trees, all run with strings. Some of the trees acted as junctions where you could unclip yourself from one string and clip onto another one to try a different route. Thus we were connected into a huge string maze. The goal was to meet up with your teammate by ending up on the same line. If you ran into someone else, you just had to work out who would back up to a junction tree and get off your line. What we eventually realized was that there were two completely separate string networks going on, involving 5 trees each (the trees being intermixed around the yard) with only one certain string connecting the two networks. So you just had to find the one string that would get you over to your partner's network. Some teams completed this one within a few minutes. For others, like mine, it took an aggravatingly long time! We finally found it after some frantic clipping, unclipping, running tripping, and scrambling, got our next clue (which was a picture of my sister-in-law sitting in a local park that we were all familiar with), and headed to the next Pit Stop where we checked in and had our embarrassing time recorded. The first place team for that leg was awarded a bag of Starbursts. After another brief rest, the next challenge began. For this one, a Route Info called Picture Perfect, we were shown 5 photos of my sis-in-law in various poses at certain spots within the park. We'd each been told to bring a camera or a camera phone, and we had to race around to find those certain spots within the park, and get a photo of one of us in the same spot in the same pose. Once our photos were viewed and checked off, we go our next clue. This was the only challenge that wasn't supervised by someone because the assistants all were either still at the previous location or had gone ahead to the next. So accusations flew about cheating and what not (some in our family are ultra competitive) but in the end it didn't matter because once we all got to the next location (another local park) we were told that all of us were eliminated except the three with the best cumulative racing time. Those three would then compete in one final leg. That way, all of the teams were able to compete the entire time except for the final challenge, rather than eliminating people after each leg who would then sit around bored the rest of the day. Then all of us who were eliminated were told to go to my house for pizza and drinks and wait for the final three teams to check in there. Those final three teams started off with a Route Info called Fast Food Frenzy, where each team was given 5 dollars. They had to buy as many fast food items as possible with that 5 dollars, one item per restaurant. When they had spent all of the money, they brought their items to my house where my husband counted them. Then, for the final challenge, called A Little Too Special-ty Drink, they had to spin a wheel to determine a base liquid for a shake made with either water, milk, club soda, or tomato juice. Then all of their fast food items were blended together into a nasty smoothie! If they could get a glassful down, 12 minutes was taken off of their total time for each food item they purchased. The first team arrived with 7 items, but couldn't finish their shake. They spun tomato juice base which was the most disgusting of all of them. They simply gave up and were eliminated. Soon after, the second team showed up with 8 items and finished their shake. They thought they'd won, until the third team showed up a half hour later with 12 items! They'd bought things like a 10 cent snow cone, 25 cent pickle, 25 cent little tub of salsa, a tiny scoop of M&Ms at a frozen yogurt bar, etc. We were all very impressed! Their shake still ended up nasty, but they did drink it down and won the game. They had taken longer but their 12 items got tons of time removed so they won the grand prize of a steakhouse gift certificate (from citydeals.com). All in all, this party lasted about five or six hours. We all had so much fun we want to do one every year with different couples hosting it! I am so amazed at the challenges my brilliant husband came up with, even though I wish I would've done better at them!