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Elkhorn grandfather comes up just short in "Amazing Race"

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Donna Lenz Wright/The Week
January 23, 2008
— If not for one crucial mistake, an Elkhorn man and his grandson could have been the big winners of “Amazing Race 12,” the latest in CBS’s five-time Emmy Award winning reality series.

After 10 countries, four continents and nearly 30,000 miles, Donald Jerousek, 69, of Elkhorn and his grandson, Nicolas Fulks, 24, a Chicago-area native now of Puerto Rico, missed the $1 million win by mere minutes.


The season finale aired Jan. 20.


“If we hadn’t forgotten that bag,” Jerousek lamented.


“The bag” contained the tools to complete the second-to-last task of the month-long race, which filmed last July.


“It took 10 or 15 minutes to go back and get that bag, and Nick was only 15 minutes behind in solving the puzzle,” Jerousek said.


The bag contained a filet knife and two pairs of gloves, the necessary tools to find a critical clue.


The clue was either inside one of several 30-pound carp or wrapped around the claw leg of one crab, swimming freely in one of two tanks of hundreds of crabs.


An avid fisherman, Jerousek took only five minutes to find the clue inside a fish.


It all came down to solving a complex puzzle matching items throughout the race with the locations they were they were used.


“Nick’s memory is sharp, so we thought he could do it no problem.”


While Jerousek did complete the puzzle in impressive time, the other two teams had a considerable head start.


“Chrissy had already been working on (the puzzle) for over an hour, and Rachel was just 15 minutes behind her,” Jerousek said of members of the other remaining teams.


The couple known as T.K. and Rachel, of Huntington Beach, Calif., won the race that began at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, Calif., went through Europe, Africa and Asia and ended in Alaska.


Despite coming in third, Jerousek and his grandson became fan favorites, and Jerousek is now the oldest contestant to ever complete the race.


In the end, the experience is something they say they will never forget or regret.


“It’s really been great. It’s really been a lot of fun,” Jerousek said.


The only thing left is taking the trip to Cancun they won and seeking forgiveness from all the people Jerousek and his wife, Sharon, had to fib to between July and November.


“Our neighbors probably either thought (we) were compulsive liars or nuts,” he laughed.



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