By Greg Price and Ryan Dahlman
After having already battled and won against breast cancer, Taber and two-time national barrel racing champion Nancy Csabay is ready to take on her next challenge.
That challenge includes competing against nine other teams in ‘The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition”, which premiers July 3 on CTV.
Csabay’s friend on Facebook had posted a casting call for the Amazing Race.
“I’ve always wanted to do The Amazing Race and I reposted that post from my friend and asked who wanted to do this with me, and I had a bunch of friends wanting to do it with me,” said Csabay.
Csabay made the cut out of thousands upon thousands of auditions. The process was tweaked a little bit this year where nominations were made for heroes.
“Some wonderful friends of mine nominated me and I think Amazing Race Canada said I had over 30 nominations,” said Csabay.
Csabay’s partner in the competition will be 37-year-old Mellisa Hollingsworth, who has a passion for both winter and summer sports. Hollingsworth was a national champion in skeleton within three months of entering the sport and also earned a bronze medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics. World Cup podium finishes have been commonplace for Hollingsworth.
A nation got behind Hollingsworth when at the 2010 Olympics in Whistler, she was in silver-medal position and launched onto her sled for the final with a personal-best start time. She would eventually hit the wall at turn 6, knocking her into fifth place.
“I feel like I’ve let my entire country down,” said the three-time Olympian in a tearful apology that elicited a response of thousands of letters and emails of support from Canadians, sharing their own stories about moving on from disappointment.
“We both have stories people can relate to and I think that was a draw of us getting picked,” said Csabay, as Hollingsworth would also go on to compete in barrel racing and be a rodeo commentator at the Calgary Stampede which is where the two Albertans met. “Before the show, I did not know Mellisa well at all. You could say we were acquaintances. She had interviewed me at the Calgary Stampede one year and that’s the only conversation, up until the show, that we had had. She had seen my post on Facebook. Mellisa sent me a picture of her and Jon with an Amazing Race envelope, saying we should do this together. I knew she had a great story with her being an Olympian and since it’s the heroes edition, Mellisa was a perfect choice. The cool part of this whole experience is that I gained a great friend. How lucky am I?”
Csabay is extremely honoured and humbled to be selected for the show, a show that is anything but easy to get on with the audition process.
“I love to travel and I think that part really appealed to me. I’ve always wanted to be on the show when the American Amazing Race started. I’m grateful Canada has their own and they make it their own because a lot of the stops are in Canada, so it’s nice to see parts of Canada I’ve never seen before,” said Csabay.
“I’d really like to thank my husband Tony and my daughter Kate. I’m gone for five weeks, so to be able to leave home and not have to worry about the things at home like the horses which I knew they were going to be taken care of, I’m extremely grateful that Tony was around to take some of that burden off so that I could do this,” said Csabay.
Nancy is co-owner of TNK Farms – a horse breeding, selling and training facility just north of Taber.
Filming for The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition, began on April 23.
The starting line is the Hatley Memorial Gardens in Colwood, British Columbia. The Amazing Race Canada is a reality television competition series that features teams in a gruelling race across Canada and the world.
The race is divided into a series of legs and on each leg, teams strive to reach the Pit Stop where they are greeted by the host, Jon Montgomery. During each leg teams receive destination clues and challenges to complete in order to move onto the next task.
The grand prize includes a $250,000 cash payout, a trip for two around the world, and a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Redline for each person according to Wikipedia.
Csabay enjoyed the experience of being a reality-television star for a brief moment in time and found the process extremely interesting.
“The television experience was great. I enjoyed every moment. This was a bit different from the Calgary Stampede and the other coverage I have been involved in because I am in my comfort zone when it comes to barrel racing. It seems natural to me,” said Csabay. “I was a bit out of my element when we were doing the photo shoots, that’s for sure. The best part about The Amazing Race Canada is the people. I loved every racer; they had so much to offer. The production crew were incredible and so good at making us comfortable and not out of our element. The camera and sound crew were amazing at what they do. It was so fun getting to know them all and I am blessed that they are in my life.”
Csabay hopes her appearance on The Amazing Race will help inspire her daughter Katie.
“I also wanted to show my daughter, Kate, who’s turning 13 this year, that no matter what age she is, that she is capable of anything,” said Csabay. “I want to show her that there is nothing to fear, never give up, and run without reserve. And I wanted other middle-aged women to know that life isn’t over after 40; it’s really just beginning.”
The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes EditIon premiers July 3 on CTV.