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Voyageur's Best Features of 2006

Amazing Race

Big Sandy Lodge hosts their own Amazing Race
by John Grones  |  July 18, 2006

It was a busy weekend at Big Sandy Lodge and Resort. They held their Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, July 8. The day featured Big Sandy Lodge’s version of the ‘Amazing Race’, a beach volleyball tournament, a sandcastle contest, live music and an outdoor barbecue.

The ‘Amazing Race’ was a hit with those who participated. The ‘Amazing Race’ is a spin-off of the popular reality television show. In this contest, two-person teams were required to visit five different checkpoints on the lake and perform a specific task. In the end, it was Dena McMullen (Chicago) and Lindsey Baer (La Crosse, Wisconsin) who came across the finish line in first place.

“I was supposed to go back to Chicago this morning,” said Dena, “but I decided to stay just purposely for the race.”

Both girls were a little nervous at first, because neither of them knew the lake very well. The toughest clue for them turned out to be Clue:14, buckets on a dead end road. “Lindsey and I almost gave up at that point,” Dena said, “because we had driven around the entire lake looking for this dead end road until . . . our famous friends showed up.”

Those friends were Mary Hartung and Courtney Field who finished in second place. They looked together and found the buckets at the Prairie River bridge.

It was also Lindsey’s birthday. She turned 22. Lindsey felt that the most difficult challenge was the one near Bikini Island – Clue: Look for the bikini, find the navel, I have a snack for you. There they were required to eat pickled food. Lindsey ate pickled eggs.

There was a tie for third place. The team of Don McMullen (Dena’s father) and Paul Stauff earned third place, along with Mike Tate and Todd Plaistad.

Don really enjoyed the race. He felt the clues were challenging. “They really made you think about the whole lake,” said Don. “You really have to know the lay of the lake. It was a tough challenge.”

Don and Paul both agreed that the Bikini Island clue was the most difficult. 

In fourth place was the father and daughter team of Don DeBolt and Jody (DeBolt) Baurassa. They also had a good time. They completed all the challenges, and they beat the dealer in a game of cards on the sandbar – Clue: It’s all in the cards at the old sandbar.

Don has had a cabin on Bellhorn Bay since 1972 and he lives in Sarasota, Florida in the winter. Jody is from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Jody shared, “If we do it again, we will split up and involve our children. It is great family fun.”

‘Amazing Race’ coordinator Joan McFarland was pleased with the outcome of the day. “The weather was perfect,” said Joan. “We had a good turnout and we got good feedback from the participants. Several want to try it again next year.”

Of the eleven teams that participated, seven completed the race. This was one of the few disappointments for Joan. However, she has a plan for next year. “I’m thinking about having one free pass next year,” she said. “If a team is stumped and can’t find their destination, they can perform an additional task for a judge and move on. I would like to see everyone complete the race.”

Joan noted that many of the participants enjoyed the station near Fisherman’s Bay. Clue: Tennis anyone, I have tee times with my old favorite fishing friend. The task was to throw tennis balls wrapped in socks into tubes on the lake. Both participants had to make one shot each before moving on.

Joan shared that she is already thinking up new tasks and looking for new spots on the lake for next year’s race.

In addition to the ‘Amazing Race’, the Grand Opening celebration included a sandcastle contest and a volleyball tournament. Matt Elieff and Alec (“Pants”) Plaistad had the best sandcastle. They completed a life-size duplicate of a Ski-Doo jet ski. The volleyball tournament was won by the Killer Bees.

All-in-all, it was a fun day. “It was great to see all the people touring the facilities and Executive Chef Tim Ficsher did a great job with the barbecue concluded Joan.

This article first appeared in the July 18 issue of the Voyageur Press.