Joliet’s ‘Big Amazing Race’ fundraiser aids Big Brothers/Sisters
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News
Michelle and Mike Murphy of Joliet hold their "Amazing Race" scoreboard. | submitted photo
If you go …
What: Big Amazing Race
When: 6:30–9 p.m. Friday. Check-in at 6 p.m.
Where: Van Buren Plaza, Joliet
What: A fundraiser patterned after the CBS show, “The Amazing Race.” Teams of four complete mental and physical challenges at locations throughout downtown Joliet.
Cost: $200 per team. Registration deadline is Tuesday.
Contact: Krystina Siomos at 815-272-BBBS ext. 215 or visit www.bbbswillgrundy.org/race.
JOLIET — Any team competing in Friday’s “Big Amazing Race” fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties will find their match in the Murphy family of Joliet.
The Murphys are diehard fans of the CBS show, “The Amazing Race,” a reality show of adventure, alliances and opportunity, where the winning team walks away with a million dollars.
“It’s our family time,” Mike Murphy said. “When the kids or Michele has to work on Sunday, we TIVO it so we can all watch it together.”
At the beginning of each season, all team names go into a hat and each family member draws two and adds $5 to the pot as a prize for “owning” the winning team. The Murphys constructed a large game board to keep track of which teams earned first place for particular challenge and which team was eliminated. The family member of the losing team does the household chores for that week.
Echoing the show’s theme, contestants for the “Big Amazing Race” will compete in 10 physical and mental challenges in downtown Joliet to generate money for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the children in their organization. Each four-member team must raise at least $200 to participate.
“I work as the courthouse supervisor of parking lots, so I know a little about downtown Joliet,” Mike said, “although it will depend on the clues they give.”
Mike and Michele Murphy’s zeal for “The Amazing Race,” extends back to their dating years, when each would, unbeknownst to the other, end their Sunday evenings together to hurry home and watch the show.
“We loved that we could travel and see the world without actually having to pack a bag,” Michele said.
Several years ago, when they surprised their children, Marissa, now 17 and Jared, now 12, with a family vacation, Mike and Michele made the announcement in classic game fashion: series of clues with the news written on slips of paper hidden under their plates.
“It was our way of saying, ‘We’re going to Disney World for eight days,’” Mike said.
Individuals wishing to participate in “The Big Race,” but are unfamiliar with the show, might benefit from the Murphys’ tips: research the downtown area, wear comfortable shoes and read the clues carefully.
For “The Big Race,” teams will receive five points for every $100 they raise. On event day, teams will earn up to 10 points for each challenge successfully completed. Teams will not be timed on how quickly they move from challenge to challenge.
Teams can also earn points for promoting the event. Five social points will be awarded for each of the following: uploading a team YouTube video, recruiting another team to participate and wearing a team uniform/costume that day. The Murphys have their outfits ready.
“And we’re not telling anyone what they are,” Mike said.