Reality TV wasn’t my thing until I saw Relative Race for the first time. Now, after waiting a year, the third season is finally slated to begin on Sunday, March 4 at 9:00 p.m. eastern time (7:00 p.m. mountain time) on BYUtv. I can’t wait!
From the first episode, I was hooked on the family history–based, competitive reality show. The crazy, cross-country drive to meet family members for the first time did a number on my heart. It was the perfect combination of fun, intrigue, and raw emotion. When the first and second seasons were over, I felt as if I’d lost close personal friends.
And, yes, I had my favorites, which made it even better when they won.
This year the format promises to be as entertaining as ever but with a few twists. For one thing, instead of four married couples competing, this season features a father and son team, two sisters, and two married couples.
“We are excited to share a few new aspects of the series, including new routes, new contestants, new cities, and new challenges,” said Dan J. Debenham, the show’s host and executive producer. Relative Race is produced by BYUtv and the reality TV production company Lenzworks.
“We have changed the structure of the show to increase the time the contestants get to spend with their loved ones and allow them to further explore their family histories and discover their roots,” said Michael Dunn, managing director of BYUtv.
“The new season continues to deliver the heartwarming drama, shocking discoveries, and surprising adventures that audiences have come to love and expect from this show,” Debenham said.
This season’s first episode will start in Washington, D.C., where each team will be surprised to make a family connection the first day—before the competition officially begins—and will be permitted to text the other contestants throughout the 10-day race.
Once the race begins, team members will trade their personal electronic devices for a paper road map, a loaner car, and a flip phone with a camera to navigate to a designated city. The instructions they receive by text message will help them complete two challenges and lead them to their long-lost relatives.
For 10 days, contestants will race against the clock to arrive at the home of their unknown relative. The team that takes the longest will receive a strike and will be eliminated after three strikes. Cameras document the day-to-day triumphs and obstacles as the physical and emotional endurance of each team is tested. The winning team will walk away with a $50,000 grand prize.
Meet the Dynamic Duos of Season Three
As musicians, sisters Jamie Harper and Morgan Nichols, from Los Angeles, California, are searching for family members who have interests and talents in common with them. They would use the prize money to help pay medical expenses for their mom, who has a rare health condition. Jamie is a YouTube indie recording artist, twice nominated for Grammy and Billboard awards, and Morgan is an award-winning songwriter, professional vocalist, and number-one Amazon bestseller for inspirational poetry.
Michael and Dylan Anderson, from Concord, North Carolina, are the first father-son team to be contestants on Relative Race. Michael was adopted at birth, and as a professional photographer, decided to use his large following on social media to post that he was searching for his biological family. The post went viral, with more than 200,000 hits. One of the producers of Relative Race saw the post, contacted Michael, and suggested he watch the series.
After binge-watching all the episodes, Michael and his son Dylan, who helps Michael with his photography business, decided to apply as a team.
“I love that it’s a positive, uplifting show,” Michael expressed. “People don’t understand what folks who are adopted go through not knowing why we are here, who we look like, or the circumstances around us and our creation."
“I just want to know answers above all. That’s all I need—that’s all I want. I want to tell my children the other half of the story. They have a close-knit family on my wife’s side but I’ve never been able to give them that. It’s about one thing, it’s family,” Michael explained.
Troy and Nicole Hitt are from Humble, Texas. The husband and wife team met after Troy served in the U.S. Air Force. They have been married for 13 years, have four kids and six animals, and own a CrossFit gym. Troy is hoping to find out more about his biological father, whom he hasn’t seen since he was five years old.
Rebecca and Johnathon Hoyt are from McAllen, Texas. Rebecca is a stay-at-home mom to their three-year-old daughter, while John works as a U.S. border patrol agent. Rebecca’s mom died when she was two years old, and she is hoping to meet her maternal relatives.
The unscripted Relative Race series was popular around the world within the first few episodes, according to Debenham, the executive producer. He said that even people who don’t usually watch TV loved the show. The station received email, tweets, and letters, not only from adults but from young kids who followed the show closely and were cheering for their favorite couples.
“Nothing is more satisfying in our world of production than to create something that resonates all over the world. It is a humbling and exciting experience,” Debenham said.
As far as reality TV is concerned, if it’s called Relative Race, count me in. I’ll be front and center for season three to watch who’s connected to whom and how the twists, turns, and tender-hearted moments happen.
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