It’s that time of year – The Amazing Race is on CBS on Sunday nights! This is Season 19 (have they really raced around the world 19 times? And handed out $19 million??) and so far nine teams remain in the running. Just in case you have no idea what The Amazing Race is (possibly because you’ve been living under a rock for some time), let me explain – it’s a reality TV show where teams of two people who kinda-sorta know each other race around the world, visit different countries, perform various tasks, solve riddles and essentially try to be the first team to cross the finish line. The team that wins gets $1 million.
I’ve always wanted to be a contestant on The Amazing Race but alas, my time is yet to come. After watching the most recent episode, I wondered if the teams have ever had to solve a puzzle in a cemetery. A quick Google search later and jackpot – there’s an Amazing Race type event in Arizona called the Cemetery Crawl! I know, this isn’t exactly what I was looking for¹ but searching for clues and solving puzzles in local cemeteries? Sounds amazing to me! Debe Branning, one of the creators of the Cemetery Crawl, writes:
‘Just what exactly is the Cemetery Crawl? Well, unlike the Amazing Race, where teams visit five continents and eight countries, the Cemetery Crawl stops in five Arizona counties and eight selected cemeteries. Teams receive an envelope with directions to a cemetery along with a poetic clue of a tombstone they must photograph. After they locate and photograph the correct grave marker, they must show the picture to the “cemetery attendant” who hands them their next clue.
But, wait! There’s more! As the teams travel down the Arizona highways there are several detours and challenges to photograph and complete. Some of these road blocks include taking pictures of historical markers or whimsical roadside characters. Sometimes it includes asking an unsuspecting traveler to pose in a photo with them at a popular tourist mecca. Challenges include visiting gravesites of Arizona historians or placing a flag on a marker of a US veteran. There are puzzles, tests of memory, and challenges of map reading skills.’
What a great way to spend a weekend! You get to visit local cemeteries, check out tombstone epitaphs, challenge your mind and learn some history along the way. So you probably won’t win $1 million, but think of the lives you’ll change! (OK, I made that last part up). For more information on the Cemetery Crawl, click here and here.
Would you go on The Amazing Race? Who would you pick as your partner?
¹The Cemetery Crawl was a pleasant distraction from my original goal – yes, The Amazing Race has visited a cemetery. In Season 5, the teams had to find the grave of Eva ‘Evita’ Peron in Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina to get their clue.