When on the Amazing Race, fat and slow overcomes thin and fast
That stupid sled.
U.S. Border Patrol Agents Art and J.J. had no problems stacking watermelons, landing helicopters or rappelling down side scrappers, but when asked to ride a sled ... that's where everything began to unwind.
"When I got up there, I never thought there would be a problem," explained Velez at the 2012 NRA National Police Shooting Championships in New Mexico. "I needed to pick a sled with the thinnest rails so I could go as fast as possible. The idea of trying to balance on that thing never even crossed my mind. Thought it would be a piece of cake.
"They guys were holding all these sleds. I thought the one with the thinnest rails would go the fastest. If I had picked the other sled that had the wider fat rails, I would have made it down the hill in a flash. But I went for the thin rails. That’s what ended up killing me."
The mistake was understandable. Logic dictates that thin rails move faster fat ones. After flying from continent to continent and experiencing conditions ranging from bitter cold to sweltering heat, they were lucky to have any logic left.
Despite the final shortfall, the performance of Art and his partner J.J. throughout the Amazing Race was enough to build a significant following. Viewing parties that started in groups of twenty to thirty ultimately grew to hundreds. It was a following that proved beneficial to Border Patrol Agents everywhere.
"A lot of people in San Diego found out we were on Amazing Race. They wanted to show their support so we started organizing viewing parties at local restaurants. After a while, we decided to use the exposure to benefit our fellow agents. Made up some t-shirts, sold them for $10 and put the funds towards the Border Patrol Foundation."
The Border Patrol Foundation provides services to the families of agents killed or seriously injured in the line of duty. The work of the Foundation includes supporting those families through scholarships, awareness programs and support groups.
"The longer we were in the Amazing Race the bigger the crowds grew. It was like a machine. By the time the finale aired, we had about 500 people. Between the t-shirt sales and a portion of the take that the restaurants donated, we ended up raising close to $10,000 for the Border Patrol Foundation. It was great."
Now that his race is complete, and Season 21 is about halfway through, this is the question of what to do next. Will Art & J.J. simply return to the field of law enforcement or are there more television opportunities in the future?
"We haven’t been contacted by anyone yet," claimed Velez. "I’m not really that big of a tv guy. This was something we tried out of the blue and it happened to work out. Another shot at the Amazing Race title? Sure.
"Or maybe if it was something related to firearms, I could see giving it another go. After all, this is my love, this is my passion. Just have to wait for someone to ask."