To be eligible to participate in “The Amazing Race” CBS requires all team members to sign a confidentiality agreement.
“We can say, ‘It’s an amazing experience!’” Kilmer-Purcell added.
This year, the prize money was doubled, which means winning the race could net Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge $2 million that they can put toward their dream — growing their business and the village of Sharon Springs.
The two became fascinated with Sharon Springs back in 2007 when they decided to go apple picking.
“We would always go to a different area every year,” Ridge said. “That was kind of a tradition. Literally we would open up a map of New York state and then kind of blindly put our finger down some place.”
In 2007, that finger landed on Sharon Springs and the two ended up going to Sharon Orchards.
“When we originally drove into town I was fascinated by the decay,” Kilmer-Purcell said. “It was nighttime, we were coming in from the north, and that end of the village is nearly abandoned. I describe the village as a cross between ‘Petticoat Junction’ and ‘The Shining.’ I was just fascinated. I’m like, ‘This place has a huge history.’”
The two drove on and eventually saw the lights on in the American Hotel.
“It was the most beckoning sight I’d ever seen,” Kilmer-Purcell admitted. “In the midst of all this decay, there was this place with light and life and happiness. Here are these people who on the surface looked like they should be down on their luck, but they were having the time of their lives.”
“When we drove by the farm house we initially thought it was a museum. It just looked so perfect sitting there on the hill,” Ridge added. “And then when we drove on by it we noticed the For Sale sign in the yard, and it was literally like a siren. On our drive back to the city we were like, ‘We just have to have that house.’”