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Buffalo salesman's mother is the only one talking about 'Amazing Race' finish

I just love the media rules of reality TV. I can't talk to the Buffalo salesman, Nick Linz, whose Cincinnati family is among the three finalists in the two-hour finale of CBS' "Amazing Race" (9 tonight, Channel 4).

He's being silenced until Wednesday morning after the $1 million check is presented on the American side of Niagara Falls in tonight's finale.

But CBS did allow me to talk with Nick's mom, Terri.

It's a good thing, too. I expected a ton of e-mails from Nick's co-workers as "Amazing" went on, but they never materialized. All I knew about him came from a Cincinnati newspaper story that said he "was the bruising fullback on the 1998 runner-up high school team in Ohio, St. Xavier."

After talking to Nick's mom, I understand why my e-mail box wasn't overloaded. Mrs. Linz said Nick works for two companies in Amherst that specialize in packaging and shrink labeling, Tri Pack Sleevers and Packstar. They are co-owned by Nick's father, Tom, who lives in Cincinnati, and has two partners, Andy Sharp and Helen Ma, in Buffalo.

Mrs. Linz added that the multimillion dollar companies are expanding, and Nick will soon be moving to the West Coast. That suggests the family doesn't need the prize money.


"Of course, he does, everybody could," said Mrs. Linz, noting Nick is one of seven children. "They all have college loans."

The Linz family was approached by a representative of "Amazing Race" while they were on a family vacation in Cancun.

"We were all sitting around and someone said, 'You look like a nice family' and asked if they wanted to do it," said Mrs. Linz. Nick, 24, Alex, 22, Megan, 21 and Tommy, 19, eventually went online along with thousands of others and applied.

"They did it right at the deadline," said Mrs. Linz. "That's typical of my family -- procrastination."

Oh, mom.

They were chosen to appear and immediately took the colors (orange and black) and cheer of the Cincinnati Bengals and dubbed themselves the Who Dey Team.

"It's 'Who dey think is going to beat those Bengals,' " said Mrs. Linz, explaining the cheer.

So far, the Linz family is having as good a year as the Bengals.

To be honest, I haven't watched much of the eighth edition of the Emmy-winning series. The buzz on this edition was worse than the buzz on the marriage between another Cincinnati native, Nick Lachey, and Jessica Simpson. It's been called, uh, dull.

"Not by everyone," said Mrs. Linz. She is proud of the weekly cheers she gets from friends and viewers who tell her how much they have enjoyed watching such a nice family.

"I find myself a little humbled," she said. "They all say how wonderful it is that they are kind to each other and are having fun together. They consider it a lifetime experience."

After watching last Tuesday's semifinal, I understand some of the criticism. The final four may have been the least diverse group on any TV show since the early years of "Friends."

It consisted of four white families. The Linz Family is composed of Nick, his two brothers and their only sister. The Bransens (dad and three daughters), the Weavers (a widowed mother and her children) and the Godlewskis (four sisters) rounded out the final four.

They built teepees or put four wheels on a covered wagon they took for a short ride, had their pictures taken at a saloon named after Buffalo Bill's daughter (Irma) and looked for colored golf balls on a course.

The Linz family led for most of the hour, but blew first place when they forgot to look for a fourth golf ball in the most likely place -- the hole. That was so Buffalo.

Not that the Linz family talked much about Buffalo. The Queen City they mentioned was in Ohio. That's natural since they are from Cincinnati, which also calls itself the Queen City.

The Godlewskis were way behind for most of the hour, though there was some brief suspense when the Weavers were stopped for speeding. They ended up with a warning and earned third place.

The most interesting aspect of the semifinal for Western New Yorkers probably came during the promos for tonight's episode, which revealed they take a jet boat ride in the Niagara River, and there is a curling competition.

The episode was filmed locally on July 31, with the show sending some "Amazing" fanatics off on a wild goose chase to Toronto and Boston so the secret of who won was retained.

Since Nick lives here, you might think he had some sort of home advantage in the final leg that might help his family win.

But let's face it. If his family loses after coming so close to winning, it would make him seem more like a real Buffalonian.


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