New Milford parents thrilled with daughter’s appearance on “Amazing Race”
NEW MILFORD — Millions of viewers watched as Tara Buonaiuto Carr rappelled down the side of a Brazilian skyscraper in last week’s episode of “The Amazing Race.”
Among them were Frank and Joyce Buonaiuto, Carr’s parents, who have lived 45 years in New Milford, where they raised Carr and her three siblings.
“It’s amazing,” Frank Buonaiuto said. “I can’t even explain it. It’s exciting.”
Carr, 38, who now lives in Alexandria, Va., with her husband and four children, is one of 22 competitors in the 29th season of “The Amazing Race,” a reality show in which contestants pair off to confront various physical challenges as they travel across nine countries and 17 cities in quest of a $1 million prize.
The Buonaiutos’ four children have been big fans of the show since it premiered in 2001, but having Carr competing on it has added a new element to the excitement. The couple even invited some neighbors over to watch the season premiere.
Buonaiuto said he plans to host an “Amazing Race” party when it gets closer to the end of the season.
“I talked to her the other day and she said it was going to get more adventurous and they were going to start to show her more,” he said.
Buonaiuto said he believes Carr will make it all of the way to the finale. The show was filmed in June, but she is not allowed to reveal how well she did.
Buonaiuto said that he and his wife sometimes get nervous while watching their daughter compete in the challenges, but they know her skills and background mean she’s up to them. Some of the challenges so far were rowing in a race and building a makeshift gym.
“At first I was a little worried, but she’s been all over the world many times,” he said.
Carr, who is a major in the U.S. Army, has lived in Beijing, where she worked in an embassy, spent time with nomads in Mongolia, served on a United Nations mission in Kosovo and lived in Italy and Germany. She’s also fluent in Mandarin and can speak Portuguese, Italian and Spanish as well as a little Korean, Buonaiuto said.
“She has a lot of experience with cultures and translating,” he said.
Carr honed her language skills while at New Milford High School, where she studied Spanish. She hoped to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country through the town’s Rotary Club, but was placed in Brazil, where she became fluent in Portuguese.
Carr’s athleticism also helps with the physicality of the show.
“She was always into sports and excelled,” Buonaiuto said.
Her military background is an advantage, too. Her training included airborne school, where she learned to parachute.
“She doesn’t take much baloney from anybody,” he said. “I think she got that from the military, because you have to make strong decisions and have other people follow you. People respect her and look up to her.”
Buonaiuto said he wasn’t surprised to hear his daughter had been picked for the show. She and her husband, Tony, auditioned two years ago, but the show contacted them three months later to tell them only she had been selected.
This season featured teams made of strangers, instead of the usual format that has teammates with strong relationships before filming. During the first episode, Carr selected Joey Covino, 46, a police sergeant in Boston, who finished last in the first challenge.
Buonaiuto said he liked that she picked the underdog.
“She told me that she thought he was more mature and would be a better fit and was physically fit,” he said.
Carr and Covino named themselves “Team Mom and Dad.”
“She says she’s much older, but she says that helps her because she’s mature and has more experience than the others might have,” Buonaiuto said.
“The Amazing Race” airs Thursdays on CBS.