A question about mining in the final challenge of the fourth and last Grand Prix semi-final, broadcast on Monday night on TVE, sparked anger among the 5,400 residents of Los Montesinos, who faced Tineo (Asturias) in this inter-town contest, presented by tv personality, Ramón García.
The anger was more than justifiable: “We lost the program in the last challenge because they are a mining town and the question was related to mining ,” explained Alejandro Espí, cultural promoter of Los Montesinos.
As was evident, the contestants from the Asturian town knew the answer, which is why they got that much-needed point to win the program and qualify, along with the other three winning semi finalists, in the competition. “Not only did we lose the program because of that point, but we dropped to fifth in the standings and, therefore, we have not moved on to the next phase,” said Espí.
“Los Montesinos on the map”
However, the town in Vega Baja felt their participation was more than worthwhile, since, as the cultural manager pointed out, “we have managed to put ourselves on the map in a program with a national audience.” “We are very proud because almost 200 towns applied and we were lucky to be able to represent the Valencian Community,” he added.
Los Montesinos has always been a keen follower of the Grand Prix and has even organised events and competitions in the town similar to it’s format. So, when TVE announced the return of the program 18 years after it was last broadcast, Espí did not hesitate to contact the network. “It was all very fast. In three days we had to make a video to present the town without any resident knowing about it. We sent it to the program makers in April”.
The video had to explain the reason why they wanted to take part and what they were going to spend the money they won.
“The reason was clear. We wanted to promote our town across the country and we wanted to donate the money to the farmers affected by the drought,” said Espí, who acknowledged that “everything had to be done with great secrecy and caution so that nothing was leaked.”
Once the town was selected, the next step was to choose the contestants. In total, 30 residents would participate, five would be substitutes and another hundred would be part of the public support. All of them travelled to a Fuenlabrada industrial estate where the the recording of the programme took place, which took about ten hours.
Fran Guirau was one of those selected. He remembers watching the program from a very young age with his grandfather. He was surprised by the lack of space on the set, since, in his words, he “thought it would be bigger.” Emma Espinosa also acknowledged that “it looks different on the inside, but it is a very cool experience because it has raised the profile of the municipality.”
Nayara Rebollo, who also followed the program from a very young age, emphasized the “sportsmanship of the other team.” “We made a lot of friends during the recording,” she said.
The image shows the team about to embark on their trip to the TV set in Fuenlabrada