Fans of “The Amazing Race” never got much of a chance to know competitive lumberjack champion Rob Scheer and bride-to-be Sheila Castle.
That was all that separated Rob & Sheila from a potentially longer tenure on the Race.
Rob & Sheila successfully weathered a pair of Roadblocks, but the task of finding a lady with an abacus on Shanghai’s Bund proved frustrating. Still, they had the clue and nearly made it to Phil Keoghan in next-to-last position, only to get run down from behind by Chippendales Dancers Jaymes & James.
In the season’s first “Amazing Race” exit interview, Rob and Sheila discuss the disappointment of their brief time on the show, why finding a lady with an abacus was so hard and what frog fallopian tubes taste like.
HitFix: Let’s start at the ending, I suppose. Rob said in the episode that it was a difference of 15 seconds. Tell me about the way the Leg ended…
Sheila Castle: First of all, it was heart-breaking. It’s definitely not the ending that we were looking for. It came down to really a foot-race to that signal tower and just before we reached the signal tower, the Chippendales passed us and then there was no recovering, because once you got in the signal tower, you could see how narrow it was.
Rob Scheer: When we got the final clue, it was about a half-mile to the signal tower. We took off running and we ran the whole way. We were probably 100 yards from the tower, or less, and Sheila was carrying a bunch of stuff in her hands and I just stopped to take it from her and just looked up and we had no idea the Chippendales were out there and we thought for sure we were ahead of another team. And I just looked up and here these two guys were coming in at a full-on sprint. So I grabbed Sheila’s backpack and told her to take off running and I took off running. They passed us about 30 feet from the stairs?
Sheila: Yeah, just before the tower.
Rob: And once they got on the stairs ahead of us, there was no way we could get around them. It was less than 15 seconds between the time we both footprinted the mat.
Sheila: The tough part about that is that they obviously had come in on the first flight, so they had a couple of hours on us there, so it was pretty hard to take.
HitFix: Going back to something Rob said. Where did you guys think you were in the pecking order at that point? What sense did you have of where the other teams were at all?
Rob: OK. We left the Fallopian Tube Restaurant and we stopped at a Hyatt or a Hilton which was right there and ran in and got on a website, because I wanted to look up “Lady with abacus Shanghai,” just to see if there was some tourist attraction related to that. There was nothing. And while we were there we were looking at the map of the Bund and someone said, “Oh. Bank of China.” And there were three banks right in a row that were all right at the Bund across the street from where the lady with the abacus was. So we get out of our cab and we go in the Bank of China and we knew there were two teams behind us at least. We got in there and they said, “Oh yeah. She’s upstairs.” So we ran upstairs and ran around a little bit and came back down and they said, “Absolutely, she’s upstairs.” So we went back upstairs. Go back outside. Then somebody said it was another bank, Bank of… something… Colonial Bank of China next door? So we ended up going through these three huge, humungous banks for 40 minutes, were told by people that absolutely the lady with the abacus was at the back of the bank, was a carving on the bank. So, “Oh. Right. That makes sense. Let’s go back there.”
Forty minutes later, we come out on the Bund and immediately bump into Will & Gary and we said, “We were told the lady was up here on the left” and they were standing right there and they said, “Oh no. We’ve been all over this area. We were told it’s down here. Follow us.” They took off running and she was actually just 40 yards from us then. So we followed them. We had every reason to think that Gary & Will had not found the clue. Then we saw Lexi & Trey and they had not found the clue, but we found it together. What we didn’t know is they knew where the signal tower was exactly. So they took off to the signal tower while we’re trying to figure out where the signal tower was. We found out where it was and we took off running. We had every reason to believe that there was at least one team behind us.
Sheila: The Beekmans were behind us.
Rob: Yeah, the Beekmans were behind us, but Gary & Will told us that they did not have the clue, so we thought for sure that there was one team behind us and then when the Chippendales passed us, we were like, “Holy s***. There’s another team that was out there.” But when we go to the mat, there were Will & Gary standing there, all smiles. They had deceived us and we were the last to the mat.
HitFix: Why was this so hard? It seemed like there were an awful lot of people just running around in circles in last night’s episode. Why was this such a challenge?
Sheila: You watch some of the past seasons and you will see whatever the couple is looking for basically right in front of them and you’re screaming a the TV, “It’s right behind you! How come you don’t see it?” or “It’s right in front of you!” Looking back, it was just so obvious that it was there, but at the time — obviously, just looking at the show last night — I was looking at her and I didn’t see her. I don’t know if it’s the intensity. It’s just so intense while you’re there.
Rob: I think it was really hard because The Bund is a mile-and-a-quarter or a mile-and-a-half long and they just say “It’s at the Bund.” So everybody arrives at The Bund not knowing where, what, who. Is it a statue? Is it living? The Bund is huge. So everybody’s standing there and they’re just not looking at this little docile lady sitting over there innocuously under her umbrella with that little one-foot-by-18-inch abacus. We got there and we were convinced we were looking for a statue at that point. We were immediate diverted. That was us. We were at the Bund for five minutes and we were diverted. Other teams had been there for two hours and had been running by it over and over again. So I just think it was so innocuous. It was so static. It was so sedate. She was just sitting here and people just ran by her.
HitFix: What do you guys think about going out of the game on that kind of thing, rather than going out on a difficult Roadblock or Detour that you weren’t able to perform? How does it feel to have that type of confusion be what sent you home?
Rob: First of all… Navigation… I figured a navigational thing would be something that would be the hardest for this team to recover from. We were so ready for every physical or mechanical challenge that they could throw at us. That was really was I, at the end of the Race, I was so upset about. Because at some point in that first Leg, I felt like we were going to come to that challenge that would test us, a Roadblock. It never happened. We played ping-pong, ate fallopian tubes and looked for a lady sitting with an abacus. We made a couple of errors in thinking through things, but all of the teams spent a lot of time looking around. But to go out on that was really, really hard, because we were really, really looking forward to the difficult challenges.
HitFix: What skillsets were you looking to show off? What were going to be able to show us you do particularly well?
Rob: Here’s the deal: I was immediately attracted to Sheila because she’s an amazing woman. She’s cosmopolitan, but put her in field? She built a log home on her own. I built a log home. She was born in Alaska. I work in Alaska. She has four or five brothers who took her out fishing and they worked on a ranch. I work on a ranch. In the years that we’ve gotten to know each other, got engaged, got ready to get married, we would build bridges, we would put in culvers, we would cut stacks of firewood, we sailed boats, we camp out in just sleeping bags in the cold, we ride snowmobiles and get them caught in avalanches and dig ’em out. We were ready. We knew we had the stamina. She has incredible stamina. And mechanically, I’ve done such amazing things as a lumberjack competitor and as an adventurer-outdoorsman that we were just ready. I was carrying a roll of duct tape. I was carrying fishhooks. I had wire.
Sheila: It was a MacGyver kit.
Rob: I had gator clips. I had high tensile twine. No matter what we came to, if it required a mechanical effort, we were just gonna nail it. I even had a highly slick, woven tarp mat, so if there were things that we had to move, we could put it on this thing and hook it up to it and drag it and it would have been very low friction. We just had things really, really worked out and we never got to do it.
HitFix: As a last question, just out of pure curiosity… Sheila, how was the hasma? How were those Fallopian tubes?
Sheila: [Laughs.] Horrible. Horrible. There wasn’t really a taste, but the texture and then once you let you mind go there for a minute on what you actually had in your mouth… I mean… Frog fallopian tubes? They were very kind with the editing, because it was very tough to keep them down and I had Rob there just saying, “Focus! Get ’em down.” So that was helpful. You couldn’t think about them. But fortunately there wasn’t a horrible taste. They were tasteless. It was just the texture that was horrible.
Rob: I was envious. They looked really good.
Stay tuned for more “Amazing Race” exit interviews as the season progresses.