Sochi trip winner announced

By Terry Kolesar | Nov. 25, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

Houston's Carl Schaeper is the winner of USA Curling's Sweep to Sochi Team Captain Campaign. Schaeper is the winner of a five-day, four-night trip to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. His name was randomly drawn on Nov. 13 during the live webstream from the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling in Fargo.

"When I entered the contest I didn't pay attention to when the winner would be announced, and it was lucky timing that I had just sat back down at my computer and restarted the web stream a few minutes before you came on the air," Schaeper said in an interview with USA Curling. "As soon as they started talking about the announcement coming up I had a weird feeling that I needed to keep watching.  Once I heard the winner was from Houston I knew I had probably won, or at least would know the winner, but still had trouble believing it when I actually heard my name called out.  I immediately ran in to tell Amber that I had just arranged our next vacation, and for the next few days we would look at each other and just say, 'We're going to Russia?' We had talked about a February vacation, but this trip is a little different from the Caribbean cruise we were likely to take." 

The trip includes air and ground transportation; four nights hotel stay in Sochi; tickets to each day's curling competition; official U.S. curling team apparel and pins; and a VIP experience with the U.S. Olympic curling team.

Schaeper began curling in 2010 at the Curling Club of Houston after attending a Learn to Curl session during the 2010 Olympic Games. 

"A chance to watch curling in Sochi will be amazing," he said. "All of my curling has been in Texas, on arena ice, so watching the game in person on real curling ice will be a new experience. I'm also looking forward to experiencing the Olympic atmosphere and watching the U.S. teams, especially Team Shuster, earn some redemption after struggling in Vancouver."

Schaeper works as a software administrator for Phonoscope, a Houston-based telecom. His girlfriend of 18 years, Amber Dunten, will be joining him in Sochi.