The Amazing Race season 21 debuted on Sunday night with a dramatic flourish, requiring the participating pairs to rappel off a Pasadena, California, bridge to get their first clue, then play ping pong with a youth champion and eat frog fallopian tubes in Shanghai, China. Engaged couple Rob Scheer, 52, and Sheila Castle, 44, were the unlucky team to be sent home first and ETonline is catching up with the disappointed lumberjack and retail manager.
ETOnline: What made you decide to compete on The Amazing Race?
Rob: Well, you know I think for me, you know I've lead an adventurous life and a very athletic life and, you know, you see The Amazing Race and you think, I would think a lot of people think, 'Oh, I want to do that,' but I truly look at it as being an opportunity to challenge me in a way that I truly, you know, I look for those kind of challenges worldwide. I mean I want to go out there and conquer the world. So it made me want to do 'The Amazing Race'!
ETOnline: What kind of challenge were you most afraid that they would throw at you?
Sheila: Well for me, it would be heights, 'cause I actually am scared of heights. Then, can you believe it, the first thing [was] rappelling off that bridge? But I have to brag on myself, and I remind Rob of that often, I did not hesitate. You know, he [was] like, 'The one thing you can't do if we get a challenge like that, like bungee jumping or something like that, climbing up a skyscraper—just don't hesitate.' And as soon as they said, you know we were clear to go, I went. And of course Rob, who's really not intimidated by heights or anything, he of course went right with me.
Rob: The only thing that I was worried about was navigation error. You know, one of those simple, simple errors that adds time to your race. … And of course right away in LA, we made a navigation error that cost us from being on the first plane but, that was my worry.
ETOnline: Having done the race, what would you say was the hardest part?
Sheila: Well, for us I think it was being eliminated the first leg. … It was really, you know it was heartbreaking for us 'cause we were just so committed, we wanted to go the whole way, and I think our motivation truly was about just being in the race in this ultimate competition, I mean this ultimate adventure, and we were just so on board for it.
Rob: We were so ready. You know my biggest disappointment was that, you know, in the first leg, I was waiting for that big challenge, like a big challenge [like scaling] up the side of a large building or [building] something or, [using] our physical endurance, and I [ended up playing] ping pong with a little kid and Sheila ate fallopian tubes. I was really looking forward, [hoping that there would be a bottleneck], and [we'd] be able to jump out in front again, and in true race style they threw that curve at us, and the little mistakes we made ended up being hugely costly. You know, we looked for the abacus in a bank… on the Bund. We should've been running up and down the Bund for an hour like everybody else was. But we spent forty-five minutes looking through these three banks, and when we finally got out on the Bund where it was, we found it fairly quickly. You know, my biggest disappointment was I didn't get to do the challenges that I really prepared myself for. You know the big, hard challenges.
Sheila: Obviously, he did not eat frog fallopian tubes because those were pretty big hard challenges, I'm gonna just say it. You know 'cause, especially when your mind, you just couldn't let your mind think about what you were eating.
Rob: I heard they taste like marshmallows.
ETOnline: I was going to ask you, what did they taste like? And were they sweetened somehow?
Sheila: There wasn't really a flavor, or maybe it's 'cause I was just like, you know, whole mouth just swallow, but I don't recall a flavor. It was the texture was just so disgusting it was really, it was challenging.
ETOnline: Did you get the impression that was something that was commonly eaten [in Shanghai], or was it kind of unusual?
Sheila: I think that it was even unusual there, because did you see some of those people and their horrified faces? I'm like thinking that was not just a regular dessert. I think even the locals felt sorry for us.
ETOnline: Especially since putting it in a papaya shell doesn't really change what it is.
Sheila: Exactly, they're pretty but…
Rob: Hey that wasn't so bad, Sheila, come on, you did not have to play ping pong with a kid with a pan, I mean, let's be serious okay? I was traumatized, I mean this eight-year old Chinese kid has got a pan, and I gotta, you know, I gotta beat him in ping pong, you know? That's trauma.
ETOnline: That looked really hard because most people don't play ping pong regularly, and that kid probably dedicates his life to it.
Sheila: Yeah, that's why I was like 'Rob, you take this one…”
Rob: Yeah it was like… his third serve that I got him, so I was pretty happy about that, 'cause we got out of there right away.
Sheila: We were feeling good when we left there. It was like right away out of there and you know I think I did the fallopian tubes really fast, so we're again feeling really good. … Then we headed towards the Bund and then the bank happened.
ETOnline: I wanted to ask you guys how your wedding planning is coming, or if you've already gotten married?
Sheila: We got married August 5th up here in Hayward, Wisconsin, in a beautiful lodge on the lake, it was really beautiful.
ETOnline: Great, congratulations. Do you think you'll apply any lessons you learned in the race in your married life?
Sheila: Rob is a very successful, determined man. When he sets his mind to something, you know it's really hard to change it, and he's direct, and you know it can be challenging sometimes, and I think the one thing we did find on the race about our relationship is truly, regardless of what we're doing, it comes first. And you know we didn't have any conflict, I think we worked together very well, and we're good partners and that's our life plan.
ETOnline: Watching Amazing Race, it seems like it either strengthens couples or tears them apart, so you seem like you did well.
Rob: Yeah, you know, I took away from it this one thing [that] life is, first of all we're amazingly blessed, not only to live in this country, to have our health, but to have a person in my life like Sheila, I just realized just how truly lucky we are. But no matter where you are in the world, if you have a person that you really are truly blessed to have in your life, it doesn't matter what's thrown at you, at the end of the day, you're happy, you're safe, you can move on and so as depressing as it was to lose that race, Sheila and I both looked at each other and said our life starts again today. This won't haunt either one of us because we have each other and that's what counts.
ETOnline: Of all the teams, which one do you think will win?
Sheila: My favorite, and [the team] I absolutely adore, is Trey and Lexi. You know, just really sweet, American young kids living the dream, and real sweet kids. I mean we both just fell for them right away. I mean obviously they're athletic, very fast, very smart, and they're good people.
Rob: There's three or four teams that can win, no question about it ... but both of us agree Trey and Lexi, even though they are young, they have what it took to win, and then we immediately pulled for them and we want them to win.
The Amazing Race airs Sunday nights at 8/7 c on CBS.