2013 House of Hearts: Our skins vote goes to...

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BEFORE: The HOH Skins voting is fierce

BEFORE: The HOH Skins voting is fierce

by George Karrys

First, some background. Then, the reveal.

The House of Hearts celebrity/charity curling wahoo has been going on in Duluth, Minnesota for over a decade and has raised over U.S. $300,000 for regional healthcare in that time.

In the time-honoured tradition of the charity ’spiel, curling stars of various degrees of notoriety are flown into town and the bonspiel participants are individually assigned to the skips to form teams for the weekend.

The top fundraisers also get to select their celebrity skip – naturally.

New this year is a Celebrity Skins Showdown, a mini (four-end) made-for-webstreaming exhibition game that will kick off this weekend’s event.

A cool crowdfunding page was created and donors to the page earned player votes, which they then assigned to one or more celebrity skips, depending on the amount donated.

The top vote-getters will comprise the eight skins competitors, who can be watched live on the interweb this Friday (2:00pm CST) via 12th End Sports Network (TESN).

Donations closed last night and topped out at over U.S. $1,700... and The Curling News was a part of this extra event fundraiser.

Guess who?

Guess who?

We were proud to donate, and we received a “Say Who’s Playin’” vote package in return – giving us the fearsome power of 40 votes.

Hmm. What to do? Who to choose?

We considered the vote count as of 3:30pm yesterday (graphic at top) and noted that with at least 80 votes still to be cast, there was a chance the top eight celebs chosen for the game would be all-American.

Now, as cool as that would be, we decided this could not be allowed to happen. This Skins Showdown needs to be international in scope.

Sorry, but one of the Canadian celebs simply must take part in this epic curling bonanza that is sure to burn a hole into our eyeballs on Saturday. That was our initial reaction, anyway.

We then considered who the most likely Canadian candidate could and should be. In other words, we attempted to devise a strategy.

It probably had to be someone on the bubble who, with a 40-vote boost from The Curling News, would be the best bet for a place in the final eight.

We thought some more, and began to note a few more interesting items about the Canuck we were zeroing in on:

AFTER: The Curling News gave a boost to Chelsea

AFTER: The Curling News gave a boost to Chelsea

• She is a she;

• She is a Women of Curling Calendar Girl, from the 2011 edition;

• She has previously and gloriously fulfilled her sacred duty as an HOH Opening Night Nurse;

• She openly lobbied for our vote on Twitter last night.

Thus, our decision was made. Winnipeg skip Chelsea Carey (photo) who leads her Morden, Manitoba team on the World Curling Tour, has now earned 40 HOH Celebrity Skins Showdown votes!

This means – at least for now – that our Calendar Girl has vaulted from a risky seventh place up to solid fifth (new graphic left).

Who would you have voted for, and why? “Leave a Comment” below...

[Image copyright® Women of Curling Calendar/The Curling News and Personal Expressions]