Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Carey crew hits the jackpot

Top-flight foursome finds the roaring game can turn a nice profit

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They had lofty goals coming into the season and they wildly exceeded them.

Chelsea Carey and her foursome -- third Kristy Jenion, second Kristen Foster and lead Lindsay Titheridge -- did not win a Manitoba women's championship or a Players Championship this season, nor did they feature in a winter-long soap opera of firings, hirings and hurt feelings.

What they did was very quietly and very efficiently go about their business, and business was very, very good in 2010-11.

The Carey foursome provided the Free Press with unheard-of access to their team's finances this winter. Back in October, the idea was to provide readers with a glimpse of just how expensive it is for four ordinary women with ordinary jobs to try fitting a competitive curling schedule into their lives.

But as so often happens, the facts got in the way of a good story and in the process created an even better one as the Carey crew put together a truly remarkable season the likes of which none of them had ever been part of before.

"We had expectations that we would get to this level eventually," Carey said this week, "but we didn't necessarily expect that we would get there this year.

"It happened faster than we thought it would. We knew this team had the potential to do what it is doing, but it all jelled very quickly."

There was disappointment -- crushing disappointment, in fact, when a remarkable undefeated run through the women's provincials in Altona in January ended with their only loss of the week coming in the final to Cathy Overton-Clapham.

A good playdowns is one measure of success for a curling team. The other is the red ink and black ink of financial statements, and in that regard the Carey foursome were wildly successful, turning a final profit on their season of $51,878.75.

That might not look like a lot, but it's a king's ransom in the world of women's curling, where the overwhelming majority of teams lose money and those who turn a profit often measure it in dimes and nickels.

The biggest payday came in the final event of the season just last weekend. A quarter-final performance at the Players Championship in Grande Prairie, Alta., earned the Carey team a $6,000 payday, but more importantly allowed them to finish second on the overall money list and pick up a cheque from Grand Slam sponsor Capital One for $25,000.

"The money to qualify is great," Carey said, "but the $25,000? I cannot even fathom that amount. We're going to get a cheque in the mail for $25,000. None of us have ever seen that amount in our entire lives. It's completely walking-on-air surreal right now.

"I think that I made more this year curling than I ever have before -- combined. And that was without the 25 grand, frankly."

Carey said the team will reinvest some of the money in themselves for next season, but will also enjoy it a little with a team vacation in Las Vegas next month.

-- Wiecek

Here's a list of some of the major expenses and revenues for the Chelsea Carey team in the 2010-11 curling season and the team's final balance for the year:

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2011 C4

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