Jan. 24—BLOOMER — Two Bloomer siblings have been selected to compete in a YouTube-based reality competition that is similar to the CBS show "Survivor." In June, they will head to Minnesota to film the 12 episodes at an undisclosed camp site over four days.
Mitch Goettl, 26, and his sister, Samantha Bowe, 31, are among the 24 competitors for season seven of "Live to Give — Minnesota, Dynamic Duos."
"It's like Survivor on steroids," Goettl said. "You'll compete in physically and mentally grueling challenges. You only have a few hours between each vote. We're coming out as a dynamic duo, but ultimately, only one person wins the grand prize."
One problem though — neither of them have really camped often in their lives.
"I've only been camping twice in my life, and it downpoured both times," Goettl said with a laugh.
Bowe said she's gone camping with friends, but stayed in campers.
"I did a little camping as a kid," Bowe said. "I've never really 'tented' before."
As children, they grew up watching reality TV shows together and imagined what it would be like to be selected to compete.
"I've watched every season of Survivor, probably more than once, and also the Amazing Race," Bowe said.
Goettl, who now lives in Madison, knew someone who works on the show, and he got an application. They sent it in last summer, never expecting to hear back. They got a call in November to do a casting call via video conference.
They answered questions together and individually, with many questions about how they would work together.
"I was extremely surprised," Bowe said. "We assumed they picked the cast."
The siblings then learned right around Christmas they were picked. They are among 12 teams, 24 people total, from across the country. They have been able to read up on their competition, such as what charities they are competing for, but aren't allowed to contact them.
The siblings agreed they didn't think they'd get selected because they consider themselves rather boring and ordinary, and don't have a large social media presence.
"It was definitely a surreal moment of excitement, and a little bit of panic," Bowe said. "It is still hitting me this is actually happening."
Bowe said they have made campfires in a backyard, but never started one without a lighter. She said they now have a bit of time to practice.
The first six seasons of "Live to Give" are available to watch on YouTube now; the sixth season is presently airing. Each season is 12 episodes.
The winning prize is $6,000, which will go toward the winner's selected charity.
Goettl is competing for the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Research Center. He said his great-grandfather had Alzheimer's before he died, and now his grandmother has it. Goettl said he has warm memories of fishing with his great-grandfather and wanted to support that cause.
Bowe learned she had thyroid cancer at age 29. She quickly had surgery, with half of her thyroid removed. She now will have annual checkups to make sure it doesn't return. So, she is playing for the Light of Life Foundation.
"It was very jarring to hear you are a young person with cancer," she said.
Both siblings said they like that the competition is so short, so they don't have to take a lot of vacation time to compete. Bowe also has a three-year-old daughter she wouldn't want to be away from for a month, like a "Survivor" competition. They are eager to begin.
Obviously, the goal is to win for their charity. But Goettl added, "our second goal is just to not be voted out first."
Bowe added: "And it's just icing on the cake that we're raising money for a good cause."
Since its inception in 2016, the show has raised more than $200,000 for charities. Between now and May 31, each contestant must raise funds for their charity. The first $400 goes towards the $6,000 grand prize, and anything over that amount goes directly to their chosen organization. Anyone who would like to help can donate at https://www.payit2.com/e/ltg7.