Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hailey duo to get TV makeover in NYC

?Today? show tags local chimney sweeps

Express Staff Writer

Liz Wallace, left, and Kim Rogers, center, are interviewed at Trail Creek Cabin by a ?Today? show producer, Donna Nichols, left. A segment on their work as chimney sweeps will air on NBC. Photo by Willy Cook

Don't sing "Chim-Chimeny" from "Mary Poppins" to them and don't expect a kiss, though the latter is believed to be lucky. These chimney sweeps are all business.

Hailey residents Kim Rogers and Liz Wallace own and operate Swept Away, a chimney sweep business they inherited from Byron Goheen when he died suddenly in 2003. They'd both worked for him for many years at that point.

Recently, fame came knocking on their door. A producer from NBC's "Today" show, Donna Nicholls, called them one day to ask about doing a segment on them and a few days later was in town. Her crew filmed Rogers and Wallace this week at work as part of the Today's iVillage makeover series.

Once a month, the "Today" show spotlights different women and gives them a makeover. Though they live a casual Wood River Valley life, Wallace and Rogers will be this month's featured makeover recipients, and they are fairly amused by it.

The segment on Wallace and Rogers will air on Monday, March 26, most likely between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. on the "Today" show, after their own four-day New York visit, and a proper makeover.

On Tuesday morning, the women were interviewed by Nicholls in the Trail Creek Cabin in Sun Valley. They laughed about the myths that surround their line of work.

"There are all sorts of weird rituals," Wallace said.

Clients have been known to ask to be touched by them and for a good luck kiss, which Rogers said she politely declines.

Cameraman Paul Thiriot and soundman Sherman Hougland from NBC's Salt Lake City station shot Wallace and Rogers cleaning the historic cabins chimney from above and inside. They are meticulous and as clean as they can be about their work, though by job's end they are covered in soot, with black smears across their faces.

When Thiriot asked Rogers to look down through the chimney for a shot, Wallace blanched.

"The problem is we didn't really clean the chimney," she laughed. "Professionals will know."

They are coming into a busy time for their work, though traditionally autumn is when they get the most calls.

"We're trying to promote spring because last fall we were so busy we couldn't take everyone. Wallace said. We can do 10 houses a day, and with condos, we can check and clean some 50 a day."

"Our favorite job is the lodges (on Bald Mountain), though. We get a ride up with the groomers at 6 a.m. We do four chimneys each in Roundhouse lodge and Seattle Ridge Lodge, including the pizza oven. Then we get to ski the rest of the day."

Nice work, if you can get it.

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