World Curling Tour men’s event coming

Penticton will welcome curling’s top players over four days in October.

A player delivers his rock during a World Curling Tour St. Paul Cash Spiel in Minnesota on Oct. 7 to 9, 2016. The Penticton Curling Club will host an annual WCT event, with its first being on Oct. 20 to 23, 2017. Rich Harmer Photography/World Curling Tour

Penticton will welcome curling’s top players over four days in October.

The Penticton Curling Club (PCC) is hosting its first annual World Curling Tour (WCT) mens cash ($50,000 purse) bonspiel Oct. 20 to 23 with 24 teams. PCC manager Cathy Jones said they could never get the Brier as the South Okanagan Events Centre is too small. The club made a decision to pursue a cash/point bonspiel for the men. Jones said this will enhance their club and get members excited with world class curlers coming.

“It promotes tourism through Penticton, which is very important as well in the down times,” said Jones. “It’s a win-win situation for all of us.”

Jones said having this event enhances the club just by providing members with a high calibre of curling to watch. It can be instrumental in creating excitement in the club.

“Maybe you will have new curlers come in to play or the new curlers that have joined just this year come in to watch that type of calibre gets them excited, gets them more interested,” she said. “Keeps the club active and alive.”

Cash and points are the key for teams in the standings. St. John’s Nfld. product Brad Gushue is the current leader in the Order of Merit with 957.299 points, but is second in earnings with $112, 895, behind Sweden’s Niklas Edin, who has $139,469.

Jones credited member Matt Tolley, as well as John Morris’ team of Jim Cotter, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky, who compete on the tour, with helping get the bonspiel. Jones said those curlers wanted to see this type of bonspiel out west.

“The team has been instrumental … helping spread the word. Helping with information and direction,” said Jones. “What they would like to see. The bigger the purse, the more teams you get.”

After hosting the club’s Edward Jones Tin Cup bonspiel in January, Tolley said hosting a WCT event “is a very big deal.”

Along with getting a group of volunteers, now the club needs to raise $50,000 to pay out the winning. They need sponsorship to cover costs. Jones added the more money they are able to get, the more curlers will come to the bonspiel. Jones said if 50 business took on the $1,000 sponsor packages, that takes care of the purse.

“This is really just fresh. The club will start coming around in the month of March with packages,” said Jones, adding they are seeking cash sponsors.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a team is asked to contact Jones at 250-492-5647. Jones said she will come and make presentations to potential sponsors.

The PCC has experience with hosting events, with the biggest being the Continental Cup in 2013 and they recently won the bid to have the Scotties Tournament of Hearts come in 2018.