Skip Kevin Koe watching after he released a shot early in the finals of the World Curling Tour Ashley Home Store Curling Classic in Penticton. Koe’s rink defeated Niklas Edin’s rink in the extra end to win the event. Kristi Patton/Western News                                Skip Kevin Koe watching after he released a shot early in the finals of the World Curling Tour Ashley Home Store Curling Classic last year in Penticton.                                Western News file photo

Skip Kevin Koe watching after he released a shot early in the finals of the World Curling Tour Ashley Home Store Curling Classic in Penticton. Koe’s rink defeated Niklas Edin’s rink in the extra end to win the event. Kristi Patton/Western News Skip Kevin Koe watching after he released a shot early in the finals of the World Curling Tour Ashley Home Store Curling Classic last year in Penticton. Western News file photo

Ashley Homestore Curling Classic returns to Penticton

Kevin Koe returns to Penticton to defend his title

Kevin Koe returns to Penticton to defend his Ashley Homestore Curling Classic title, which starts on Friday.

It came down to just millimetres in the final last year, with the measuring stick coming out to determine that Koe’s team would walk away with the $18,000 prize — defeating Niklas Edin.

The year, the event has drawn out 24 teams including; Reid Carruthers, Glen Muirhead, Brendan Bottcher and Jim Cotter (Vernon).

Penticton curlers, skipped by Matt Tolley, will have their first game against Sean Geall (Kelowna) on Friday.

The event also features up-and-coming curlers like Tyler Tardi, who won a gold medal at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics and the gold medal at the 2018 World Junior Curling Championship.

Penticton Curling Club manager Cathy Jones said there are so many great teams she couldn’t pick a favourite.

“Oh, that’s an unfair question. Anyone can win because we have such great calibre of players here.

We have so many local teams on the cusp of getting to the Brier, let alone curlers like Koe, Epping, Botcher, Cotter, Carruthers — these are all talented men who have been on the circuit for years so it is going to be really close matches,” said Jones.

Jones said tickets have gone fast and they are down to slim amount left.

While it not only is a great event for those who like to watch curling, the club itself has also benefitted from hosting the classic.

“We had clinics run by some of these curlers and every member that participated learned something, whether they were young, middle age or older. We had every age group out there and it was brilliant,” said Jones.

From the volunteers and teams travelling to Penticton to the sponsors and ice crews — Jones said she is appreciative of the work that has gone into hosting.

The Ashley Homestore Curling Classic final takes place on Nov. 26 at the Penticton Curling Club.