Local curlers to attend Continental Cup of Curling in Las Vegas
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | January 5, 2017|
Las Vegas rocks. Curling rocks that is.
Ever since it made its debut in Las Vegas in 2014, the annual Continental Cup of Curling has turned heads across the globe and is expected to draw more than 55,000 spectators when it starts Jan. 12.
Twenty local curlers, most of them members of the Haliburton Curling Club, will be in attendance.
“Curling events have really exploded and become very fan friendly,” said Kent Milford, one of the curling club members who decided to go to Vegas to watch the event live.
“Vegas has taken the event and has ran with it.”
Before Vegas started hosting the event, the Continental Cup of Curling bounced around different venues after it was first hosted by Regina, SK in 2002.
The competition pits Team North America against Team World in a Ryder Cup-style golf tournament, and each side consists of six teams, made up of both men and women.
For team North America, four teams are determined by the Canadian Curling Association, based on recent participation at either the Canada Cup of Curling, the World Curling Championship, or the Olympic Winter Games. The other two North American teams are determined by the United States Curling Association.
Winners of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the Tim Hortons Brier championships automatically qualify for team North America.
Team World is built with a more invitational approach, but the previous season’s records still play a big factor.
Team North America is on a four-year winning streak.
This is going to be Milford’s first time attending the Continental Cup.
“It really just came down to a bunch of us sitting around and saying, ‘this looks like a lot of fun why don’t we go?’” he said.
Although no one from Haliburton has made it to the Continental Cup, Milford is confident that will happen one day.
“We have a lot of talent here, a lot of young talent, too,” he said, while pointing to the many banners hanging on the curling club’s walls.
The Las Vegas patch, a massive after-party for visitors and curlers, is something the group is very much looking forward to as well.
Jon Killoran, chief executive officer for the 2017 World Financial Group Continental Cup, says curlers are a tight-knit group and that Las Vegas is the perfect venue for an event like this.
“We have more than one million Canadians visit [Las Vegas] each year,” Killoran said, adding the convenience of having the curling event on one property makes it an even more attractive destination for Canadians.
The cup takes places at the Orleans Arena, which is a stone’s throw from the Orleans Casino, and ends Jan. 15.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.