The Christmas shopping season has eased the mind of provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts co-chair Cory Barkley.
In November, he had a meeting with the provincial women’s curling championship organizing committee and realized there were more volunteers than event passes sold for the event, which will be held in Virden’s Tundra Oil and Gas Place from Jan. 8-14. However, ticket sales picked up in late November and early December so that at least 500 event passes have been sold.
That means almost half of the 1,200 seats in the two-year-old facility will be full for the week-long event, which has Barkley quite happy.
“As far as goals went, we set modest goals for where we want to be and 500 was a number that certainly got discussed,” he said. “… We’re pretty thrilled with that number and now it’s proof in the pudding as far as that goes and making sure that we have a great event for the curlers and for the fans alike.”
The interest in tickets have come from both in Westman and outside of the area, including southeast Saskatchewan. With Virden being so close to the Saskatchewan border, the Scotties organizing committee started advertising the event in towns like Moosomin and Maryfield, and Stacey Fordyce’s Brandon-based team, which has Maryfield native Kelsey Russill at third, securing its spot in the event has helped drum up interest from that area. Brandon’s Kortney Teale is the other Westman representative.
Unfortunately for the organizers, there won’t be any Virden players in the Scotties. Defending champion Jennifer Jones won’t be there either, as she isn’t eligible to play in the national Scotties since she’ll be competing in the Olympics.
Virden was close to getting a representatives as Roxanne Freeman and Darla Hayward were the front end on Maureen Bonar’s squad, but they lost the B-event final in the Westman regionals and then the extra playoff game to Winnipeg’s Quinn Sneisen. That means the closest thing to local players in the field will be Russill and Janelle Schwindt, who grew up in Oak Lake and plays second for Fordyce.
Barkley, however, doesn’t feel those absences will affect the interest in the event.
“This area is curling crazy anyways and it’s starved for a big event like this,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a huge concern. It wouldn’t have hurt tickets sales to have Jennifer there, but regardless, you deal with the hand you get dealt and we certainly wish them well on their quest at the Olympics.”
There are about 300 volunteers for the event, but Barkley said he wouldn’t turn away people if they were interested. Event and day passes are still for sale at Virden School and Office Supplies as well as all Sunrise Credit Unions in Westman.
The event is just a couple weeks away and Barkley hopes to attract more curling fans to the Scotties and keep the buzz in the town going.
“There’s a lot of chatter about it,” he said. “There’s lots of people coming into work everyday and chatting with me about it. It’s exciting for the town for sure.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 30, 2013