Lacombians are gearing up to host women’s curling championship

The 2015 Jiffy Lube Scotties Tournament of Hearts runs Jan. 21st-25th

The 2015 Jiffy Lube Scotties Tournament of Hearts is only a couple of weeks away and Lacombians are working very hard to ensure the City is ready for the event.

From Jan. 21st-25th, curlers and spectators will gather at the Lacombe Sports and Leisure Complex to watch athletes compete for provincial titles.

The 2015 Alberta Scotties Host Committee has been putting forth great amounts of effort to ensure a successful week for all involved.

“Things are really coming together well with the committee as a whole. The facilities are basically ready to be transformed into four sheets of curling ice, and we have a provincial man who is coming in to do that.

“We’ve also got people set up to work with him to set up all the chairs and private booths,” said Host Committee Facilities Chairman Martin Sherrer.

“We will transform the curling rink as it is now into a Scotties Patch. There will be entertainment every night, with dancing and music. It should be a great thing for Lacombe and the area.”

Tickets for the tournament can be purchased through the Lacombe Curling Club office, weekdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or from the Curling Club Lounge, Monday through Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m.

Opening ceremonies begin on Jan. 21st at 6 p.m.

This is a chance to be introduced to teams, as well to witness some dances performed by local dance groups in town. That night, children get in free with parents’ admission.

The Committee’s work began months ago with efforts to get the City on par with the idea of hosting, and then coordinating efforts to share the arena spaces. Minor hockey, ringette and figure skaters have agreed to relocate and offer their time to the tournament.

Sherrer said he is excited for the competition because several up-and-coming curlers will be playing and trying to make their mark as provincial champions.

Team Sweeting, led by Valerie Sweeting, will return to defend their current title as provincial champions.

A few other big names in curling will be participating, including Canadian and World Junior Champion Heather Nedohin and Chelsea Carey, 2014 Manitoba Provincial Women’s Curling Champions. Carey will be curling with a team of ladies who made their way up through the junior system, making them a young team on the scene.

“Nedohin will be curling with a local girl from Red Deer. Carey has a very young, exciting team and all of those names are big draws for people to come and watch this tournament,” Sherrer said.

“There is a big change in curling across the country, as new teams are coming in and starting to take over – Sweeting being one of them.

“There are some new teams coming in that could win for the province, and they will be here.

“Whether or not they pull through and become champions, I don’t know, but it will be entertaining,” he added.

Sherrer also said that Lacombe is just about ready to go, with only a few minor details remaining before the games go online. He said that due to limited storage, items such as foam and rocks will also be coming in after the Farmers and Farmerettes Bonspiel is complete.

Entertainment for the tournament will include a variety of performers from Randi Boulton, Porter, St. James’ Gate, Freetown to an Elvis tribute show and Tracy Miller with Bill Hanson.

Boulton’s latest CD, Randi With An ‘I’, was released last spring.

Sometimes Life was released in 2012.

Boulton was raised on a farm just outside of Big Valley and has lived in both Red Deer and Lacombe. Music has always been a passion, and she’s essentially self-taught.

Besides being a natural on the piano, her compelling vocal strengths, which run the gamut from tender and sweet to strong and gritty, have always stood out and steadily attracted a loyal legion of fans.

Meanwhile, organizers are emphasizing that the event in general will pretty much have something for everyone.

“We have had a huge sponsorship and we will draw a huge crowd.

“I would like to encourage people to come and take part in it. The curling is going to be entertaining, and the entertainment will be great. For the most part, we are ready and excited and we are looking forward to a great time.”

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com