The 2022 Red Deer Curling Classic will begin this weekend with plenty of world-class talent on display.
For the past 22 years, the Classic has held the top-calibre bonspiel at the Pidherney Centre and is one of central Alberta’s biggest events on the curling calendar. On the men’s side Team Bottcher, who is ranked third in the world will compete as well as fifth-ranked Team Dunstone and sixth-ranked Team Koe.
On the women’s side, fourth-ranked Team Fujisawa and fifth-ranked Team Lawes will compete for the top prize.
A total of 56 teams will compete but there is also plenty of local talent including former Red Deerian Brittany Tran who is a part of Team Skrlik and the central Alberta-based Team Marla Scherrer.
Tran and the rest of her team are hoping to keep their momentum alive after winning the Ladies Alberta Open in Okotoks last weekend.
“Our team has done well over the last few weekends and I feel like we’re peaking right now. We’re feeling good going into this event after winning the last event in Okotoks,” she said.
Team Skrlik has never won the Red Deer Curling Classic and is vying for the title after approximately 10 years of curling in the event.
“Every year Red Deer has a great field. It’s always top calibre elite teams it’s one of the top events in Alberta and in Canada. Generally, we see a really good field there so I think we’re going to see the same this year. We have some really good teams,” Tran said.
Much of her family and friends she said still live in Red Deer and she is excited to compete at home in front of so many familiar faces.
“I get to have my family and friends cheering us on from the stands so it’s nice to have that support,” she said. “We stay with my family which is nice and they treat us to some good dinners and food so we can’t complain about that.”
The total prize pool for the four-day tournament, which goes from Nov. 18-21, is $76,000. Both men’s and women’s teams will get $38,000 which will be $10,000 for each player.
On Friday the tournament begins at 9:30 a.m. and the final draw begins at 8 p.m. On Saturday the A final is at 4:30 and on Sunday the B final is at 4 p.m. and the C final is at 7:30 p.m. On the final day on Monday, the championship will be played at 3:30 p.m.
Team Marla Scherrer is also returning for another shot at the Red Deer Classic title in their fourth appearance in the tournament.
Scherrer, who is from Lacombe, said they’re excited about the challenge.
“We always love playing in Red Deer. It’s nice we can play close to home and our friends and family can all come to watch,” she said. “It’s a really competitive bonspiel. It’s pretty tough to win.”
On Team Scherrer she is joined by Lacome’s Chantele Broderson and Julie Selvais, as well as Red Deer’s Sarah Drummond. Scherrer said the tournament will have tough competition as some of the top-ranked squads will be in attendance. After a busy season last year, the team agreed to take a lighter tournament load this season. With that being said this tournament will be the squad’s fourth bonspiel.
However, they’re looking forward to seeing where they compare among some of the best in the industry once again.
“I think we need to just take it one shot at a time and game by game,” Scherrer added.