Kerri Einarson and Brad Gushue will be two of the many curlers competing at the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup in Olds this week. The event begins Tuesday. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

Kerri Einarson and Brad Gushue will be two of the many curlers competing at the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup in Olds this week. The event begins Tuesday. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup begins in Olds Tuesday

The KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup is finally coming to Olds.

The event, which is the final event of the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season and features some of the world’s best curlers, including recent Brier champion Team Gushue and Scotties champion Team Einarson, runs from Tuesday to Sunday at the Olds Sportsplex.

Originally scheduled to take place in Olds in 2020, the event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re very excited,” said Nancy McInerney, who is an event co-chair, alongside Gary Gaudette.

“We were just about ready to get into it in March 2020. We had everything pretty much ready, we were just in our final preparations. Then it was just like a hard stop for over a year.”

There was a window where a competition seemed like it could have possibly happened in Olds as well, but the curlers instead competed in the bubble event.

“Last June we got the word that we would be able to do this again. We dug into our notes and our memory banks and got going again,” she said.

The competition features 24 teams from several countries across the globe, including Sweden, Japan and Switzerland.

“For the people of Olds, to see curlers of this calibre here is going to be quite an eye-opener here for how good these players are. There’s quite a dedicated curling fanbase in this area,” said McInerney.

Jennifer Lutz, Olds Curling Club president, said Olds has a long history of being a curling town.

“Our club was formed officially in 1975. But before we were official, curling here goes back almost 100 years. We went through a few different curling rinks – we had the great fire in 1978, which burned down our curling rink. We moved to the Sportsplex in 1980 and have been operating there since,” Lutz said.

On top of its curling history, Olds has a legacy of “embracing events” as well, Lutz added.

“It’s a really great community for bringing people together,” she said.

“I know our ticket sales have been good, so we know it’s going to be a full house. There are lots of opportunities for people to participate.”

Lutz said the people of Olds are fortunate an event of this calibre is coming to town.

“We’re thankful we can host the event with fans. The event would’ve looked a lot different if we couldn’t have included fans, so it was worth the wait to do it,” said Lutz.

Off of the curling rink, the Grand Slam of Curling Social House will feature food, drinks, games, local live music and more.

“The Town of Olds has stepped up and supported us in this event and the payback for them is we bring people to the Town of Olds. One of the things we wanted to do was showcase some local talent in the Social House,” said McInerney.

Liz Christensen and Dustin Farr will perform Thursday, and Devin Cooper and Girl Crush will perform both Friday and Saturday.

For more information, or to buy tickets, visit thegrandslamofcurling.com/events/champions-cup.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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