Curling has deep roots in the Okanagan and a group is trying to strengthen them even more by bringing a world championship to Penticton.
The Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Canada’s Women’s Curling Championship, is one of the longest running curling events, dating back to 1982. An effort is being made to have Penticton Rock The Bid to achieve 1,000 deposits on full event passes to increase the chance of a successful bid.
Michelle Pratt, who lives and curls in Penticton, is part of the Penticton Scotties Bid Committee and is excited about the prospect of bringing the championship here.
“I have always been not just a curler, but a curling fan,” said Pratt. “I am thrilled at the possibility that Penticton has an opportunity to be part of such an amazing event.”
Pratt played out of Oliver as a teen and won the B.C. High School Championship in 1985 with Julie and Jodie Sutton, who went on to be a force for years in Canadian women’s curling.
Pratt has been an active Penticton Curling Club member for many years and has been involved in supporting a number of curling events, including the 2013 Continental Cup of Curling, which took place in Penticton.
B.C. has hosted The Scotties three times in its 34-year-history, with the last one in Vancouver in 1997. Prince George hosted in 1983 and Kelowna in 1989 — the Penticton committee said it’s time to bring it back to B.C. They said one of the benefits is the exposure Penticton will receive with more than 11 million Canadians who watch curling on TV each year. Over seven million Canadian viewers watched some part of the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts on TSN.
Penticton was represented at this level of competition before when they sent a team to The Brier in 1975. Skip Frank Beutle, Ray Jones, Don Wood and lead Bob Partridge represented British Columbia in Fredericton, NB. Although it didn’t result in a championship, it was an experience that Wood will never forget.
“New Brunswick put on a quite a show for us, treated us like royalty,” he said.
Back then they used corn brooms and played 12-end games, making for a long day.
When asked what inspired him to curl, Wood is quick to explain.
“I was a rink rat, my father took me down to the rink when I was five or six.”
When Wood hung up his curling broom, his son Brad Wood took over in the hacks.
A strong response, achieving 1,000 deposits of $100 on full event passes, by June 20 will greatly increase the chance of a successful bid. Orders can be placed at Valley First Box office at the SOEC, Wine Country Visitors Centre, via phone at 1-877-SOEC-TIX (250-763-2849) or ValleyFirstTix.com. Additional information on the event can be viewed at www.rockthebid.com.