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Threepeat Curling in Vegas

Follow #SamInVegas this week, starting Thursday

By Sam Corea

In 2013, I began seeing TV ads showing scenes of curling action cut with the bright lights of Sin City and an announcer asking the question “Curling in Vegas?”  Well, here we are four years later with the third edition of the Continental Cup of Curling in Las Vegas.  And here I go again to take in the Vegas curling experience for the third time, and for your benefit, dear reader.

It seems Las Vegas has become a permanent stop on the international curling event calendar. And it’s Canadian travellers who are supporting curling in Vegas, despite the lower value of the loonie, as they look for any reason to escape the winter cold to enjoy some desert sun and curling.  I am one of those Canadians this year, as the usually mild West Coast winter weather has been anything but balmy with sub-zero temperatures and half a dozen snowfalls in Vancouver since December. So, sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-teens, coupled with watching Team North America battle with Team World will help chase away the January blues.

In 2014, the teams were scouting each other in Vegas as that edition of the Continental Cup was held just weeks before the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Last year’s edition, in my view, suggested that the teams were more focused on friendly competition and fun.

This year, with the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games just 13 months away, organizers tell us the event is a chance for curling fans to get an advance look at many of the teams who will be chasing gold in South Korea (and we’ll have lots to say about that in future editions of The Curling News).

Of course, we’ve got some curlers who’ve been to many Continental Cups and the last two editions in Vegas. But there are many first-timers this year, so I’ll be looking to get their impressions of curling in the desert (along with Elvis and Marylin Monroe impersonators escorting them onto the ice) for my social media posts this week and weekend, which you can follow on two platforms: The Curling News Twitter feed and also on The Curling News Facebook page.

During last year’s Cup in Vegas, the former director of marketing for Tourism Nevada told me that Canadians love Nevada and they love curling, so hosting these events in the land of casinos, big buffets and showgirls is a natural fit. And the slogan adopted by those involved – Las Vegas Rocks – just seems to roll off the tip of the tongue.

Attendance for the 2016 Continental Cup topped 62,000 – the most people to ever watch a curling event in the United States.  Officials are gambling that the success of the 2014, 2016 and 2017 Cup events will result in even more bums in the seats in the spring of 2018, when the Orleans Arena hosts the Men’s World Curling Championship – soon after the PyeongChang Olympic Games.

I don’t think the novelty of being in an arena in Vegas filled with curling fans has worn off yet. In fact, as I tell folks I’m heading to Vegas for a curling competition, some still raise an eyebrow, but admit that it seems like something fun to do in January.

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Big curling event to Vegas

Woo-hoo! Is Sweden’s Niklas Edin goin’ to Vegas?

The news has just been revealed: a major curling championship is headed to Las Vegas.

But what’s this? The December 2012 issue of The Curling News is due to arrive this week – it’s in the mail, actually – and you’re telling me that this Vegas news is on the cover? Howzzat?

Oh yeah. It’s Vegas, baby.

Here’s an opening excerpt from our December 2012 cover story, penned by ace columnist Larry Wood:

The gamut of prospects fairly boggles the mind. To say nothing of frying a cranial nerve or two… or even seven.

We’re talking here about curling in glittery, gaudy, downtown Las Vegas.

Make that international curling in glittery, gaudy, downtown Las Vegas. Involving the finest rockchucking dudes and dollies on the planet, don’t you know?

Of course, we have to be kidding, right? Well, now that you mention it, no. This is not a joke. And it’s not just a crazy dream, either. It’s bona fide championship curling in Sin City. Indeed!

Like, close the front door, right? What, in the name of Ken Watson, will they think of next? Mixed doubles in the Galapagos, perhaps?

Leave it to the combine of global curling nabobery – the World Curling Federation, USA Curling and the Canadian Curling Association. It has announced… practically simultaneous to TCN press time, you understand… that the 2014 edition of the World Financial Group Continental Cup will be staged in glittery, gaudy, you-know-where.

To be precise, the 10th edition of curling’s answer to Ryder Cup golf is slated Jan. 16-19 for the swank Orleans Arena, home to hockey’s Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL (formerly East Coast Hockey League), not to mention a couple of NCAA basketball tournaments.

Oh yes! It’ll be the first Continental Cup to hold forth outside the borders of Canada… and isn’t that about time?And the first for a Vegas curling event of practically any magnitude.

What’s that, you inquire?

Will there be casino chaperones for the participants? Also the media hacks who suddenly will find any excuse to cover this particular curling event?

Can you say “Team World Booze Ban Continues”?

Any bets on which men’s team will wake up with hangovers and a tiger in the bathroom? Chickens on the floor? How about that fun bunch with the gaily-coloured trousers?

Verily, it should be quite a rock concert. The Orleans Arena comes adjacent to its own hotel and casino. So the whole shebang will be centered in one just-off-the-strip location – on West Tropicana just a few blocks west of the real biggies, in fact.

The Orleans casino is the second largest in Vegas, and the complex includes 2,000 hotel rooms, 70 lanes of bowling, 18 movie theatres and 12 restaurants.

The horseshoe-shaped arena opened in May, 2003, featuring 5,736 permanent seats plus 1,405 retractable seats on the open end of the horseshoe. There is separate handicapped seating, plus 20 VIP suites seating between 12 and 22 and two larger party suites that will accommodate up to 36 each – likely, in this case, the back-room panjandrums of the curling world.

But there’s still more – a separate club seating section that holds another 248…

Alas folks, that’s all we’re going to leave you with; you’ll just have to grab (ie. subscribe to get) a copy of the December issue to read all the rest… a rest which includes many more details, including not one but two additional tales of of Vegas curling that are contained in our sport’s lore – from both the past and the very current present, in fact.

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