CORNWALL, Ontario – Gord McCrady, Chairperson of the 23rd annual Shorty Jenkins Curling Classic, said the event was just ‘phenomenal’ this weekend.
“Crowds have been exceptionally big and we couldn’t be any happier. Our volunteer core is beyond anything we could believe (as well),” said McCrady, proud of the support and success of the bonspiel.
“The lineup is the best we’ve ever had at the Shorty, both the men and women,” he added, stating the audience turnout was also the highest ever, setting a new local record. But the large numbers did not surprise McCrady, as online ticket sales indicated an evident buzz.
With points towards the Olympics up for grabs for the first time, athletes swept in from Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Sweden, U.S., Canada and more.
“The strength of the field and the prize money…it’s huge for the teams and it’s huge for us as a bonspiel as well, and we are very fortunate to have this quality of athletes in Cornwall,” said McCrady.
The final game kicked off around 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15 between team Jacobs and Epping of ON in the men’s division, and team Jones of MB and Fleury of ON in the women’s division.
“Jacobs and Epping, they were the two finalists last year as well…Epping won last year,” said McCrady, adding that Matt Camm of team Epping is originally of Cornwall, and Jacobs is a former Olympic gold medalist.
“I’m expecting it to be a close game because they’re both exceptional teams (in each division) but you never know in curling,” said McCrady.
Jones came out on top, with a 7-0 record at the Classic and a final win of 6-4 over Fleury. Epping also defended their title, winning 5-3 in the final game.
The winning men’s team took home $15,000 and women’s $10,000. When asked why there is a difference in prize money between the two gender teams, McCrady explained that female athletes pay $850 to participate in the event and men $1,250. Next year, both men and women will pay the same entry fee and prize money will be equal.
“This is the longest running bonspiel in the world in our…and one of the best run…I asked teams how can we improve and they said ‘you can’t improve the best,'” said McCrady.