Curling club a finalist for ‘Kraft’ tour

Lucas Punkari

Now that their bid has been selected as one of 20 finalists for this year’s “Kraft Celebration Tour,” Fort Frances Curling Club members Patrick Briere and Ron Silver are hard at work at getting the word about what is next.
“What we are really focused on doing right now is to get the community involved and to get people excited about July 19, when the [online] voting will take place,” Briere said.
“If we can beat Dryden in that vote, then we will get the $25,000 that will go towards the club and TSN will come here, for sure, to hold a live episode of SportsCentre,” he added.
The curling club’s bid was announced as one of the 20 finalists on Sunday evening on TSN following the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, although Briere didn’t find out about what happened right away.
“I was actually down on the beach at that time, and I got a phone call from Barb Roy’s brother from Kenora telling me about it,” he recalled.
“Once I got back to my computer, I got the conformation e-mail about our bid being one of the finalists,” he added.
“But we knew nothing about it prior to [that].”
The bid of Briere and Silver was one of two submitted from the curling club, with the other one being sent in by Muskie curler Hailey Beaudry.
In order to become one of the 10 grand prize winners, the curling club’s bid now will go up against one from Dryden in a 24-hour online vote, which will last from 11 a.m. (CDT) on Friday, July 19 until 10:59 a.m. (CDT) on Saturday, July 20.
“That should add some extra flavour to it,” Briere said of the match-up against Dryden, whose bid is hoping to go towards improving its high school track.
“We like to compete against Dryden in hockey and other sports, so hopefully we can get the community to come together and get onboard to beat Dryden,” he reasoned.
Each of the 10 winning communities will receive $25,000 for improving a community project or creating a new one, as well as host a live broadcast of TSN’s SportsCentre in August.
“There will be an entire event made out of that day,” Silver explained.
“There will be a big family barbecue that is sponsored by Kraft, a family fun zone, and the TSN broadcast that will be here.
“It also looks like it will be Jennifer Hedger and Darren Dutchyshen that would be here hosting the show, as well, if we were successful in our bid,” Silver added.
If the Fort bid is one of the 10 winners, the local curling club will use the money to help offset the outstanding debt from its new geothermal heating system, and to ensure the viability of the club going forward.
But in order to receive that money and to have the opportunity to host SportsCentre, the club’s bid first has to first the online vote. As such, the drive is on to let people know about how they can do that.
“They can go online to the ‘Kraft Celebration Tour’ website and vote as often as they can during that 24-hour period,” Silver noted.
“So right now, we are looking to spread the word out to as many people as we can in town, and to also have them tell their friends and family, especially those who aren’t in Fort Frances or who used to live here and are now elsewhere,” he added.
Prior to that, the curling club plans to strike a volunteer committee to help out with what happens next, which will be discussed at the club’s board meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. the Kitchen Creek clubhouse.
“We would like to have as many people help out with that to take care of things along the way, so people who want to be involved can come to that meeting or call the club at 274-6667,” Silver said.
“One of the things that we are really striving for is to have a strong organizing committee and a strong volunteer base, and we hope that we can have that,” echoed Briere.
“But our biggest thing is to have people get out and vote, and that’s our number-one focus right now,” he stressed.