Dotted around the Brandt Centre this week are people from every part of Canada, which makes sense, considering the Tim Horton’s Brier is a national championship.
However, there are people in Regina from even farther away than Nunavut — like Ken Baldwin and Bill Bowden, who sit in the stands wearing bright white sweaters covered in stars and stripes.
“Well, we’ve come up from Atlanta, Georgia,” said Baldwin. “Because if you want to see the best curlers in the world and the greatest event, you have to come north to Canada for the Tim Horton’s Brier.”
This isn’t their debut at the Brier, but he said they’re still enjoying it like it’s their first.
“It’s a whole different scenario when you actually get to sit in the stands and see the level of competition that is here,” said Baldwin.
They had all kinds of nice things to say about the event and the city: “All in all it’s been an incredibly positive experience,” he added.
That’s despite Regina’s weather.
“We left Atlanta it was about 68 degrees, peach trees were blooming, everything’s starting to green up. I think that’s maybe 18 or 19 of your Celsius,” said Baldwin with a grin. “Yeah, it’s a little cold. A lot of people giving me a hard time, asking me where my jacket is but, unfortunately, I don’t own a winter jacket, we don’t have much use for them.”
The pair are from a small club in north Atlanta called the Peachtree Curling Club. Baldwin said it has three sheets and they hold a couple of bonspiels a year.
But, ever since the U.S. men’s team won gold in curling at the Pyeongchang Olympics, Bowden noted there’s been a big surge in peoples’ interest.
“We don’t have our final numbers, but probably the two weeks before the Olympics, during the Olympics, two weeks after, we probably had well over a thousand people take learn to curls and introduction to curling at our club. It’s astonishing.”