Brandon to host Manitoba\'s first Grand Slam event

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

The Grand Slam is sliding into Manitoba for the first time this fall.

Brandon will host the first of four Slam events during its Fall Fair at the Keystone Centre, Nov. 6-9, The Sun has learned.

\"I don\'t know if I should say anything if it hasn\'t been confirmed yet but we are trying to spread the word here,\" said Steve Gould, lead for Manitoba\'s Jeff Stoughton, a Slam squad. \"It\'s a great opportunity to have a Slam here and the (World Curling Tour) wanted to make the next step to a 5,000-seat arena.\"

The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba, which operates the fair, had asked Gould and Rob Fowler, who plays for Manitoba\'s Kerry Burtnyk (another Slammer) to round up some teams to compete in a cashspiel to replace the rodeo. And the WCT had already been exploring the possibility of hosting a $100,000 Slam event in Manitoba.

\"That\'s curling country but I can\'t confirm anything yet,\" said WCT executive director Chad McMullan.

\"There will already be 2,000 people there for the fair so I think we\'ll be able to fill the building,\" Gould said.

The Slam will continue regardless of whether the Slammers and the CCA resolve their differences before next season.

Gould will still run the second annual Wheat City Classic, Sept. 26-28, which will offer a purse of $55,000-$60,000 and will become a Manitoba Curling Tour event.

Meanwhile, the London Free Press reported that the CCA will officially award the 2005 Olympic trials to London, Ont., at its AGM in June. Brandon, which had successfully hosted the inaugural trials in \'97, was one of the cities bidding for the event. But Reid Lumbard, who helped oversee those trials and the record-setting 1995 world curling championships, is more concerned about landing the 2007 Brier.

\"It\'s the 125th anniversary of the city and it will be 25 years since we hosted a Brier,\" he said. \"They (CCA) had promised us a Brier. Unfortunately, we didn\'t get it in writing.\"

Brandon will also host the 2004 Safeway Select and another MCT event this season.


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