The old adage about curling being the sport of the common man was driven home last week.
Randy Ferbey and his crew were all able to quit their jobs, dedicate their time to the roarin' game and haul in a record $247,000 last season.
But, count Kevin Martin among the working stiffs who still need to supplement their curling habit with day jobs.
Martin may be luckier than some, operating a sports supplies store at the Saville Centre, but his hired help continue to struggle.
Rinkmate Mark Kennedy and Adam Enright (who plays lead for Mark Johnson) raised their concerns about life on a retail paycheque to the boss.
So, in early October, Martin helped out his hired hands, forming an equal partnership that bought into the M&M Meats franchise at Northgate Mall.
"I'm spending as much time at the meat shop as I am at the sports shop,'' said Kennedy.
The youngsters are finding out the hard way opening up a business is not a licence to print money. Last Wednesday, the sports shop had to be shut down when an ATCO crew hit a four-inch high-pressure gas line.
That also forced the cancellation of last week's Edmonton Super League action. And, when the trio was in Lloydminster, the debit machine broke down at the meat shop, forcing customers to line up down the mall hallway.
"They were getting plenty of phone calls and we were getting pretty nervous,'' said Martin.
SPARE CASH ...
For a guy who's supposedly taking a year off from curling, Winnipeg's Jon Mead has had a couple of decent weekends.
Much in demand as a great third, Mead threw about 95% in Monday's final, helping Glenn Howard cash $22,000 first-place money at Lloydminster. Howard has won $41,000 of his $48,400 over the past three weekends.
Two weeks ago, Mead pinch-hit for Martin at Portage and took a share of $4,000.
"I think that's it until after Christmas,'' said Mead, who spent many winters with the Manitoba powerhouse foursome skipped by Jeff Stoughton.
With $6,500 in his jeans, Super Sub should have enough to buy plenty of presents.
After losing lead Ben Hebert to Martin this year, Saskatchewan's Pat Simmons is about to lose second Chris Haichert, who's expected to take a job as a firefighter in Yellowknife this week ... There's a bit of a marquee value at this year's $24,000 Roaming Buffalo Classic in Wainwright, starting Friday. Pal Trulsen, the 2002 Olympic gold medallist, will use the event as a tune-up for next weekend's Continental Cup in Chilliwack, B.C.