Grand Forks wants you

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

The Americans rode into town to drum up support from their Canadian cousins.

The host committee for the 2008 World Men's Curling Championship is hoping to lure a big chunk of Winnipeggers to Grand Forks, N.D., and may be praying that a Manitoba team wins the Brier that will be held here just about a month beforehand. The worlds will be held the Ralph Engelstad Arena, a.k.a. 'the Taj Mahal of Arenas,' April 5-13.

"We are privileged to be in one of the greatest curling cities in the world," Jody Hodgson, host committee president said at a press conference here yesterday. "We hope we can work with this city for the next 13 months on what we're calling the Triple Crown -- the (Safeway Championship) in Brandon, the Brier in Winnipeg and the worlds in Grand Forks."

Although the host committee does not have a set number in mind, Manitoba is one of three fan target areas, with the others being Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its break-even point is 30,000 for the week as plans are to use just the lower bowl (5,800) in the arena (11,600 capacity). But organizers are hoping to lure at least 50,000.

Hodgson claimed there had been good response in the Grand Forks area when tickets first went on sale 10 days ago. A 190-room Canad Inns hotel will open in the city soon and will be the world's HQ.

Tickets are now available at a 15% discount ,with packages ranging from $149 US to the $500 US exclusive for the week. They can be purchased online at www.worldmenscurling2008.com or by calling 701-777-4689.


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