Gettin' ready to rock

World Champion Curlers Jennifer Jones and Kevin Martin are putting out the word for the 2009 Tim...

World Champion Curlers Jennifer Jones and Kevin Martin are putting out the word for the 2009 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings. (Sun Media/Robert Taylor)

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

One thing's for sure.

Jackie-Rae Greening and her crew organizing the 2009 Olympic Curling Trials know how to put on a promotional barnstorming tour.

Escorted by a big flatbed truck, complete with a monstrous inflatable curling rock, the highly visible day long tour around Edmonton was meant to tell people tickets go on sale for the event on Saturday.

Heck, they even had world champs Jennifer Jones and Kevin Martin in tow to trumpet just how huge the event will be next December.

"It'll be the biggest curling event ever, for sure," said Martin, 2002 silver medallist at Salt Lake City. "It'll be the biggest curling event in history. Vancouver 2010 might trump it, though, as the biggest one ever. That Olympics for hockey, curling and figure skating is going to be amazing. Up until then, the biggest curling event in history is going to be The Roar of the Rings."

HUGE FOR WOMEN

There's no question it'll be the biggest curling event ever for the women, if only for the fact that Rexall Place is the biggest venue ever for a women's event.

"I don't think it gets any better than playing in front of a huge crowd and Edmonton's known for selling out," said Jones.

"Rexall Place is going to be packed with people, the energy's going to be amazing and it'll be nothing like women have ever played in before. We're pretty excited to be part of it."

Being the only women's team to have nailed down a spot in the main event is a relief for Jones.

"It is nice to know you're already there with all the other teams grinding it out," said Jones. "We're in a pretty good spot. It'll be interesting to see how everything else unfolds this year."

Martin and Glenn Howard are the only two rinks to have qualified for the main event.

One of the more interesting developments in curling this year is seeing just how hard Edmonton-based rinks are trying to get into the event.

This has been a fascinating year for Edmonton's young guns trying to make a name for themselves.

"Rightfully so," said Martin. "You have a young guy like (Ted) Appelman. A lot of people across Canada don't know who they are, but they've proven they're really good players this year. Then you have (Chris) Schille with Charley Thomas, who more people know about. They just won Sunday in the Yukon.

"You have all these young guys and of course (Randy) Ferbey and (Kevin) Koe, they'll be there. We've got other teams making a real run for it. It could be real exciting for the city of Edmonton.

"We could have more than the three guys you expect to be in it. We could have four or five of the eight in the Trials. That would be a tremendous thing."

Martin understands just how much the nature of the curling world's focus has shifted to the Olympics. He's relieved to avoid the dogfight for the final four spots at the pre-Trials qualifier in Prince George.

PRE-TRIALS DOGFIGHT

"You'll have a few young guys along with the usual suspects," said Martin. "You don't want to be part of that Prince George event ... that'll be crazy. You want to get one of the first four spots. Everybody's putting a lot of time and effort into this.

"We got in the Trials quicker than we thought, so this year is all about consistency, training and making sure we stay near the top of our game. We can't afford to drop off. So far, so good."

It's just a little over a year until the Trials rocks get thrown in anger and, there's no question, the buzz is already starting to build.

EXTRA ENDS: Randy Ferbey's team is now officially in the 2009 Alberta men's provincials. Since this upcoming weekend's Grande Prairie event fell short of the required teams to make it an official Alberta Tour event, the Alberta Curling Federation confirmed that Ferbey earned enough points to claim the remaining Alberta Tour spot. ACT executive director Jim Pringle said yesterday the Grande Prairie event is still an important stop on the Alberta Tour and will likely be held earlier in the season next year.\


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