Give them a shot at a luxury car (and lower the entry fee), and they will come.
That's the lesson Barry Swain learned recently as he tried to fill field for the Manitoba Curling Tour's NOTT Autocorp Charity Open men's bonspiel that will take place this weekend at the Thistle.
The event had attracted only eight rinks a few weeks ago, so Swain, the general sales manager at NOTT Autocorp, channelled his inner car salesman and went to work. He cut the entry fee nearly in half and added a draw-to-the-button contest.
Just like that, the field filled up like the Thistle bar on men's night.
"We're just trying to do some different things," Swain said yesterday.
The event has attracted 18 teams, including former Manitoba men's champ Randy Dutiaume, who will play former teammate Dave Elias in tonight's opening draw.
Other notables in the field are Sean Grassie and Doug Riach.
While some top-notch curling talent will be on the ice this weekend, the draw-to-the-button contest has created the most buzz. Every competitor will be eligible, and preliminary competitions will whittle the field to nine on Sunday. The closest to the button from that group will make the big shot on Monday at 4 p.m.
If he can get the entire rock on the button (without the aid of sweepers), he will drive away in a BMW 323i. There will be subsidiary prizes of a $1,000 area rug from Flatlanders Flooring (if he hits the four foot), a $500 in-store credit from NOTT Autosports (eight foot) or a bottle of 12-year-old Canadian Club whisky (anywhere else).
"The contest is an exciting little addition to the whole thing," Swain said.
The bonspiel final, which will follow the button contest, will start at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
Swain said the goal is for the event to raise $2,500 for CancerCare Manitoba.