CALGARY - There's a new world out there for former Alberta curling queen Cathy King to conquer -- and so far, she's reigning supreme.
The St. Albert skip, now 51, headlines the Alberta senior curling championships, beginning Wednesday at the Calgary Curling Club.
Although King has only six games together with her newly formed senior team, it's still, 'Look out, ladies.'
"Many of these teams have curled against Cathy throughout the years on the bonspiel circuit," said provincial event spokeswoman Judy Carr. "I'm sure they will welcome the competition at this level."
They might not be as welcoming if King shows her usual authority at the provincials.
The Saville Sports Centre super-curler is a seven-time provincial women's champ, with her latest crowning coming just five years ago.
So King's used to coming up a winner against the best Alberta has to offer.
And the 1998 Scott Tournament of Hearts winner heads into this week's event -- her first as a senior competitor -- with two of the best Calgarians at the 50-plus level, Barb McDonald and Heather Paul Scott, both of whom boast senior provincials experience.
But to be sure, it's no pushover field for the former Cathy Borst.
"Never count Diane Foster out, as she was the senior provincial winner last year, along with her second, Karen Morrison," said Carr of a Calgary Winter Club squad which finished 5-6 at the 2010 Canadian Seniors in Ottawa. "Diane herself was the world senior winner in 2008. And Diane has June Campbell playing third, who has curled in three Scott Tournament of Hearts."
Then there's Peggy Harper and her crew out of the Calgary Curling Club. Harper, Judy Pendergast and Deb Pendergast return to the finals after a run as the 2009 Alberta senior queens who posted a 4-7 record at the national championships.
"It is definitely a strong ladies' field this year," Carr said.
It's not too shabby on the senior men's side, either.
Especially since the current Canadian champ, Mark Johnson of Edmonton, is back in the house defending his Alberta title. And he returns with the same crew -- third Marv Wirth, second Ken McLean and lead Millard Evans -- who take on the world as reigning national champions, April 15-24 in St. Paul, Minn. Wirth, McLean and Evans are four-time Alberta champs, having won the world crown twice -- once with Les Rogers in 2006, and once with Pat Ryan in '08.
Among his feared foes for the provincials are Edmonton's Brad Hannah and Inglewood's Mickey Pendergast.
The winners will represent Alberta at the World Financial Group Canadian Seniors in Digby, N.S., March 19-26.
Joining Foster and Harper as south reps for the seniors is Red Deer's Deb Gill. Edmonton's Kathy Odegard, Fort McMurray's Brenda Elder, Sexsmith's Norma Huitt and Fort St. John's Trudy Mitchell. The other rinks in the eight-team senior men's field are the host club's Lloyd Hill, Red Deer's Lowell Peterman, Edmonton's Rick Kravontka, Sexsmith's Colin Griffith and Grande Prairie's Randy Maxwell. The first draw goes Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., and the finals will be played Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Calgary Curling Club ... Calgary's Scott Smith (Garrison) will shoot for the juvenile men's crown after scoring an 8-4 weekend win over Okotoks' Kyler Kleibrink in the B final of the southerns at Brooks. Kleibrink also lost out to Coaldale's Jeremy Harty in the 9-3 A final, giving Smith and Harty the two south berths into the provincials. On the juvenile women's side, Keely Brown and Courtney Missikewitz -- both from Airdrie -- were respective A-and B-side winners to advance to the provincials, Brown beat Missikewitz 6-3 in the A final before Missikewitz rebounded to edge the Tianna Yablonski (Calgary Winter) 6-5 in the B final to qualify along with Brown for the six-team provincials, March 4-6 in Coaldale.
The 11-team bantam District A playdowns, for curlers aged 14-and-under, run Friday through Sunday at the Innisfail Curling Club.