Classic weekend on tap

ROD KELLY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:39 AM ET

CALGARY - If it ain't broke, don't fix it! True enough.
 But what if something is in need of a bit of repair or a few alterations to get things back on track?
 Such was the case for Calgary's World Financial Group Classic cashspiel.
 And now, after a bit fine-tuning, it appears organizers of the annual curling showdown have found effective ways to enhance what is Calgary's only stop on the men's World Curling Tour schedule.
 "This is the first year we've filled the tournament since its inception four years ago," said Steve Mackey, an event spokesman and participating skip at the $23,000 cashspiel, which runs Friday to Sunday at the Calgary Curling Club. 
"We've been trying to find the best weekend to host the tournament to get the optimal team interest and participation," Mackey said.
 To do so, organizers moved the date of the annual tournament back from the very beginning of the World Curling Tour season to mid-November. Mackey the schedule adjustment has paid dividends, as many teams were finding a latter September time-slot too early for their liking.
 "Many were saying, 'it's still golf season,' " said Mackey.
 This year also marks the first time the event is being held at the Calgary Curling Club.
 Capitalizing on Calgary Curling Club's experience in playing host to the annual Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Classic, a Grand Slam event on the women's schedule, was part of the motive behind the move across town, explained Mackey.
 "This year we've moved from the Garrison Curling Club to the Calgary Curling Club and picked a weekend later in the curling season. That seems to have been the right combination," he said.
 "We've had a full event for close to a month now."
 A good list of Calgary rinks are set to do battle this year, including Brent Bawel, who enters the 24-team, four-pool roundrobin event having recently finished second at the Red Deer Curling Classic. 
Other local lineups include Steve Petryk, Brock Virtue, Jon Rennie and Dean Ross. 
The Virtue rink has also enjoyed success of late, advancing to the quarterfinals in Red Deer after a quarterfinal showing at October's Canad Inns Prairie Classic. JD Lund, third for the Virtue rink, said reaching the playoffs in high-calibre WCT events has been encouraging for the Calgary-based team, but now it's looking to advance further in the playoff rounds. "It's been good to get into the playoffs the past couple of events, but one of the things we want to do is finish better," said Lund. "Hopefully, we can do that this weekend. We're still a fairly young team that's learning a lot. We want to start taking that next step."

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