Ashley Howard fitting right in with Cathy Overton-Clapham

Second Ashley Howard (r) confers with skip Cathy Overton-Clapham during the Women's Curling Classic...

Second Ashley Howard (r) confers with skip Cathy Overton-Clapham during the Women's Curling Classic in Winnipeg Friday. They would win their opener 9-1. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:38 PM ET

WINNIPEG - When your father is famous across the globe, it can open up the world for a young curler.

Ashley Howard recently returned home from Japan where she and her dad, Russ Howard, conducted a curling camp at a curling club he helped start.

“I had a wonderful experience over there,” Howard, who plays second for Manitoba’s Cathy Overton-Clapham, said Friday. “The contacts my dad made years ago — like way before I was even born — and they’ve kept in touch and he helped them start a Howard curling club at the base of Mount Fuji (about 110 kilometres from Tokyo).”

The father and daughter conducted a curling clinic for about 75 curlers aged six to 70.

“They got their money’s worth out of us,” Ashley said after helping Overton-Clapham open the World Curling Tour’s Manitoba Lotteries Women’s Curling Classic with a 9-1 victory over fellow Manitoban Colleen Kilgallen at the Fort Rouge Curling Club.

Overton-Clapham got her money’s worth out of Howard, who moved here from New Brunswick just to join her last year.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better year,” said Howard, 22, who attends the University of Manitoba. “We had a great season. We did really well and I adjusted to Winnipeg pretty seamlessly, so no complaints.”

Overton-Clapham has earned enough CTRS points to clinch a spot in the pre-trials tournament, but the goal is to get a direct route into the 2013 Canadian Curling Trials in Winnipeg.

“We’ve got a long road to go, that’s for sure,” said Overton-Clapham, who lost a semifinal at last year’s Classic. “Our goal is to try to play as consistent as we can and hope that things go the way we need them to. We’re in control of our own destiny.”

The Jennifer Jones Manitoba team skipped by Kaitlyn Lawes finished the day at 2-0.

PRAIRIE CLASSIC: In hockey, the cliche is ‘you’re only as good as your last shift.’ Well, Brandon’s Rob Fowler has come up with a new one for curling: “You’re only as good as your next shot.”

The reigning Manitoba champion is taking aim at his next target after surprising many by not only winning the provincial title but earning a bronze medal at last year’s Brier.

“Yes, this year is our next shot,” said Fowler, who opened the WCT’s Canad Inns Prairie Classic in Portage la Prairie with a 6-2 win over fellow Manitoban Scott Madams.

Fowler has stumbled out of the hack this season though, failing to qualify at the first two cashspiels his foursome entered.

“It’s been a bit of a slow start,” admitted Fowler. “We definitely haven’t curled to our potential yet. After the high we experienced last year, it’s not something we wanted to let happen.”

Fowler is looking beyond a repeat as provincial champ this season.

“We’re working towards trying to get to the Olympic trials (in Winnipeg) next fall,” he said. “But, with our (CTRS) points right now, we really need to get into the pre-trials (tournament).”

Manitoba’s Daley Peters upset Scotland’s Tom Brewster 8-5, but dropped a 7-2 decision to Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue.


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