Viterra Championship


May is Vision Health Month

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2 2 0 1 9 V I T E R R A C H A M P I O N S H I P FEBRUARY 6 - 10, 2019 | TUNDRA OIL AND GAS PLACE, VIRDEN Luckily for Cory Barkley, co-chair of the 2019 Viterra Champaionships, which will be held in Virden from February 6-10, he and his team have been there before. Well, sort of. Most of the four co-chairs, 40 committee heads and more than 200 volunteers pulled off the provincial women's Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2014. "You have to be looking at the community being involved for it to be a success. We can't do it if we don't get local sponsorship and if we don't sell tickets locally," Barkley said. "The volunteers are key. It's massive. I think the community is hungry to have another (provincial championships) considering how the ticket sales have gone and the volunteer numbers." About 12,500 tickets were sold at the Tundra Oil & Gas Place for the 2014 Scotties but projections for this year's Viterra are calling for 15,000. Barkley is confident they'll hit it, provided the weather cooperates. About 500 pre-event passes for the entire event have already been sold. "We're right on par with where we were with the Scotties in 2014. We're very happy with the buzz in the community. But if we get a blizzard, people won't be able to get to the arena. WestMan is always very hungry for curling," he said. The Virden rink has 1,200 seats for curling plus 100 VIP seats at ice level while its hall - which rumour has it will be licenced - holds about 500 people. There's also a chance some fans may be drawn to the Saskatchewan men's play downs, which are being held the same week in Whitewood, located about an hour away on the other side of the provincial border. Last year's Viterra was held in Winkler and won by the Reid Carruthers rink. They missed the playoffs at the Brier in Regina with a record of five wins and six losses. The host committee is closing on its fundraising goal of $90,000. The two diamond sponsors, Valleyview Co-op, a retailer of groceries, gasoline and farm supplies, and Four Seasons Sales, an RV and trailer sales dealer, have each ponied up $8,000. There are also a dozen gold sponsors, which have each contributed $4,000 each. Even though the local economy has been hit hard by the struggling oil and gas industry, Barkley said he and his team didn't have to twist too many arms of potential sponsors. "The community has stepped up, especially with where we are with the economy. When we signed up (to run the Viterra) a couple of years ago, we hoped the economy would have turned around by now. It was a matter of taking another look at it. It was a great event in 2014 with the Scotties and they want to be a part of it this year," he said. "I think everybody wants to support it but some have been on a little bit lower level this year. We can't say enough about the support we've got this year. It's been pretty awesome." HOST COMMITTEE HOPES TO PULL OFF EIGHT-ENDER AT VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIPS B Y G E O F F K I R B Y S O N PULLING OFF THE PREMIERE CURLING EVENT IN MANITOBA IS NO EASY FEAT SO IT HELPS IF YOU'VE GOT A BLUEPRINT.

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