At 36, Kevin Koe is one of the premier shot-makers on the planet.
Just how long he can maintain curling superstar status is a matter of fitness, circumstance and interest. After two rounds in the $62,000 Vernon Twin Anchors Curling Classic, Koe is definitely still interested.
The Calgary transplant rocked Tyler Klymchuk of Langley 9-2 in seven ends and required only six ends to punish Vernon’s TJ Perepolkin 8-1, in Friday draws.
Asked what a curler’s prime age actually is these days, Koe shrugged his shoulders and chuckled as he waited for the opening draw Friday afternoon.
“You just don’t know anymore because you look at guys like Glenn Howard, Jeff Stoughton, Kevin Martin, it seems like they’ve been around forever, and they have,” said Koe, trying to threepeat at the Vernon cashspiel.
“They’re still as good as ever. I would have thought they’d be getting a little over the hill, and I’d like them to get over the hill. So, you definitely can go a ways in this game and they’re great examples.”
Koe, who won the 2010 world championship when Martin was committed to the Vancouver Olympics, enters the season with Moose Jaw veteran Pat Simmons replacing retired Blake MacDonald at third. The switch obviously hasn’t changed the rink’s dynamics. Nolan Thiessen and Carter Rycroft run the front end.
“We know Pat,” said Koe. “It’s a pretty small community up at the top level of teams and we’ve played Pat in the 10s and 20 times. He’s a great curler and a great guy and so I think it’ll be easy for him to fit in.
“It’s a new team which is good in a way just to bring a little freshness to the squad. It’s early days but I don’t think he’ll have trouble at all. He’s a great shooter; we’re lucky to have him.”
Koe feels comfortable in Vernon, where’s he made at least six appearances in the cashspiel.
“I love coming out here. It’s a great city in general. It’s lots of fun, the weather’s always nice and you know the ice is going to be good. It’s a great event.”
Employed in the energy field, Koe was basically a rink rat growing up in Yellowknife, where his parents, Fred and Lynda, were directors and volunteers of the curling club.
His brother Jamie has represented the Territories in four of the last five Briers, while his sister Kerry has represented the Territories in five of the last six Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Reaching the 83rd Tim Hortons Brier next March in Saskatoon is, of course, on Koe’s wishlist.
“It (winning the 2010 Brier) was obviously the highlight of our careers. It was a ton of fun and we’d love to get back somewhere along the road.
“Alberta’s obviously a tough spot to get out of with Kevin Martin being there, but we’ll keep knocking on the door and I’m pretty confident we’ll get back some day.”
The Twin Anchors men’s final goes Monday at 3 p.m. with the quarters set for 9 a.m. and the semis at noon. There is a field of 16 with first place worth $7,500. A strength of field and cash amount formula determines World Curling Tour points.
Defending B.C. champion Jim Cotter of Vernon edged Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi 5-4 in his only Friday game.
Perepolkin stopped Dean Ross of Calgary 7-5 in his opener, while Vernon’s Brad Wood stuffed Jay Wakefield of New Westminster 7-2 in six ends after falling 4-1 to Russia’s Alexey Tselousov.
On the 24-team women’s side, Kelowna’s Kelly Scott, a former Canadian champion, was 4-0 going into Saturday night action. Scott, the defending provincial winner, shaded Lisa Eyamie of Calgary 5-4 in Saturday morning’s draw.
Scott, who has a new third in Darlene Sivertson, opened by clipping Marla Mallett of New Westminster 5-4 and then iced Vernon’s Alyssa Kyllo 5-3 before brushing back Karla Thompson of Kelowna 6-3.
Renee Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie was also at 4-0 after a 9-3 drubbing of Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa Saturday morning.
Sonnenberg, who coached the Danish team at the 2010 Olympics, earlier sank Jen Rusnell of Prince George 9-0, toppled Allison MacInnes of Kamloops 6-4 and downed 2008 Classic champion Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary 7-3.
Both Russia skips – Liudmila Privivkova and Olga Zyablikova – were 3-0 heading into Saturday afternoon action.
Kyllo was 1-3, opening with a 9-6 victory over Morgan Muise of Calgary before losses to Eyamie (8-5) and Mallett (6-4).
The final goes today at 3 p.m. with the winner earning $7,500.