Vernon’s Jim Cotter rink went a long way to tune up for this week’s B.C. men’s curling championships in Quesnel.
Cotter and teammates Steve Laycock, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky were in Tempe, Ariz. over the weekend, competing in the World Curling Tour’s Ed Werenich Golden Wrench Classic, presented by The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen at Coyotes Curling Club.
The Vernon rink went 3-1 in their preliminary pool of the 20-team event, good enough for a quarterfinal spot, where Cotter fell 11-7 to Rich Ruohonen of Chaska, Minn.
In the round-robin, Cotter beat American rinks Edward Scimia of Bridgeport, Conn. (8-2), Bob Leclair of Tempe (8-1) and Chris Bond of Seattle (8-1) before losing 6-2 to Canadian rival and eventual tournament winner Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg.
Cotter will be looking for an eighth Purple Heart and trip to the Brier in Quesnel. The Vernon rink will play its first game Tuesday night against the winner of a match between Matthew Blandford of Victoria and former champ Deane Horning of Castlegar.
Cotter lost last year’s final to Sean Geall of Kelowna in an extra end, denying the Vernon skip a fifth consecutive B.C. championship. It was Cotter’s only loss of the tournament in Parksville.
The winner of the 12-team event will represent B.C. at the Tim Hortons Brier March 2-10 in Brandon.
Quesnel is also hosting the B.C. women’s championship at the same time at the city’s gorgeous new West Fraser Centre.
Vernon’s Kim Slattery is among the field trying to represent the province at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian championships Feb. 16-24 in Sydney, NS.
Slattery, with teammates Alyssa Kyllo, Kelsi Jones and Morgayne Eby, plays in the opening draw Tuesday morning against Diane Gushulak of New Westminster.