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One of the largest international curling events underway in Swift Current

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Swift Current, Sask. -

The Nutrien Ag Solutions Western Showdown, one of the largest International Curling Events of the season, is taking place in Swift Current.

The event is in its third year and is offering a $100,000 prize purse with the final taking place on Sunday.

“The first year was men’s, the second year we had two separate ones, this year we’ve combined the two together. We’ve been able to target it just before the Pinty’s event in Saskatoon so we do have a number of number one teams, best in the world, coming in to curl with us,” said Melody Robertson, President of the Swift Current Curling Club.

Top teams from around the world are in the Saskatchewan city. That includes 10 of the top 15 ranked women’s teams in the world, five-time World Champion and defending Olympic Gold medalist Niklas Edin, and two-time World Champion and Olympian Kevin Koe.

“The $100,000 purse is huge! It allows teams to get extra curling in and quite often this occurs before the end of January and then teams are off doing their own thing for the Worlds and everything else,” said Robertson.

Local Saskatchewan products in Chris Haichert and Shaun Meachem, Steve Laycock, Kelly Schafer, and Robyn Silvernagle, are some of the bigger names from the province that are competing.

“A lot of the top teams are here so a lot of really good competition. It’s a fun week! It’s hometown for Kelly (Schafer) and being from Saskatchewan, it feels like a hometown for us. It’s a great event and it’s awesome to get this caliber of curling in Saskatchewan,” said Silvernagle.

There are teams from South Korea, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, China, Japan, and the United States in attendance.

“Other than the WCF events and the elite events on tour, this will have the best field of just about every event in the country, you’ve got World Champions, Olympic Champions and a lot of it’s due to the organizing committee and then the reputation here,” said Korea’s National Men’s team coach and 1998 Canadian Olympic medalist, Mike Harris.

“It’s definitely worth coming out to have a look and you’re going to have a ton of really competitive games. We’re looking at the draw for the men’s games and there are no easy games. Every game is going to have some really talented teams out here. The women’s field is arguably even stronger,” he added.

“It’s a very fun community for curling with a lot of people watching and that’s very fun for us to come to places where there’s an audience. That’s fun for us, we don’t have that in Sweden,” said skip Isabella Wrana whose team hails from Sweden.

The 18 teams are playing a triple knockout format with the final on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

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