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What Happens in Vegas…

Brandon Doom

February 9, 2023

Curling has always been apart of my life. My grandfather and I began making Curling ice when I was 10 years old (and continued to do so for 25 years). So when my friend and colleague asked me to go to the Continental Cup in Las Vegas it was a no brainer.

The 2016 Continental Cup introduced Mixed Curling into the field, and they were testing out rules and timers in preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics. My friend and I, both teachers and avid curlers, went to the morning draw to check things out. After the draw concluded she went for a nap at our hotel (we were bonspieling in Vegas the night before), and I decided to go with some friends from home (small town Saskatchewan) to check out the patch.

The patch at the Orleans Arena was in a huge conference room on the opposite side of the Casino to the arena. I got Jennifer Jones to autograph the curling rock cup I had her teammates sign the night before, and then found my friend at our table. We were all settled with our food and drinks when Stu, the emcee, asked for four volunteers to play a game. Two of my friends from Saskatchewan, who were old enough to be my father, got up and went to the stage. Another gentleman that I did not know also stepped up. They were short one volunteer, and my group of friends started chanting my name. As a phys’ed teacher I was not about to back down, so I volunteered to partake in the activity (not knowing at the time what it was).

Stu had two Vegas girls, the ones with the big feathers and tiaras, at the stage to assist him. He told us that we had to immerse ourselves in the Vegas experience, one of those experiences was the Chippendale phenomena. So we were told to take off our shirts and were given bowties, and wrist cuffs to wear. Our objective was to get as much money as possible in our pants by the end of the song as possible- and we were off.

The three guys I was competing against stuck to the stage area of the convention room. I had a different strategy and took off to the side of the room and made my way around the perimeter, doing little dances as I journeyed. I was not about to lose to people from Turtleford and St.Walburg (my home town Edam’s rivals and neighbors). We were also told we got to keep our “earnings”, so I worked the room trying to make cash. And boy was I successful.

The song ended and people were still putting bills in my pants (this is how I met my cousins boyfriend for the first time). Stu had to finally advise the crowd the game was over and I had to come back to the stage. The other participants had counted their earnings already when I got up there and began taking the bills out and tallying my profits. Stu had to tell me I had missed a few- some of the bills were in pretty deep. I figured there would just be $1 bills, but to my surprise there were a few $5’s, a couple of $10’s and even a $20. Stu asked what my final count was and I enthusiastically exclaimed, “I made $82.”

I got my shirt back on and went back to my table, where I had become a celebrity. I have a tattoo of the Saskatchewan Roughriders football club on my back, so everyone in the conference room was coming up to me asking where in Saskatchewan I was from, etc. and buying me drinks. The curling community definitely knows how to come together at the Patch.

My friends wife had video taped the whole event and I told her, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” I still had to watch the video one more time to critique my performance and give my two other friends advice on how they could approve from their lackluster collection of $16 and $21.

The next day, the last day of the event, we were in our seats at the Orleans to cheer on Team North America. My travel companion had missed the previous afternoons events, as she was napping. We were all quiet and they dimmed the lights at the arena to welcome the teams onto the ice surface. Before they introduced the teams though Stu wanted to show a video montage of how much fun people were having in Vegas. I felt myself getting very low in my seat and turning red, I knew what was coming. The last clip they showed before the teams came out was me all excited exclaiming, “I made $82.”

They played this clip all day, and it made it onto TSN. I was a celebrity in Vegas, even the curling rock mascot found me in the crowd. What happened in Vegas, did not stay in Vegas and the video reappeared at many bonspiels I participated in for the next couple years. Stu and some other curlers I did not know personally would also ask me at future events, if I was in Vegas.

It was a great trip and an amazing experience. Participating in one activity allowed me to mingle with and meet people from all around the world, all there because we love the sport of Curling.