It's only two weeks until one of the highlights of the New Westminster sporting calendar takes place.
The 13th annual Westcoast Curling Classic is scheduled to run from Thursday, Oct. 4 to Monday, Oct. 8 at the Royal City Curling Club. This year, 18 men's teams, including defending champion and current Olympic gold medal holder Kevin Martin, will vie for a total purse of $52,000.
New this year is the inclusion of an eight-team junior invitational event where both boys and girls will be playing for a purse of $4,800.
"This opportunity allows some of the best provincial junior teams to compete under the same conditions and rules as the men," said curling classic tournament chair Nancy Stagg.
Teams scheduled to compete in the main draw include local, out-of-province, and international foursomes from Japan and the USA. The men's event is sanctioned by the World Curling Tour and the Canadian Team Ranking System.
The draw for the men's event will follow a slams' format of three pools of six teams playing round-robin games before moving into the quarterfinals on Sunday evening (tiebreaker games, if necessary, would be played on Sunday afternoon).
The junior side will see two pools of four teams starting games on Friday evening.
The semifinals and finals for both the men and the juniors are scheduled for Monday.
It all kicks off with the traditional Skins Game on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7: 30 p.m. when Martin's squad squares off against current B.C. champion Jim Cotter for cold hard cash. The sixend match will have money for each end.
The team with last rock, or the hammer, has to score two or more to win the money while the team without hammer has to steal.
Entrance for the Skins Game is free.
Prior to the Skins Game, a pro-am running from 4 to 6 p.m. will feature Cotter and several other teams sharing their expertise and insight with Division 1 Optimist Junior Curling League curlers.
Pros will work with junior curlers throughout the two hours, with tips on strategy, best practices, tricks and maybe even a few jokes.
If you can't wait two weeks, then this weekend features a no-limit Texas hold'em fundraising tournament.
On Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Royal City Curling Club at 75 East Sixth Ave., you can test your poker skills.
The poker starts at 7 p.m. and features a $70 buy-in. A maximum of 100 players will vie for a top prize of $900, with secondary prizes of $500, $300, $200 and $100. There are re-buys available in the tournament.
Registration and cocktails are at 6 p.m.
To purchase tickets, contact Randy Balfour at 604603-9256 or randybalfour@ telus.net.