2013 Roar of the Rings: Set Up

I've been in Winnipeg for two days. The Roar of the Rings curling trials finally gets going tomorrow. What have I been up to?

I landed in Winnipeg Friday around lunch time. There were a couple teams on my flight, and being the stressed out neurotic flyer that I am, I was anxious to see if I'd get left behind while the shuttles carried the rock stars to the hotel. Of course I had nothing to worry about! As per usual, the volunteers at this event are the real rock stars, and it wasn't long before I was being driven through Winnipeg, happily chatting to the friendly drivers. After checking into my hotel room, I headed down to the MTS Centre, which is our home for the event. It's a short walk from the hotel outside, or a longer walk inside through the maze of pedways. I appreciate fresh air, but it's cold out so the plan is to mix it up! Well, mostly because I can't find my way anywhere in the pedways without an escort, but crisp fresh air is good, right?

I met up with my boss, got my accreditation, and spent the rest of the day getting acquainted with the arena's backstage area, and reacquainted with the many friendly faces of the CCA folks. I missed all the set up, which I heard ran so super smoothly that there was nothing left to help with. After being given my job description, I spent some time pretending to remember how to do it (the Canada Cup was a year ago, and there are so many buttons on a video camera!). The night was capped of with great curlingworld conversation over dinner, and a trip to the only (sketchy) grocery store within the vicinity of the hotel (that we could find).

The ice is in & the cameras are in position!

Our "office" is the NHL visitor team's dressing room. Gary says keep out!

Backstage at the MTS Centre. Not where the magic happens.

And ok, it's possible I spent the rest of the night watching reality rubbish on tv - whenever I'm in a hotel I make the most of the cable channels I don't get a home!

Saturday was the only morning of my entire vacation that I would get to properly sleep in. So I did. I moseyed over to the arena for just after noon. As a sort of proof of concept (or skill, or competence, or whatever), my new CCA social media buddy and I toured the concourse, shooting video and interviews of the FANfest event they were running. This was a neat concept: the arena was freely open to everyone. People could choose to watch teams practice, or wander the concourse taking in various activities such as street curling, face painting, contests, and sponsor freebies. The rest of the afternoon I spent relearning iMovie while I edited a video of FANfest. Seriously, did you know you can split the audio from a clip and attache the audio to a completely different chunk of video? Unfortunately, I was kinda slow with my editing and never got it posted until the next day (oops, my bad), but I did increase my confidence with both the camera and the software. After a couple of draws I'll be a pro and won't need any babysitting by my CCA IT crew!

A few shots of FANfest. There are two banners that will be signed and given to the winning teams. They had the rocks and rings out, as well as a street curling game set up, and the artist will be painting an image of the trials everyday. They are also sharing our office for their prep work so I'm excited to see how they produce the paintings! The two artists are very talented ladies!

The Mint was on the concourse with a set of medals for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games. I got to hold the Olympic gold medal. It was heavy!

I also got to accomplish a couple of my goals: I said a quick "hello" to Lisa Weagle and I met Danielle Inglis. I'm at a place in my curling volunteering career where I'm no longer star struck by the rock stars. Though I don't really have anything clever to say to the curling greats, it still is really cool to be surrounded by them! Personally I think they are smaller in real life, but just as pretty as on tv.

In the evening, I attended the Opening Banquet. This was my first ever banquet, and I was super curious to be a fly on the wall. Here's what I learned about the banquet: cash bar, good food, team introductions, and speeches, all MC'd by everyone's favourite voice, Vic Rauter.

The team uniforms are very colourful! This was my view from the back of the banquet venue.

Dessert was super cute! That's chocolate covered chocolate mousse cake by the way. 

All past Olympians in attendance were honoured. Can you name them all?* There was at least one member of each of the Olympic teams in the house, including Amy Nixon and Sandra Schmirler's husband, who are not pictured.

And another night of blogging and reality rubbish on tv back at the hotel. I'm super excited (and a wee bit nervous) for all the action Sunday!

*L-R: John Morris, Mark Kennedy, Ben Hebert, Cori Morris, Mark Nichols, Brad Gushue, Russ Howard, Kevin Martin, Carter Rycroft, Colin Mitchell, Linda Moore.