2016 Canada Cup - Las Vegas Rocks

A year ago, last January, my mom was watching the Continental Cup. They announced that the 2016 event would be in Las Vegas and - much to my surprise - my mom decided she wanted to go. When your mom asks you to go on vacation, and you've never been on vacation with just your mom before, and you love curling, but you don't really like Vegas, what do you say? The answer could only be yes. So that week, we bought a hotel/event ticket package. Good thing, because it was popular and they opened up more hotels and eventually sold out!

Las Vegas is not my type of city. This I know. I was there for a bit in 2008 and decided it was everything I disagreed with. Waste of energy. Waste of water. Excess. Debauchery. And watching all those people gamble away their childrens' inheritances breaks my heart. But when your mom asks you to go on vacation, you say yes. And this was to be the first event since 2007 that I just watched and didn't work or volunteer!

So last week, we headed to the desert for some curling. We...and 9000 other Canadians!

The Event

I like the Continental Cup (volunteered in 2011) - it's a really fun event! North America vs The World, mixed up teams, doubles, singles (which they got rid of, boo!), curlers cheering on other curlers: guaranteed good time. And it was a good event.

In fact, the last end of the last draw was the most exciting 10 minutes of live curling I think I've ever seen! And I've seen 10+ major events, so that's saying something!

I also found myself liking skins and mixed doubles - 2 events I've never really taken to when watching on tv. I saw a ton of people I knew, starting with the officials we met on the plane down, and some familiar fans and staff. I like to think my mom was impressed I knew or recognized people around every corner. The curling world is a nice place to visit every once in awhile.

Opening Ceremonies. Not super Vegas, no showgirls or anything. Cute wee piper though.

Team meetings.


Treated to the Norwegian Pant Dance!  (This is my video, but here's the view from the front)

Eventually the showgirls showed up and Slider got into it! He even did the Norwegian Pant Dance at one point!

The next generation of curlers.

Dude is a star!

The end. So exciting!

Other than the watching-not-working, this curling event felt like one in Canada. The arena was nice. The curling was fun. The crowd was full of Canadian seniors. It was Vegas that was different.

The Hotel

Y'all forgot to tell me that people smoke cigarettes in casinos. Ew. Gross. The hotel was nice, and it was great being so close to the arena, but I just can't handle that smell. I had to get out of there over the lunch break and found myself walking laps around the outside, scanning license plates in the parking lots. The sun was out and it smelled mostly fresh. Ug. The stench of cigarettes. And for this reason alone, I probably won't ever go back for a Vegas curling event.

The City

We had a chance to walk the strip the day before we left. Vegas is as Vegas always is...something else. I think, like Paris, you need to go once in your life. I walked the sidewalks I walked in 2008. Some things were different, but some things were the same. And I finally got to Fremont Street! The light show was cool. The street, meh, not so much my thing.

The desert during the day.

The desert at sunset. Also a parking lot.

Inside The Venetian. Hotels are worth looking around in. Crazy.

Fremont Street

Bellagio was doing "Billy Jean"

All in all, a good trip. Great curling. Ticked everything Vegas off my list. I don't ever need to or want to go back - but I hope I'll get to see the Continental Cup again once of these years!

(For the record, I prefer working/volunteering. Fortunately, the day we set out for the airport on the way to Vegas there was a big event announcement leak, and an hour later I might've agreed to be a director on the local organizing committee...)