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They're off and roaring

Burgundy tosses first stone at Oly trials

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They're ready to roar.

The Winnipeg Police Pipes and Drums kicked off the opening ceremonies at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings followed by a surprise celebrity appearance.

Sixteen curling teams vying for two spots representing Canada at the 2014 Sochi games filed out onto the ice with the crowd roaring for the hometown favourites.

The banner was raised and official rocks were thrown by former Team Canada Olympians

who hit the button.

Winnipeg is hosting what's been called the most significant curling event ever held in the city. There are more than 1000 local volunteers and fans and media from across North America watching it — including Ron Burgundy, the celebrated newscaster portrayed by Saturday Night Live alumnus Will Ferrell.

After the opening ceremony, Burgundy appeared unexpectedly at ice level in a dashing burgundy plaid blazer.

"Very classy!" said Trish Rey a fan of both curling and Burgundy.

The crowd roared for the celebrity.

He was given a quick lesson on throwing a stone by one of the competitors.

"I'm a little nervous for him," said Rey.

His feet didn't leave the hack but he still managed to throw a stone that hit the 12-foot ring. The crowd cheered and burgundy raised his arms in triumph.

Rey was relieved and pleased he's at the event.

"It's cool, hey?"

Burgundy shared his knowledge of fashion, Winnipeg and curling at a quick media scrum in the bowels of MTS Centre today.

Let's hope he knows more about curling.

The newscaster portrayed by comedian Ferrell in the movie Anchorman called plays on the televised broadcast of this afternoon's draw.

He was asked what he could bring to the game of curling.

"I can bring a certain amount of dignity and class," said Burgundy.

"This is made from quality man-made fibres — a beautiful polyester blend."

When asked what Winnipeg means, he had an explanation.

"It's Latin in its root," he said? mistakenly confident. "It means a small tundra bunny who lives in a hole on the side of the hill."

 As Burgundy ascended to the press box at MTS Centre as cheers erupted from the stands Sunday.

"Ron Burgundy!" roared those who recognized the character.

Some curling fans — who had no idea who he is, seemed unamused by the distraction.

A group of five young men decked out in Anchorman blazers from Valu Village cheered for him and held up signs but were ignored by him.

"Why won't you look at us, Ron?" they bellowed.

They bought tickets to the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings mainly because of Ron Burgundy, said Nic Zilinski. It's an important event that will decide which teams will represent Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, he said. They were also cheering for Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones rink, he said.

"We need to be at this event and support whoever is going."

Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press

Ron Burgundy tosses the first rock at Roar of the Rings.

History

Updated on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 3:04 PM CST: Added write through

5:26 PM: Adds slide show.

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