Curling has taken Jennifer Jones and her foursome all over the planet and served up way more highs than lows in a storied 28-year career in the game.
But opening the 2013 Roar of the Rings with a 10-2 win over Chelsea Carey in your hometown while getting a shout out from Ron Burgundy, Anchorman character created by Will Ferrell… well, it doesn’t get much better than that.
"Wow, this is cool," said Jones Sunday afternoon after the opening draw of the 2014 Olympic Curling Trials in front of 10,160 at MTS Centre. "We were so excited to play... The crowd was huge. I get goosebumps even talking about it. It was way better then we could have imagined and we thought it was going to be unbelievable. So I think it will just get better as the week goes on."
Jones had control of the game with a 3-1 advantage through the fifth end and then locked it down with a six spot in the sixth end that put squad ahead 9-1. The rest of the game essentially just featured the two foursomes throwing rocks up and down the ice before handshakes after the eighth end.
"If we could score six in every game, I’d be pretty excited," said Jones. "It was obviously the turning point in that game.
"It feels great to start with a win. It’s a long week, but a short week. It’s a pretty short round-robin from what we’re used to. So you don’t want to get behind the eight-ball early. The girls played phenomenal. I was so proud of them. And we soaked up the crowd. We were having a great time."
Jones’ team shot a remarkable 96 per cent in the win, led by lead Dawn McEwen (100) and including Jill Officer (92), Kaitlyn Lawes (95) and Jones (97).
Carey’s Fort Rouge foursome, meanwhile, shot just 75 per cent.
"We were just on the wrong side of the inch," said Carey. "My last rock picked in three and we were just off on everything after that. We were throwing it really good, our weight was really close and we’d just rub a guard, just miss a run back and my double in the fourth end just doesn’t quite move it far enough. We just couldn’t get on the right side of the inch.
"It’s tough. There’s not much we can really do about that. We felt like we were throwing the rock really well and the weights were really close and we just weren’t getting the results we would hope for when we’re throwing the rock that well. It’s just one of those things. It just wasn’t our game today."
Jones plays twice on Monday, on the 8:30 a.m. draw vs. Sherry Middaugh and then at 6:30 p.m. vs. Val Sweeting. Carey will try to regroup vs Heather Nedohin Monday morning before meeting Middaugh.
"It is what it is. It’s not a big deal," said Carey. "There’s a good chance you’re going to lose a couple of games in this bonspiel. We certainly knew there was a possibility we’d lose this game, that’s not a big surprise. All we wanted to take out of it is that we were throwing it good and we had the ice figured out and we did think that. We’ll take that and go into the next game and try to win that one."
Meanwhile, the rest of the opening draw saw a couple of upsets as reigning Canadian champion Rachel Homan and her Ottawa foursome were hammered 10-3 by Sweeting and her Edmonton crew, Saskatoon’s Stephanie Lawton fell 5-3 to Middaugh while Renee Sonneberg of Grande Prairie, Alta., knocked off Edmonton’s Nedohin 8-6.
The men’s draw opens at 6:30 p.m. with Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen facing Kevin Martin and Jeff Stoughton squaring off against Brad Jacobs.