Shorty Jenkins Classic hosts global athletes
By Shawna O’Neill, TC Media
Curling teams flocked to the event from as far as China, Sweden and Russia. (Shawna O’Neill, TC Media).
CORNWALL, Ontario – Gord McCrady, Chairman and Founder of the Shorty Jenkins Classic, never imagined that the event he created 22 years ago would become what it is today.
From Sept. 13 to 16, curlers from as far as China, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland competed at the Cornwall Curling Centre for prize money amounting to over $94,000.“I am very proud of it,” said McCrady. “Shorty Jenkins and myself started the event. Shorty was a good friend of mine and I never envisioned it would last this long…Shorty was very proud of the event too. It’s something that is very near and dear to my heart because of my friendship with Shorty and keeping his name alive in the curling community.” Shorty Jenkins, who is recognized as a pioneer in the curling community, worked tirelessly on techniques to make curling ice better.“He did the ice for many World Championships, Canadian Championships…he taught a lot of people how to make ice themselves,” said McCrady. When the event started out in 1996, there were 20 men’s teams. Today, there are 24 men’s teams and 18 women’s teams — an increase from 15 women’s teams last year. Also new this year are tie breakers, implemented because organizers didn’t feel that shoot outs were fair given the prize money at stake. “Without the support of the community and everybody, this wouldn’t be possible because of the prize money we are offering and the calibre of the (athletes),” said McCrady. The Classic, which was held in Brockville for numerous years, moved to Cornwall after the City jumped at the opportunity. McCrady said he knew the City was aware of the advantages of having a significant event with international exposure. “It’s probably the best thing to have ever happened to the Shorty by moving it to Cornwall,” he said. “We wouldn’t have had the growth we had with prize money, with extra teams…it had a great run in Brockville, but sometimes things have to move to advance and grow bigger.”