Even though he was just eight years old at the time, Kevin Folk has vivid and fond memories of watching his dad, Rick, represent B.C. at the 1989 Brier in Saskatoon.
Now, 23 years later the Folks are headed back to the Prairie city, this time with Kevin throwing the rocks, and Rick serving as coach of the Jim Cotter rink.
On top it all, Saskatoon is home for the Folks who lived in Saskatchewan’s largest city until moving to Kelowna in 1988.
“It’s going to be unbelievable,” said Kevin Folk, who plays third for the B.C. champs. “Not only is it great to be playing where I watched dad in a Brier, but that’s where I got the bug to curl, and where I really decided to take the next step.
“The fact that I’m going to see family I haven’t see in a while is great, too,” added the younger Folk, 31. “Saskatoon is my No. 1 choice for a Brier.”
Saskatoon was also the Folk’s home back in 1980 when Rick won his first of two Briers, the last Canadian men’s title for a team from Saskatchewan.
Safe to say, Rick—a legend in Saskatchewan curling circles—will be a popular draw for the long-suffering curling fans from the Prairie province.
“It’s always good to go back to Saskatoon,” said Rick. “When you go out to the prairies, that’s curling country. People there remember what you’ve done in the past…it’s hard to believe it’s been 32 years since a team from there has won. They have very good crowds there and they’re passionate about the sport.
“I’m sure I’ll be reliving a lot of the past during the week there,” Folk added. “There are a lot of family and friends there.”
Kevin Folk expects his dad will be signing more autographs during the 10-day stay in Saskatoon than the entire B.C. rink combined.
If anything, the younger Folk said his dad’s popularity might be an advantage for the Kelowna Curling Club foursome.
“It’ll be great for him, I don’t think there’s any doubt he’ll be the most popular member of our team,” Kevin said. “It’s his hometown and curling fans there are pretty loyal.
“It might end up being a positive for us, maybe he can sway some of the Saskatchewan fans over to our side.”
The trip to Saskatoon will mark Rick Folk’s ninth trip to a Brier—seven as a player and two as a coach—while Kevin will be playing in his third Canadian men’s championship.
No matter how many times it happens, Rick insists the Brier never gets old—particularly when he gets to share the experience with his own flesh and blood.
“Watching Kevin play in the Brier is always a thrill,” said Folk. “Kevin and I never played in our first Briers until we were 28, and we both know that when you do make it there, you never know when you’ll get back, if ever.
“I appreciate it every time I go, I still do,” Folk continued. “Every time you get there, it’s a bonus. The novelty never wears off. If it did, it’s time to get out of the game.”
The B.C. rink also features skip Jim Cotter from Vernon, second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky and alternate Ken Maskiewich.
The Kelowna Curling Club foursome will open play Saturday at the Tim Hortons Brier against Alberta’s Kevin Koe.