One million dollars on your own? Or $100,000 with a little help? That's the decision one contestant will have to make at this week's Grand Slam of Curling event.
During the mid-game break of the championship match at the BDO Canadian Open in Oshawa, Ont., on Sunday afternoon, the final survivor in the Capital One Million Dollar Button contest will have the option to either throw a stone onto the centre of the button unassisted for a chance at $1 million, or enlist sweeping and skipping help in an attempt to capture $100,000.
The potential million-dollar throw will be broadcast live on CBC-TV and CBCSports.ca, with both showing the tournament final live starting at 1 p.m. ET.
BDO Canadian Open on CBC
The quarter-finals of the season's third Grand Slam of Curling event can be seen live Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on CBC-TV and CBCSports. ca, followed by the semifinals at 7 p.m. on Bold and CBCSports.ca
The championship final goes Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBC-TV and CBCSports.ca.
Five of the six semifinalists have already been confirmed, with the last entry to be selected from those in attendance at the BDO Canadian Open, which begins Wednesday night at Oshawa's General Motors Centre.
The semifinalist who throws his or her rock closest to the button will move on to compete for either $1 million or $100,000 in the final.
To win the grand prize of his or her choosing, the finalist must deliver a rock from the hack and have it cover the hole in the centre of the button. The contestant has one chance to execute the shot.
Should the finalist's rock miss covering the hole in the centre of the button, lesser prizes are available to be won depending on where the stone comes to rest in the house.
Last year, Alma Laidlaw, a 63-year-old former high school curling coach, saw her shot stop just in front of the 12-foot circle, winning her a $1,000 consolation prize.
The five finalists confirmed so far for this week are:
- Herb Sutton, 60, of Trepassey, N.L.
- Blair Ezekiel, 29, of Harbour Main, N.L.
- Paula Ritchie, 52, of Winnipeg
- Lou Ienna, 56, of Tecumseh, Ont.
- Teri Schiman, 37, of Vernon, B.C.
Sutton, Ezekiel and Ritchie were random-draw winners chosen from thousands of online entries to the contest's website. Ienna and Schiman qualified by winning regional shootouts at previous Capital One Grad Slam of Curling events this season.
'It was pure luck'
Sutton said he had never curled until he and his brother recently went to throw some stones at the St. John's Curling Club, about two hours from his home.
"We were there for an hour or so," said Sutton, who will be travelling to Oshawa with his wife, Marion. "I threw a few and it was … interesting. I hit the button two or three times, but it was pure luck."
"I've never played, but I've been watching curling on TV for years. I've always had a liking of the game. I find it amazing that they can put the stones wherever they want, and they make such great shots."
Ezekiel, a geologist currently working in Fort Nelson, B.C., said his curling experience is limited, so he'll try to practise before the semifinal.
"I've curled once in my life, and it must have been some kind of curling party, because alcohol was involved," he said.
"I'll be flying to Oshawa straight from Fort Nelson, and my work buddy set me up to throw some stones there before the flight. I've also got a friend who just moved to Whitby [Ont.] from Germany, so he and I are probably going to look for a place to throw some practice rocks on Saturday, after I've arrived [in Oshawa]."