Featured Curling Athlete: Kevin Folk

As family ties go, it would be hard to top Kevin Folk’s.

Team BC's Kevin Folk at the 2012 Tim Hortons Brier (Photo Michael Burns)

The 32-year-old Kelowna, B.C., resident descends from curling royalty. His dad, Rick, is one of the finest curlers in Canadian history, having won two Brier titles (in 1980, representing Saskatchewan and 14 years later representing B.C.) and following up with world championships on both occasions. Trying to follow in his dad’s footsteps would be tough, but Kevin has obviously embraced that challenge rather well. He’s catching up with the old man in the Purple Hearts department, having won his third earlier this season throwing third rocks for Jim Cotter (Rick had five in his career), and also has a nice collection of titles in his own right. As a junior, Folk played in three Canadian championships and two national finals — in 1999 in his hometown while playing third for Jeff Richard, losing to John Morris in the gold-medal game, and then a year later, also as a vice-skip for Brad Kuhn in Moncton, where the B.C. champs beat Newfoundland and Labrador’s Brad Gushue in the final. Then, as Team Canada, Folk helped his team capture a gold medal at the world junior championships in Geising, Germany, beating Switzerland in the title match. Folk has made a smooth transition to men’s play. He’s played in five provincial finals, winning three of them — in 2008 (with Bob Ursel’s team that went on to finish fourth in the Tim Hortons Brier at Winnipeg), 2011 and this season. As well, Folk played for the Canadian team that captured gold in 2009 at the prestigious Karuizawa International Bonspiel in Japan. Birthplace: Saskatoon Hometown: Kelowna, B.C. Curling Club: Kelowna CC Current Team: Team Jim Cotter Position: Third Delivery: Right Nickname: K-Folk Quick Hits with Kevin Folk Do you have any superstitions? “I stick to the same routine when we are winning. Thankfully, there are no unhygienic superstitions involving wearing the same socks or underwear over and over.” Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party. “Gordie Howe and my grandfathers.” If you could be a star any other sport, what would it be, and why? “Football. After being to a couple of games I think it would be such a rush to go out onto the field in front of all those crazy fans.” If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why? “Switch all competitions to using thinking time like they do in the Slams and the Canada Cup so that teams aren’t punished for playing more draws.” What music, if any, do you like to listen to before a game? “Not a big music guy, but when I do before a game it is usually along the lines of Metallica.” Favourite: — Website? “slam.canoe.ca.” — Order from Tim Hortons? “Turkey bacon club, no honey mustard, add Tim’s sauce and cheese, toasted on a whole wheat bun plus either a chocolate glaze or honey cruller.” — Vacation destination? “What’s a vacation?? Curling takes all my holiday days. My last hot vacation was Mexico 11 years ago, so let’s go with Mexico.” — Junk food? “Pretty much anything chocolate; just finished a bag of peanut M&M’s.” Do you have any pet peeves? “Bad drivers, especially the ones who drive side by side on a two-lane street doing under the speed limit. Grrr.” Person who had the most influence on your curling career. And why? “My dad Rick. I spent a lot of my youth watching him curl. Shortly after moving from Saskatoon to Kelowna I got to watch him at the 1989 Brier back in Saskatoon and I have wanted to play at the highest level since then. He always supported my curling endeavors without ever pressuring me into the sport.” First thing on your Bucket List? “Go on a hot vacation finally!!!” Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels? “After eating, it is a toss-up between napping and reading — exciting, I know.” Mixed doubles in the Olympics — thumbs up? Thumbs down? And why? “Thumbs up for the fact that it gets more curling exposure and opportunity to go to the Olympics. I have never tried it but I think it looks kinda goofy with having to get up and sweep your own rock, so why not just full squad mixed?” One thing most people don’t know about you? “I am very competitive — so much so that I quit golf at one point when my little sister starting beating me (in fairness she was pretty darn good and did end up with a full-ride scholarship in the U.S.)” Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal: “As a third, I guess I am most likely to be in the house calling line for Jim’s draw to the button. If I am throwing a shot for the win as a third, it is a double-takeout to run the opposition out of rocks.”

(Photo Michael Burns)