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MQFT with Kirk Muyres

This week, John sits down with Kirk Muyres, the 2011 Canadian Junior champion, the 2018 Canadian Mixed Doubles champion, 2018 World Mixed Doubles bronze medallist, and a 4-time Brier participant with one Brier bronze medal. Kirk is now skipping his own team of brothers, with his own brother Dallan at lead, and the Marsh twins at second and third.

Welcome to Magical Question Fun Time, the Curling Canada feature in which comedian John Cullen sits down with your favourite curlers for interviews like you have never seen. Each interview will feature eight questions: five standard questions for each curler, two questions specific to the featured curler, and one question provided by the previous curler interviewed.

Kirk Muyres in action at the 2018 Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship in Leduc, Alberta (Curling Canada photo)

1. What’s the nicest shot you’ve ever been a part of?

Kirk Muyres: I’m between two, you can pick one.

John Cullen: I’ll probably just print them both. [laughs]

KM: [laughs] Ok, deal. Well, the first one I don’t really wanna give [Braeden] Moskowy too much credit, but it was at the national juniors. We were playing Manitoba (Sam Good) in the juniors in 2011, and we were undefeated to that point. We were down two coming home, and they had split the house on us, like we’re talking 12-foot to 12-foot. We had a biter at the top of the rings, and we had to make a cross-house double to score two. It was so flat, I don’t know how he made it. Just threw an absolute rocket, I swept it all the way across the rings, and it just moved the second one far enough to get two. We stole in the extra, and didn’t lose the rest of the way.

Kirk Muyres, Matt Lang and Colton Flasch at the 2011 Canadian Juniors in Calgary (Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

JC: It is a shame to see you give Braeden any credit, but it happens. [laughs] And the second?

KM: This was with Steve Laycock in the 2015 Brier. We needed to beat Kevin Koe to make the playoffs, and Steve had to make a really skinny double, hit about a third of the stone and then roll over the top of the face of the other one for two. He made it, we made the playoffs, and won a bronze.

JC: It must be nice playing third for those moments, you just have to yell and not do a lot else.

KM: Playing third is the best position when you’ve got a hot skip. You just sit back and watch the magic happened. And it’s the worst when they’re sucking, because they’re just grumpy and you have to try your best to make it easier on them.

2. If there was an action figure made of you, what non-curling accessory would it come with?

KM: I would have a bag of chips under one arm, and a calculator in the other.

JC: Nerd.

KM: [laughs] Well, I’m a mortgage broker, so it seems like I’m always calculating something. I’m fine with being a nerd. [laughs] Plus, it would be pretty cool to have an action figure come with a working calculator.

JC: And what about the chips? I noticed that Dallan said in your Team Muyres videos—which I love, by the way—that if he picked your Halloween costume, he would dress you up as a bag.

KM: Well John, I just love to eat away a big loss with a bag of chips. [laughs] I’m very disciplined with my eating. I have a rule that the week before a spiel, I’m only eating healthy. So as soon as that spiel ends, I’m hitting a bag of chips. Could be a big loss, could be as a reward, but you can ask Dallan, on the ride home from a spiel, I’m eating chips every time. And make them Miss Vickie’s, any flavour. I gotta have that crunch.

It’s all about the chips, says Kirk Muyres: “I gotta have that crunch.” (Dallan Muyres describes his brother’s perfect Halloween costume on the team’s vlog)

3. If you were forced to rob a bank, which two curlers—you can’t choose more than one teammate—would you choose to be on your squad, and what role would you play?

KM: I have to say, my mixed doubles teammate Laura made some great choices in Flasch and Benny, but I won’t say the same. I’m going to go with Drew and Mitch Heidt.

JC: Whoa, that’s a bit of an insider’s pick right there. But might be the perfect pick.

KM: If you’ve ever played them before, it goes without saying. I would send the two of them into the bank, and they can just do whatever. I’ll be the lookout.

JC: Yeah, I don’t even think you’d have to worry much. Lots of people choose the lookout role, I have to say.

KM: Well, as soon as the cops came, I’m out of there. I’m looking out…for myself. [laughs]

JC: I like that you left Josh out of the mix. I’d be a bit worried Drew and Mitch might argue with each other inside the bank though.

KM: Yeah, if things go sideways, they might end up stopping each other from robbing the bank, the cops wouldn’t need to do anything. [laughs] But I know they wouldn’t go down easy.

JC: [laughs] Oh no, they’re fighting for sure.

KM: Their name does precede them a bit, they’re good guys. I think they can figure it out. I like to imagine Brad is the crime boss, like the Godfather. He’s involved, too. [laughs]

4. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

KM: Well I grew up in a small town about an hour east of Saskatoon called St. Gregor. About 100 people live there, and we have a manufacturing plant in town called Western Industries. I got a summer job there and my job was to grind rust off of poles.

JC: [long pause] Really?

KM: Yes. It was hot, the building was super hot, no ventilation, you’re wearing a mask and coveralls, and you’re just…grinding rust off of poles. It was pretty awful. And back then, it wasn’t like you had portable music, no podcasts, you just did it and hoped the guy beside you was entertaining enough to shoot the breeze with.

JC: It sounds like a nightmare. I worked in a warehouse for two summers as well, and it’s tough. But the people do make it. Plus, it’s a small town. You got a sign? 100 people, I imagine you’ve got a sign up like Steve [Laycock] does in Saltcoats.

KM: No sign yet. I have to win something first. [laughs] We came fourth at the world juniors, maybe if I won it, my name would be up there. There’s a company in town that’s a long time sponsor of ours, Michel’s Industries. They told us if we win the Brier, the sign is going up. So hopefully we’ll get that done soon.

5. What’s a stupid thing you incorrectly believed was true for a long time?

KM: I had the classic kid one, where I thought that jet exhaust made clouds. I think I thought that was the only reason most of the planes flew, was to make clouds. I probably believed that for most of my childhood, in fact.

JC: It’s an easy one to believe, especially if you never flew yourself.

KM: Well exactly, I’m a small town kid, I don’t think I flew until I was 13 or so. I didn’t even really know what flying was, I was just a silly kid from St. Gregor. So I know that’s something I definitely believed for a long time.

JC: Did no one ever set you straight?

KM: Well, I don’t think I ran it by anyone. [laughs] I just knew that was a fact in my mind, and stuck with it. Once I got a plane, I think I figured it out. [laughs]

6. Alright, now for the Kirk-specific questions and this one comes in from a truly anonymous source, who asks me to tell you the story of how you paid the bill at a place called Mr. Beer?

KM: [laughs] I wonder who that anonymous source could be, considering this happened at the Curling World Cup? Well, we played Team USA in the final, as you know, and Sarah and Korey (the US Mixed Doubles team, Anderson and Dropkin) are good friends. We told them that we would pay for everything since we had just won the final.

So we’re out, having a good time, and then it’s time to go and we get our money out and realize we don’t have nearly enough to cover the bill. So we hand over a credit card, no dice. Cash only. So we offer to take them out, then we had to ask them for cash. Turns out, they didn’t have enough. So Sarah and Laura left to go find cash and Korey and I stayed so they didn’t think we were skipping out on the bill. They couldn’t find an ATM, but they did find the American women’s team, and THEY paid the bill for us.

JC: That sounds like a confusing ordeal.

KM: Well, I won the Curling World Cup and got the Americans to pay my bill for me, so I’d say overall…pretty good day. [laughs]

Team Canada’s Kirk Muyres and Laura Walker and USA’s Korey Dropkin and Sarah Anderson are friends and competitors on the ice at the first event of the Curling World Cup in Suzhou, China. Dinner out afterwards didn’t go so well, though. (WCF/Céline Stucki photo)

7. Now you’ll probably be able to guess who my “anonymous source” is on this one, but I was told that I should also ask you this: which is the more respected sport: volleyball or curling?

KM: Well, I think the source of this is laying on the couch beside me right now, so I should be careful. (note: Kirk’s girlfriend is Claire Hanna, sports reporter for CTV Regina and former Canadian National volleyball player and three-time U Sports national champion) That said, I think it’s an easy question. Is the Canadian Volleyball championship broadcast nationally on TSN and put in huge arenas across Canada? I think you can fill in the answer on that one. And now Claire is giving me a very dirty look.

JC: [laughs] Well do they even have a national volleyball championship?

KM: You know what John, I don’t think they do. And you can’t even drink beer or smoke cigarettes while you play volleyball. What kind of sport is that? I’m taking curling in a landslide.

JC: Man, it’s crazy to watch the old highlights with guys smoking, the corn brooms. The sport has changed so much.

KM: Well that’s another thing! Curling is constantly evolving. Volleyball? Same thing. Ball over net. BORING. It’s curling. Sorry Claire.

8. And the final question comes in from your mixed doubles partner, Laura Walker, and I think she maybe wants to know the answer to this as well. If you were forced to play only one discipline for the rest of your curling career, what would it be? Men’s or mixed doubles?

KM: This is a tough question. But I think when it comes down to it, my skip in mixed doubles is better than my skip in men’s, so I gotta go with mixed doubles. Plus, I think my record in mixed speaks for itself. I’m probably around .500 lifetime in men’s curling, and I think in my whole mixed doubles career I’ve maybe lost 5 or 6 games. So I gotta stick with mixed doubles.

JC: And it’s getting more popular by the day.

KM: It’s true! I really enjoy it, if you haven’t played yet, it’s super fun. I think any curler that gives it a try will like it. It’s quick, it’s fun. You’re in and you’re out, that’s what I like about it.

JC: All right, and I need a question for my next guest, Shannon Birchard of Team Einarson!

KM: Ooh, all right. She’ll be a good one. I actually have a technical question for her: ask her where she learned her delivery. She holds the handle straight, and then kinda puts the turn on it, and then releases. I’m curious as to why she does it that way, and how she’s made it so successful.

JC: Awesome, thanks Kirk! Best of luck the rest of the way this season!

As always, you can follow John on Twitter @cullenthecurler and his podcast @stonestrawpod, and you can follow Kirk @kirkmuyres.

Kirk Muyres waves to the Team Canada fans after winning the gold medal in Mixed Doubles with Laura Walker at the first leg of the 2018 World Cup of Curling in Suzhou, China (WCF/Céline Stucki photo)