DC, next stop for Peace Curling Tour

The third and final leg of the Pomeroy Inn and Suites Peace Curling Tour lands in Dawson Creek this weekend for the Mile Zero Cash Spiel.

Fourteen teams are lined up for the SunLife Financial Competitive Division, and sixteen teams will compete in the EnCana Challenge Division.

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Kurt Balderston of Sexsmith leads the competitive division entering the last event of the tour before the Championship in January. Balderston has won the tour's previous two spiels, giving him 24 points in the Pomeroy Championship standings.

Balderston and his teammates, third Les Sonnenberg, second Rob Maksymetz and lead Del Shaughnessy won the Q99 Grande Prairie Cash Spiel in late October to open the tour season. And two weeks ago in Fort St. John, Balderston won the Rhyason Contracting/Tidy Trucking/Fort Motors Cash Spiel with a 3-1 finals victory over Dawson Creek's Jordan Steinke.

Sexsmith's Graham Powell and Daylan Vavrek trail Balderston in second and third spot respectively. Powell has earned sixteen points this season with semifinal appearances at both Grande Prairie and Fort St. John, and Vavrek faced Balderston in the tournament finals at Grande Prairie. He shares third spot with Grande Prairie's Mark Pillsworth and Dawson Creek's Tracy Steinke - all with 12 points.

Tracy Steinke's rink of third Mark Heartt, second Stefan Pavlis, and lead Aaron Stock is the top Dawson Creek contender. Steinke reached the semifinals in Fort St. John only to lose to his sons' rink (skip Jordan, second Tristan) 9-7 in extra ends.

Jeff Ginter of Dawson Creek holds seventh spot with 10 points and was a semi-finalist in Grande Prairie. Fort St. John's Glen Godberson enters the Mile Zero Cash Spiel ranked seventh, his top finish of the season was a quarterfinal appearance at Grande Prairie.

On the Encana Challenge side it's Sexsmith's rink of skip Karen Powell, third Max Huitt, second Troy Milledge and lead Aleka Veiner that enter the Dawson Creek spiel as the team to beat.

Powell leads the Encana standings with 16 points; two more than Falher's Darren Turcotte who moved into second spot with a 5-4 finals win over Grande Prairie's Kellie Henricks at Fort St. John. Henricks now sits in third spot.

Fort St. John skip Jodi Busche is tied for points (14) with Henricks and Delia DeJong of Grande Prairie.

Dawson Creek's Marlene Maxwell has struggled this season, she is ranked 14th entering her home tournament.

Teams from both divisions are battling for a berth at the Tour Championship held Jan. 18-20 in Sexsmith.

The first rocks will be thrown Friday at 1:30 p.m. as the Encana Division gets underway with qualifying rounds. SunLife curlers take to the ice at 3:30 p.m. at the Dawson Creek Curling Club. The quarterfinals begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, semifinals are to be held at 1:00 p.m., and the championship matches start at 4:00 p.m.

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