REGINA - Male curlers have joined their female counterparts in taking off a lot of their clothes for a fundraising calendar.
Brad Jacobs, skip of Canada's national champions and world silver medallists, is among the dozen men who posed for a "2014 Men of Curling Calendar."
"In talking to some of the other curlers in the calendar, it was kind of 'go with as much skin as you can without making it too ridiculous,'" Jacobs said Tuesday.
"Hopefully a lot of people will enjoy it, especially the women."
Women have posed for an annual curling calendar for several years. Among them were Kaitlyn Lawes and Jill Officer, third and second respectively for Jennifer Jones, Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard and Scottish skip Eve Muirhead.
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They've been photographed wearing curling clothes, workout wear, cocktail dresses and not a lot over the years.
The men have gone straight to near-nudity in their first calendar. Manitoba skip Mike McEwen graces the calendar cover wearing tight shorts and nothing else while balancing on concrete blocks.
Jacobs, who skipped Northern Ontario to a Brier title this year, says he's wearing a towel standing in the entrance of a sauna in his photo.
"I did that because a lot of people know I love to have saunas," the 28-year-old said.
In addition to Jacobs and his second E.J. Harnden, the men's calendar includes Olympic and world champion third John Morris, Glenn Howard's lead Craig Savill, Jeff Stoughton's third Jon Mead, Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud, Sweden's Niklas Edin and Scotland's David Murdoch.
The Curling News publishes the women's calendar. When the invitation went out to the men, Jacobs says there were a few e-mail exchanges between them saying "I'll do it if you do it."
Morris was the first curler invited and he helped recruit the rest, according to publisher George Karrys.
"I'm pretty laid-back so when I found out that most of the other guys were in, I had to be in," Jacobs said.
At $29.95 per calendar, the curlers have committed to donating some of the proceeds to an organization of their choice. Jacobs, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., has chosen the Soo Curling Association's junior curling program.
The calendars are also available to curling clubs to sell as a fundraiser.
Athletes employing their fit bodies to pose for calendars has become a popular way to raise money. The Canadian women's biathlon team published a nude calendar in 2008 and the national women's rugby team did the same two years earlier.
After curling became a full medal sport at the 1998 Winter Olympics, curlers paid a lot more attention to physical fitness and off-ice training.
Morris has a reputation as one of the fittest in the sport and Jacobs has muscular teammates who are in the gym a lot.
"Probably when everyone heard they were doing a calendar, everyone started hitting the gym a little bit more," Jacobs said.
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