Davis to host curling event for charity

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Vernon Davis is hosting his own version of a bonspiel -- better known as a curling tournament.

The San Francisco 49ers' Pro Bowl tight end is calling Bay Area curlers, and those just eager to learn or help a good cause, to the ice for a charity event Wednesday night in San Jose at the very place he first tried curling last November and loved it. Davis hopes his function, called "Curling with the Stars," will do well enough that he can hold it again next year. Perhaps even making it an annual event.

Scheduled to attend are 2010 Olympic curlers John Benton and Chris Plys and coach Phill Drobnick. Davis watched the U.S. men's foursome compete in Vancouver for a weekend in February as the team's honorary captain. He brought up the idea for this event at the time.

"It's a great opportunity to get out and show everybody what curling is about," Davis said. "It's fair to say I'm the No. 1 curling fan."

He expects around 50 people for the function, having sold a half-dozen sheets of ice time. They will receive instruction from the Olympians before the friendly competition. There will also be a dinner and silent auction with part of the proceeds benefiting the Davis Family Foundation and the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club.

Other 49ers players and local celebrities also are set to take part.

Davis is a lifelong Olympics fan and rooted for the American men's curlers and was thrilled to get the chance to serve as the curlers' honorary captain in Vancouver.

The opportunity came about after Davis gave curling a try and captured the attention of USA Curling officials in Wisconsin. They made the invite, eager to form a a positive partnership with the NFL star -- also a captain for the 49ers.

Considering his intense offseason training regimen, he hasn't had time to get back on the ice. He's eager to do so Wednesday "to demonstrate and fall on my back a little bit," he said with a chuckle before noting, "I better not."

Davis finished his fourth NFL season in 2009 with career highs of 78 catches and 965 yards and tied Antonio Gates' NFL record for touchdowns by a tight end with 13. After the season, Davis shot several curling public service announcements at 49ers team headquarters and with the Bay Area club at the San Jose Sharks' practice ice.