HURRY HARD! - Kelly McCullough threw a stone during an ‘A’ tournament game at the Lacombe Farmers and Farmerettes Bonspiel at the Lacombe Curling Club this past week.

HURRY HARD! - Kelly McCullough threw a stone during an ‘A’ tournament game at the Lacombe Farmers and Farmerettes Bonspiel at the Lacombe Curling Club this past week.

Lacombe plays host to annual bonspiel

More than 200 curlers took to the ice at the Lacombe Curling Club last week for the 72nd annual Farmers and Farmerettes Bonspiel.

By Zachary Cormier

It was a busy week at the Lacombe Curling Club.

More than 200 curlers took to the ice at the Lacombe Curling Club last week for the 72nd annual Farmers and Farmerettes Bonspiel, which ran from Monday through Saturday last week.

“It was a real success,” said Lacombe Curling Club Manager Myra Winslow after the week’s festivities had concluded.

The popular triple elimination tournament features teams of three local farmers that are then paired up with a local businessman or businesswoman during a draw at the beginning of the week.

This year, 48 rinks were featured in the Farmers’ draw while 12 teams entered the fray on the Farmerettes’ side of things.

The opening draw of the tournament was on Monday morning and, according to Winslow, the rink was consistently busy after that.

“We went all day Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. It went during the day on Friday and there was a banquet and dance on Friday night and then the finals went on Saturday,” she said, adding the number of games is fairly typical for the bonspiel.

“It was about the same. We had the same amount of rinks and everyone had a lot of fun. It was all positive feedback.”

Winslow added the games were fun to watch as well.

“It was some really good curling. We had a lot of competitive teams and quite a few senior teams. There was some good curling to be seen,” she said.

This year’s winners on the men’s side were skips Kevin Broderson in the A Division, Lyle Lorenz in the B Division, Dale Stannard in the C and Tanner Wass in the D. Ken Watson claimed the Hard Luck draw and Dana Kamlah captured the women’s title.

“It went really well. We were very happy about how it turned out for us,” Kamlah said after her team’s win.

This win was especially sweet for Kamlah’s team, who were just one stone shy of victory during last year’s bonspiel.

“Last year we played in the final game and it was very close. It came down to the last rock and I thought that I’d won it but my rock touched too heavy and it slid about a couple inches too far and we lost,” she said.

“It was a bit of a heart breaker for sure. So this year we came into it a lot more determined and really wanted to come back and actually finish off and win it. So it felt great to actually come through with finishing the week off strong and winning it.”

Kamlah said she has been competing at the tournament since 2011.

This year, as in previous years, her team consisted of her aunt Diane Ross and friend Erin Peck. The trio was paired up with Louise Pickett of Lacombe Travel.

“I do actually know (Louise) and her husband from before the bonspiel, so that was nice. We had a lot of fun together.”

The men’s side is always a highly contested affair, and this year was no different. It’s run in a triple elimination format, meaning that each team is guaranteed at least three games.

This year’s A final featured a battle of the heavyweights as Broderson’s rink took on Club play rival Regan Furhop. Both rinks have been competing at the bonspiel for a number of years and both teams have won finals, so it was bound to be a good one.

“We knew we’d have to play our best to stay in the game and have a chance of winning,” Broderson said.

Heading into the final end, Broderson held a 4-3 lead.

“It was very close. Back and forth, lots of rocks in play most of them in the four foot area and we were fortunate enough to get our rocks in the right place and have shot rock, the rock that’s going to count.”

By the end of it, Broderson emerged with the 5-3 victory.

“It’s always a fun week. It starts Monday and there’s a supper every night and lunch every afternoon so it’s a great bonspiel. The committee does a great job of putting it together. It’s a lot of hard work and it wouldn’t happen without all the sponsors that help out as well.”

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com