The Brandon Ladies Bonspiel has become an annual tradition in the Wheat City and a highlight for Wenda Aube’s family.
When she was 17 years old, Aube entered the event with her mother, Audrey Williamson. Since then, Aube, who’s now 50 and lives in Douglas, has missed only one or two Brandon bonspiels. This year she’ll be back again curling in the event that begins Friday and wraps up with the event finals at the Brandon Curling Club on Sunday at 3 p.m.
“It’s important,” said Aube, who will be curling with Bev Richardson, her daughter Brittany Aube, and her sister Kim James. “When I always look at whether I should step back, I know if I did then my daughter might not keep going. We got her into it first. We got her to throw her first rock out here in Douglas.”
Curling has been a huge part of Aube’s family. Her parents taught her to curl at the one-sheet Roseland Club. Her mom skipped a team that reached the 1972 Canadian Macdonald Lassies championship and taught curling in high school with her husband, Jim.
Aube and her sisters took up the sport and now she’s trying to pass it on to the next generation. That’s important as the registration numbers seem to be decreasing for curling. The Brandon Ladies Bonspiel goes along with that trend as it will feature 26 teams this year, down from 32 last year.
The event used to have enough teams to split up between competitive and recreation squads. Aube hates to see the numbers go down, especially since she enjoys curling in the three-day event every year.
“It’s always a fun time,” she said. “You always see the same people every year and we enjoy it.”
This year’s event features some solid teams, including Stacey Fordyce’s team that went 4-3 at the provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Virden, as well as former national masters champion Joyce McDougall and four-time provincial women’s and two-time provincial senior women’s champion Lois Fowler, in addition to teams that play just for fun.
Aube loves the chance to knock off some of the big-name teams, but she’s just looking forward to continuing a family tradition and having a lot of fun at the Brandon and Riverview clubs this weekend.
“We’d like to win a couple of games,” she said. “We booked some rooms and will have some fun. They have a banquet Saturday night that we always enjoy and play some games.”
MANITOBA OPEN: There are seven Westman-based teams competing in the Manitoba Open — formerly known as the MCA Bonspiel — and five of them are hoping to secure one of the four remaining spots at the Safeway Championship. Among the 256 teams in the bonspiel are squads skipped by Virden’s Cory Zdan, Lansdowne’s Darko Reischek, Minnedosa’s Al McPherson, Pilot Mound’s Curtis McCannell and Glenboro’s Addison Cullen. Gladstone’s Geoff Trimble and Carberry’s William Kuran will also be playing in the event, which starts today and runs through Monday, but they have already locked up their berths in the provincial men’s championship.
SENIOR PROVINCIALS:The organizing committee for the Manitoba senior championships, which will be held at the Brandon Curling Club from Feb. 20-24, is looking for volunteers. Anyone interested in working the door, being a timekeeper or selling 50/50s can contact the club at 204-726-3560.
EXTRA ENDS: Monday is the deadline to register for the Riverview club’s Sweeping Cancer from our House bonspiel, slated for Jan. 24-26. Cost is $140. Register by email at firstname.lastname@example.org … The Rivers women’s bonspiel is Jan. 24-26. Cost is $100. Call Tara Smith at 204-328-7050.