This year’s provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts was more successful than Virden’s organizing committee hoped for and has given the community a solid start to raising money to build a new curling club.
Cory Barkley, one of the Scotties co-chairs, said there are a few more bills to pay, but he’s projecting a profit around $133,000 after hosting the provincial women’s curling championship at Tundra Oil and Gas Place from Jan. 8-12. That surpassed the committee’s expectations, as did the total attendance, which was around the 12,000 mark.
Although the profit from hosting the Scotties won’t build a rink by itself, Barkley knows it’s a big first stepping stone.
"I think the real positive thing is that you see the town certainly supports it as far as people who were willing to volunteer and I think the community on a whole, and that’s pretty big," he said.
"It will be a community effort to get it built. It’s a nice starting point for us. We have a long way to go, but in a smaller community it’s going to be a fundraising effort that gets that built and I think that’s what this is for us for sure. I think that’s huge for us. To exceed our expectations was nice, too."
Barkley felt a lot of things worked together for the event to be so successful. He felt people were starting to get cabin fever after Christmas and following a cold spell that let up during the five-day tournament. That combined with the passion for curling that people in the area have, along with Virden not having hosted a major event since 1988 created the perfect storm.
Barkley was also grateful for the sponsorship support his committee received, which greatly helped the bottom line.
After the success of the Scotties, Virden is already in discussions with CurlManitoba about hosting another major event, like the Safeway Championship. However, Barkley doesn’t expect that to happen for a while.
"I’ve already put a bug in CurlManitoba’s ear that we have an interest in hosting another event, be it a Safeway Championship or another event. I think our committee is on board for that," he said. "We’ll see what happens. Obviously, it won’t happen in the next year or two, but three, four, five years down the road I think we’d love to take another run at one.
"I’m pretty proud of our committee as a whole and everyone has said they’re willing to come back on board, which means a lot to us as co-chairs that people are willing to come back and that they enjoyed themselves. I look forward to the next time and hopefully it’s sooner than later."
BERTHS: Winnipeg will host a junior men’s and junior women’s berth bonspiel from Friday through Sunday.
DOMINIONS: The regional Dominion playdowns take place this weekend, with Wawanesa hosting Westman’s from Friday through Sunday.
SENDOFFS: The Brandon Curling Club will put on a sendoff for Lois Fowler’s team that will represent Manitoba at the Canadian senior curling championships, in the upper lounge on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, the Neepawa Curling Club will honour Kelly Robertson’s senior men’s team, which is also going to nationals, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
SUPER LEAGUE: The Westman masters super league is looking for new teams for next season. Contact Don Sumner at 204-728-9946.
EXTRA ENDS: The Riverview Curling Club will host its championship day on Sunday, while the Brandon Curling Club will host its on March 22 … The 115th annual Virden men’s bonspiel will run from Tuesday to March 23. Contact Jay Kinnaird at 204-851-1267 … Neepawa’s spring mixed bonspiel is slated for March 21-23. Cost is $100. Call Wanda Rainka at 204-476-3545 … Glenboro will put on a three-event men’s and women’s bonspiel from March 28-30. Cost is $140. Call Bruce at 204-827-2303 … Killarney’s last-chance bonspiel will take place from March 28-30. Phone Ron Stewart at 204-523-4428 … The Souris Survivor bonspiel will run from April 1-6.