WINNIPEG — Since curling became an Olympic sport, the most competitive teams have become very dedicated to the game.
They can often be found lifting weights in the gym and training on almost a daily basis. However, Brandonite Scott Ramsay and his Winnipeg-based men’s team seems to be the exception to the rule.
Three years ago, Ramsay created a new team that includes Mark Taylor, Ross McFadyen and Kyle Werenich with the goal to be competitive while living the old-school life as a curler, not afraid of enjoying the social aspect of events.
The foursome are rarely found at the gym training to stay in shape to sweep a ton of rocks during bonspiels and their first team practice this season came Tuesday on the eve of the Safeway Championship, but success still seems to follow the team.
They reached the final 12 of the 2012 provincial men’s curling championship and the final six last year in Neepawa. The squad believes it can have more success this year in Winnipeg and is happy to show there is a middle path between being a recreational team, happy to be at the Safeway Championship, and a serious contender that avoids the bar after its games.
"We know what we can put into the game and we're all very competitive people," Ramsay said after defeating Don Nelson 8-3 in his first game of this year’s Safeway Championship on Wednesday. "We're still able to compete and the goal was at the same time to make sure we're having a good time. I've said it before, but we don't let curling get in the way of our good time. That's how we roll."
Just because Ramsay’s squad doesn’t practise a lot doesn’t mean the team isn’t talented. McFadyen is a two-time junior champ and a former mixed provincial champion and Taylor also has a provincial mixed crown to his credit. Every player has appeared in at least 10 Safeway Championships before this year’s event.
What started out three years ago as the "Ramsay Experiment" to see if they could play competitively while having fun and enjoying some drinks, has proven successful and they’re starting to expand their ranks by bringing in a few spares.
While they have found success at previous events, Ramsay knows there are downsides to their habits. He knows his team won’t make as many shots as other teams that practise all the time and they also have to be careful with their social life to make sure they don’t feel too groggy the next day.
"We could have been gotten today because we may have had a few too many cocktails yesterday, so we were definitely getable," Ramsay said. "I think as the week goes on and we settle in, we'll be OK."
JUNIOR CAMP: CurlManitoba will host a junior high-performance ID camp at the Brandon Curling Club on Feb. 16. The camp is open to curlers born between 1996 and 2002 who are interested in training year-round. Cost for the camp is $36.75. To register, email Connie Laliberte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 50/50 tickets can contact the club at 204-726-3560.
EXTRA ENDS: The Clanwilliam Curling Club is hosting its 100th annual bonspiel this week. It’s one of the biggest events in the history of the two-sheet rink. Despite the hamlet of Clanwilliam only having about 53 residents, there are 40 teams registered for this year’s historic event, with a trip for two to Las Vegas among the prizes up for grabs. The bonspiel wraps up on Sunday … Minnedosa’s women’s bonspiel is set for Feb. 7-9. The entry fee is $120. Contact Cheryl Orr at 204-867-2211 … The ANAF Unit No. 10 mixed bonspiel will take place from Feb. 8-9. Entry fee is $170. Contact Ed Gilbert at 204-729-7932, Kim James at 204-724-0153 or Wenda Aube at 204-763-4313 … The Silver Belles Bonspiel, for women 60 and older, will run Feb. 12-13 at the Brandon Curling Club. To register, call Donna Vrooman at 204-726-5179, June Clark at 204-728-7482 or Marg Senkbeil at 204-728-3921 … Neepawa will host a youth mixed bonspiel on Feb. 15. Contact Jeff Cook at 204-841-3309 … Virden’s Legion is hosting a funspiel on Feb. 22. THE Cost is $80 and teams play two games in the 16-team event. Register at 204-748-1668. …Hamiota’s senior mixed bonspiel will run from Feb. 24-26. Contact Linda Wilson at 204-764-2642 or Sharon Hebert at 204-764-0430.