The competitive division of the Brandon Men’s Bonspiel should live up to its name this week.
Most of the 16-team field is from Westman, and 13 of the squads are still looking for a spot in the Safeway Championship, which will be held at Neepawa’s Yellowhead Centre from Feb. 6-10. With one berth in the provincial men’s championship up for grabs this weekend, it will be an all-out battle for most teams entered in the competition.
“I think there’s going to be a great field in there with 16 teams in the competitive (division) and any team can come out of there,” said Duane Lang, who is skipping his Riverview foursome of Glen Lang, Jamie Moreland and Dwayne Stone this week. “There’s a lot of hungry people out there. (Jerry) Chudley’s looking for one (spot in provincials). (Shawn) Taylor’s looking. There’s going to be a bunch.”
Getting to provincials would mean a lot to Lang. He looked at forming his own men’s team a few years ago, but held off when he got a call from Neepawa’s Kelly Robertson, who wanted him to continue curling with his men’s team. Robertson decided to focus on his senior team this season, allowing Lang to create his own men’s team, based out of the Riverview club.
They got off to a good start together and topped the Brandon Sun Super League of Curling standings with a 10-1 record. However, they lost both of their games in the Westman playdowns and are still searching for a spot at provincials.
Lang doesn’t just want the berth for himself; he wants to make a statement that good teams can come from both Brandon clubs.
“Because we’re from Riverview, everybody kind of looks down on us a little bit because we’re a bunch of farmers,” he said. “My biggest thing is I’d like to get a spot more for Riverview than myself.”
Also looking for the berth are Brandon’s Jim Renwick, Wawanesa’s Perry Fisher, McCreary’s Darko Reischek, Virden’s Cory Zdan, Pilot Mound’s Curtis McCannell, Dauphin’s Mark Hadway, Arden’s Kevin Paramor as well as Rob Van Kommer and Kelly Marnoch from Carberry. Arborg’s Kyle Foster is also looking for a spot. Brandon’s Rob Fowler and Beausejour’s Brendan Taylor are also in the field, but already have their tickets to Neepawa booked. Rui Liu and his Chinese men’s curling team rounds out the field.
The bonspiel starts tonight at both Brandon clubs, with eight teams qualifying for the playoffs. The final is slated for Sunday at the Brandon club at 3:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, the recreation side of the draw features 40 teams and four events. The event finals will be held at the Riverview Curling Club on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
SAFEWAY TICKETS: Full event passes for the Safeway Championship are on sale for $100. They can be purchased in Neepawa at Gill and Schmall Agencies and Harris Pharmacy as well as Brandon’s Dick Agencies.
EXTRA ENDS:The Brandon masters men’s bonspiel wraps up today with the competitive division final — and a provincial berth on the line — set for 1 p.m., at the Brandon Curling Club … Neepawa’s women’s bonspiel runs from Friday through Sunday … The Rivers men’s bonspiel is set for Jan 17-20. Cost is $100 per team. Contact Allan MacDonald at 204-328-7903 … Minnedosa will host a mixed bonspiel from Jan. 18-20. The entry fee is $100. Call Carol Taylor at 204-867-2245 … The Brandon women’s bonspiel will run from Jan. 18-20, with an entry fee of $180 per team, or $100 for junior squads. Contact Darlene McPherson at 204-728-5211 … The Riverview mixed bonspiel will run from Jan. 25-27. Entry fee is $120 per team. Entries can be dropped off at the club’s canteen … Wawanesa will host a men’s bonspiel from Jan. 25-27. Contact Trent Cullen at 204-824-2638 … Neepawa’s men’s cash bonspiel will run Jan. 25-27. Cost is $140. Contact Jack Follows at 204-476-5327 … The Rivers women’s bonspiel will run from Jan. 25-27. Cost is $100. Call Tracy Roulette at 204-328-5249 … Minnedosa’s masters bonspiel, which was slated for Jan. 26-27, has been postponed until March 2-3.