This is the last weekend for women’s curling teams to prepare for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts provincial championship, and all three Westman squads are doing just that.
The Brandon-based teams — skipped by Stacey Fordyce and Liza Park — as well as Dauphin’s Lisa Menard are registered to play in the Brandon Ladies Bonspiel, which starts on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The bonspiel features 32 teams and five events, with draws held at both Brandon clubs. The finals are set for Sunday at 3 p.m., at the Brandon Curling Club.
Those three foursomes will need all the practice they can get as none of them were close to a top-five ranking for the Scotties, which runs from Jan. 23-27 in Stonewall.
Sitting on top of the rankings, which were released Wednesday, is five-time provincial and four-time national champion Jennifer Jones, whose team includes former Brandonite Jill Officer at second. Winnipeg’s Chelsea Carey, who has lost the last two provincial finals, is the second seed. She’s followed by Cathy Overton-Clapham, Barb Spencer and Janet Harvey.
Park will have to deal with Jones, Spencer and Harvey in her pool of eight teams, while Fordyce and Menard will have Carey and Overton-Clapham in theirs.
CurlManitoba also announced the 1-vs.-1 Page playoff game from the Scotties will be broadcast on Sportsnet West and Pacific on Jan. 26 at 8:30 p.m. The semifinal and final, which will be played at noon and 5 p.m. on Jan. 27, will be broadcast live on Sportsnet One.
MCA BONSPIEL: The final four berths available at the Safeway Championship — set for Neepawa’s Yellowhead Centre from Feb. 6-10 — will be decided this weekend at the 125th MCA Men’s Bonspiel in Winnipeg. This year’s event features 448 teams and runs today through Monday.
There are 21 teams from Westman in the massive event, including five from Carberry — Grant Calvert, Lorry Broatch, Kevin Olmstead, Kelly Marnoch and Rob Van Kommer. Brandon will be represented by Lory Saban, Rod McLeod, Trevor Pomeroy and Terry McNamee, while there will be three teams from Virden that will be skipped by Cory Zdan, Brent Duncan and Cory Barkley. Also in the field are Gladstone’s Geoff Trimble and Tom Otto, Hamiota’s Erle Brewer, Dauphin’s Glen Toews, Pilot Mound’s Curtis McCannell, Baldur’s Mike Johnson, Minnedosa’s Allan McPherson, Hartney’s Jess Williams, Neepawa’s Jerry Chudley and former Brandonite William Lyburn.
Lyburn, Chudley, McNamee and Trimble all have their spots for the Safeway Championship.
STURLING: The Brandon Curling Club is now offering sturling — two person stick or slide curling — from now through the end of the season. It will run Mondays at 1:30 p.m., and Fridays at 12:30 p.m. Curlers can enter as a team or individual, with the cost $5 per person per game.
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 Rivers men’s bonspiel will run from today through Sunday … Minnedosa will host a mixed bonspiel from Friday through Sunday … The Riverview mixed bonspiel is set for Jan. 25-27. Entry fee is $120 per team and can be dropped off at the club’s canteen … Wawanesa will host a men’s bonspiel from Jan. 25-27 and a women’s event from Feb. 1-3. Contact Trent Cullen at 204-824-2638 … Neepawa’s men’s cash bonspiel will run Jan. 25-27. The cost is $140. Contact Jack Follows at 204-476-5327 … The Rivers women’s bonspiel is slated for Jan. 25-27. Cost is $100. Call Tracy Roulette at 204-328-5249 … Virden is hosting a senior mixed bonspiel on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Entry fee is $100. Call Jim Lyons at 204-748-6634 … The Brandon club’s Silver Belles Bonspiel will run from Feb 6-7. Contact June Clark at 204-728-7482 … Minnedosa’s women’s bonspiel will run from Feb. 8-10. Fee is $120 per team. Contact Jackie Gerrard at 204-868-5658 … Killarney will host a women’s bonspiel from Feb. 8-10. Contact Kathy Clark at 204-573-6331.