NEEPAWA — Both hometown teams bowed out of the Safeway Championship on Friday, but they left with memories that will last a lifetime.
That may be truer for Kelly and Paul Robertson, a father and son duo who got to be on the ice at the same time for two of their four draws in Neepawa, where they live. This was Kelly’s 19th appearance at a provincial men’s curling championship and Paul’s second, and they loved having the chance to play in the same rink at such a high profile event in front of family and friends.
"It couldn’t be better than that, and the beauty of it is we seemed to be on the same draw time so it was pretty good for family to watch two games and get to talk about it afterwards," said Kelly, who was eliminated with a 7-6 loss to former Brandonite William Lyburn in a B-side semifinal.
"It’s been really special, the whole thing is."
"It’s always special when you’re curling beside him or watching him or whatever," added Paul, who plays lead for Jerry Chudley.
"To be in your hometown was pretty neat because you have the support of everyone. We didn’t find any extra pressure in front of everyone. You just have to go out and everyone has the same amount of bullets and go from there."
Chudley also fell in the B-side semifinals. He lost 9-4 to David Kraichy.
This year’s provincial championship may mean even more for Kelly in the future as he’s debating whether it will be his last. He has a lot of accomplishments to his name — notably a Canadian senior men’s title and a world senior men’s silver medal — and he has thought about focusing on his senior team of Doug Armour, Peter Prokopowich and Bob Scales, who he played with at Neepawa.
Kelly will decide this summer whether to continue playing men’s or just focus on seniors. If this was his final provincial men’s event, it’s an event he’ll keep close to his heart.
"It’s nice at home, but winning anywhere would have been nice," he said. "It’s just nice to play in Neepawa again. If that is the last one, what more could you want."
As for Chudley, who also curls with Kevin Cooley and Brent McKee, he hopes to get back to another Safeway Championship and hopefully post a better record than 2-2, which he has done in each of the past two years.
"We’ve had a good time," he said. "Wish we could have won a couple more games, but we’ll take what we get."