SUNDRE — Organizers of the Sundre Curling Club open league’s bonspiel could not have hoped for a much better outcome.
Asked how everything panned out for the club’s season windup event, league rep Glen Smith described the bonspiel as “top-notch” and said it went “kind of over and above our expectations, as far as money raised in the spiel and just participation and everything. It was very well received.”
There were some local rinks among 24 teams that came to play — including numerous visitors who came out from Olds, Cremona, Cochrane and Eagle Hill — with the first draws getting started on the evening of Thursday, March 31 and the finals playing out on Sunday, April 3.
“In the past, we’ve been able to maintain that,” he said about getting 24 teams registered for the event. “It’s usually our biggest spiel.”
However, in the unfolding aftermath of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, the club wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of turnout, he said.
“We struggled to get the 24, but we did get them,” he said.
Club president Kris Burkholder said organizers were very pleased with the turnout.
“It was an awesome way to end the season,” said Burkholder, adding the banquet on the evening of Friday, April 1 was a "huge success” and that the players all had an opportunity throughout the entire weekend to “make new friends and catch up with old ones.”
The winners of the A event were Kevin Humphrey, Wanda Humphrey, Becca Hebert, Jordan Hebert and fifth member Bev Konschuh. Taking the B event title were Vair Whitlow, Brayden Stefler, Wade McArthur and Curtis Robertson. The C event winners were Smith, Kevin Irving, Aaron Feldkamp and Paul Gleeson, while the winners of the D event were Cindy Mintenko-Blackman, Alicia Brooks, Jean Prince and Marnie Shipley.
Following a late start to the season in early January, Smith said the club and players were after the pandemic-induced break eager to get back out again.
With the club having been able to successfully host several bonspiels over the past few months since, he said momentum seemed to be building up.
“People are just really glad to get back out curling and socializing,” he said. “Everything was just really obvious that everybody had been locked up for a couple years.”
Many players are already eagerly anticipating returning to the rink in November for a full season, he said.
“Everybody will be looking forward to November when we fire up again,” he said, optimistic about the prospect of improved registrations. “Hopefully, we’ll get back in and have more leagues.”
And above and beyond curlers’ enthusiasm to get back on the ice, Smith added some people were spending a little more and that numerous businesses also donated to the club.
All of the bonspiels provide a fundraising boost to help offset the club’s operating costs, he said.
“Especially now, with the utility prices going up quite a bit,” he said. “That’s how we stay alive and are able to curl, is these bonspiels.”