As Canadian viewers watched the start of the Roar of the Rings – the nation’s best curlers vying for the right to represent Canada at the Sochi Olympics – the Comox Valley Curling Club was graced with the presence of former Olympians in our Mad about Plaid Ladies Bonspiel.
The many viewers, including our own local Olympian Lindsay Sparks, were treated to a final game match up of Lindsay’s former teammates Penny Shantz (Ryan) skipping against Debbie Jones-Walker in the Shearlocks Family Hair A event. All three ladies, along with TSN’s Linda Moore, took home the gold medal at curling’s debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics.
The Shantz rink of Penny, currently from Nanoose Bay, along with Sandra Jenkins and Kate Horne of Salmon Arm and Debbie Pulak of Nanaimo beat the Jones-Walker team in what started as a tight battle, but ended after seven ends. Playing along with Vancouver’s Jones-Walker was local Colleen Robson along with Teri Palynchuk from Nanaimo and Shirley Wong also from Nanoose Bay. Third in the event was the Thulin rink from Campbell River and fourth the Gallaway rink from the Comox Valley.
The Brian McLean Chevrolet Buick GMC B event winner was McGill, another local team, beating out the Walker rink from Campbell River. The Witt rink based out of Nanaimo took the Investor’s Group C event over the local Jonsson rink, with Campbell River’s Schopp foursome winning the 98.9 Jet FM D event over the combined Comox Valley/Nanaimo team Vardy.
The committee was thrilled with the response from local and out-of-town teams, as this was one of the larger bonspiels in recent history, with curlers arriving from Port Hardy to Victoria and the mainland.
The theme for the event was Mad about Plaid, and along with some great curling, fans were treated to the many, many patterns of plaid that curlers donned both on and off the ice. Hats, skirts, pants, sweaters, scarfs – some worn all at the same time – made the rink a bright and fun place to be. In true Scottish fashion, to the great delight of all the curlers and fans alike, the finalists were led out to the ice surface by local bagpiper Mike Smith along with his two sons Ewen and Fraser.
Saturday afternoon found the rink at close to capacity as many of our local vendors and crafters showcased their many crafts and wares at our Scottish Market, giving everyone a great start to their Christmas shopping. Saturday evening’s entertainment had the room “air drumming” along with the African-style music played by seven young musicians on marimbas, a big wooden xylophone type instrument by the exceptionally talented Kumbana Marimba from Parksville.
Thanks to the generosity of many local businesses, the curlers were treated to door prizes and raffles throughout the weekend. The Advanced Property Management Ltd Canuck tickets and hotel package, Sunnydale, Crown Isle, Olympic View and Arrowsmith golf package and the Western One equipment rentals, as well as many gift certificates, all donated by our local merchants and businesses had ticket holders on the edge of their seats, hoping for their numbers to be called.
Organizers thanked everyone who made the bonspiel a success. Our out-of-town guests were overjoyed with the hospitality not only at the club, but from the many restaurants, hotels and shops they visited, with all teams stating “they’ll definitely be back next year,” and we look forward to seeing them.
EXTRA ENDS Check out the Comox Valley’s curling club’s website for dates of our men’s and mixed bonspiels … the centre is also hosting the BC Senior Provincials later in the season …