CURLERS, you won't have Mel Marsh or Bev Harris to kick around anymore.
The two longtime drawmasters of the MCA Bonspiel are retiring after this year's event concludes on Monday and Marsh isn't sure how many tears are going to be shed in a curling community that loves to grouse and seemed to every year find quirky draw anomalies with which to pummel Marsh.
"I imagine I'm probably making some people pretty happy," Marsh laughed Friday afternoon at bonspiel headquarters, located at Canad Inns Polo Park.
Moments later and true to form, Marsh took a call from a curler upset that his team had been assigned to curl in Ste. Adolphe, one of the outlying clubs being used this year because the usual ice Curl Manitoba uses in Rosser was unavailable.
Marsh assured the caller he was welcome to apply for his soon-to-be-vacated drawmaster job.
Marsh has been involved in designing and operating the convoluted, one-of-a-kind draw since 1989, while Harris has been involved since 1980.
Because of the massive number of teams, the unique 13-event format of the draw, the ever-changing number of entries and the lack of a modern computer program to deal with it all, the draw must still be first done by hand -- Harris used paper, Marsh uses an Excel spreadsheet -- and then inputted into an ancient computer program that dates back to the mid-'80s.
The program is written in antiquated DOS and making matters worse for Curl Manitoba, one of the few people around who still speak its language, Terry Leitch, is also retiring after this year.
Curl Manitoba executive director Shane Ray said if the bonspiel continues in its present form next year, he has lined up potential replacements.
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There was an 8-ender on Friday.
Fort Garry's Gary McCartney hung a perfect end on clubmate Rob Hines in their Asham event match at Elmwood Curling Club on the 9 a.m. draw. McCartney won the game 11-1.
McCartney is listed as being supported by third Brian Ingimundson, second Art Riel, lead Randy Klassen and fifth Dean Herak.
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Dave Elias, David Kraichy, Cory Barkley and Dean North -- all still undefeated heading into Friday night's 6 p.m. draw -- are among the more notable names still looking for one of the final four berths into next month's Manitoba men's curling championship up for grabs in this year's bonspiel.
Teams still looking for a berth but already down to one leg heading into Friday night included Dean Dunstone, Kelly Marnoch and Murray Woodward.