The smile on Colin Kurz's face was as as wide as the Deer Lodge Curling Club and bright enough to light up the west end of Winnipeg.
With a 6-4 victory over Jordan Smtih of East St. Paul Friday night, the young 15-year-old skip and his Wildewood Curling Club foursome have punched their ticket to the 2013 Canola Junior Provincial Championships, Jan. 3-7 in Brandon.
That's the big prize and there were a whole pile of hugs and high fives in the immediate aftermath of Friday's big win.
But in the here and now, Kurz's win also launched his squad -- including Weston Oryniak, Ryan Lemoine andBrendan Bilawka -- into the A Final of the Tim Hortons Christmas Youth Bonspiel against Matt Dunstone of St. Vital.
"I'm pretty sure this is a berth (Curl Manitoba officials confirmed as much later Friday night). We were told that through the point system that we were in for sure now," said Kurz. "This is pretty cool. Maybe I'll get to play my brother's team in the provincials."
And here's where this story takes a unique twist.
Kurz's brother Kyle is a member of Kyle Doering's squad -- the defending Manitoba champions who already have a berth in next week's provincials -- and there is also another brother act in play.
Derek Oryniak is part of Doering's squad and his younger brother Weston, get this, is Colin Kurz's third.
"We struggled in the first part of the season, but Christmas has always been good to us -- we won the last two Christmas bonspiels we were in and now we're in the finals of this one."
Asked how he may celebrate, Kurz just shrugged and grinned.
"I'm going to go home and sleep. Hopefully we can win again tomorrow."
Dunstone, meanwhile, emerged with a thrilling 7-6 victory over Cole Peters of West St. Paul to advance. The Dunstone quartet already has its berth in next week's provincials.
"This is good preparation to expose us to other junior teams who also have their spot," said Dunstone. "We don't want to go into Brandon looking flat, because that's possible for teams that don't play junior events. We try to play in as much juniors as we can."
Dunstone himself is also on a bit of a roll. Last March he skipped an entirely different quartet to the Manitoba High School Athletic Association championship out of Linden Christian School.
"All I can tell you," said Dunstone, "is I have been surrounded by some pretty great curlers. Those guys make it easy for me."
Both A-event finals in the Christmas Youth Bonspiel, a holiday tradition in these parts, go today at Assiniboine Memorial -- the junior women at 4 p.m. followed by the junior men at 7:30 p.m. One junior men's and one junior women's berth remain up for grabs heading into the final day of the event.
In junior women's action, Jennifer Curle of Minnedosa advanced to the final with an 8-6 victory over Brooklyn Meiklejohn of Pembina. She'll meet Christine McKay of Wildewood, who advanced with a 9-3 win over Meagan Grenkow of Assiniboine Memorial.
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