Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 3/3/2017 (202 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Not everyone who curls wants to make it to the Olympics or national and provincial high-end competition, according to Paul Batchelor, manager of Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club.
Most curlers enjoy the sport at the club level, but even club champions get the chance to compete regionally, provincially and nationally at the Travelers Curling Club championships.
Assiniboine Memorial (940 Vimy Rd.) will play host to this year’s provincial Travelers event from March 16 to 19.
"It’s very well run, well organized," Batchelor said of the event.
The Travelers championships began with a Toronto curler, George Cook, who wanted an opportunity for club curlers to compete against one another in the same way that elite-level athletes do.
"There are restrictions, so it eliminates the elites, if you will, the grand slammers," Batchelor said. "You can’t go in if you’ve been to provincial finals too many times.
"It was long overdue and I’m glad it’s still there… it’s the event to vie for at the club level."
Hosting such an event is great resource for Assiniboine Memorial, too, as it brings in revenue and lets people in the community know that they’re around. Batchelor said although the club currently has around 1,200 members, there are very few players aged 35 to 50, and they hope to see more join.
Two Assiniboine Memorial teams will compete in the event, with the hope that being on home ice will give them a bit of an advantage.
Jared Brown, who plays on a team skipped by Scott Barth — which also features Adam and Matt Minor — said his rink is in its second year together as a group, though three of the four have played together for four years. He’s happy to have the chance to enter a competition as big as the Travelers.
"It’s for people who have regular day jobs and curl out of a curling club and are still pretty good but obviously not travelling all around the world," Brown said.
Brown and his teammates are eligible thanks to a win at their club championship in 2016.
"We beat a couple of really good teams from Assiniboine," he said.
Going into the Travelers, he said they want to "keep it fun. But we’ve been really thinking about making all of our shots and spending a lot of time on that.
"So much of curling is having a feel of the weight… it’s at our home club, and we can practise at our home club."
Kathy Cox and her Assiniboine Memorial rink has been playing together for five years.
"It’ll be a challenge for us because, on the average, when you look at the age average, we’d be older than most people we’re curling against."
Regardless, Cox said they are looking forward to the event, which will see a full house of spectators.
"We just want to give the other team a good run," Cox said.
She’s also involved with the club on a volunteer basis and is on the host committee for the club’s bonspiel.