One thing for certain, these days it’s pretty much all about curling for Parksville’s Penny Shantz.
“Oh yeah,” she chuckled Sunday when The News caught up with her.
Shantz has been busy for months as event chair for the 2012 BC Men’s Curling Championship — the biggest curling event in the province takes over the Parksville Curling Club Feb. 8-12.
On Saturday down at Kerry Park, she skipped her team to a first place finish at the eight-team Sr. Ladies Zone Playdowns and the best of four berths in the B.C.s up for grabs.
Winning, she admitted, never grows old, but makes the point that competing in Sr. Ladies is a nice change from the pressures of high level women’s curling.
This is Shantz’ second year competing in Sr. Ladies (for curlers 50 and over).
Talk to the longtime curler and manager of the Parksville Scotiabank, and Shantz makes it clear no mater what happens, it was great to be reunited with her good friend Debbie Jones-Walker from Vancouver who is her 3rd.
The two were teammates back in 1988 when they won a gold medal at the Calgary Olympics when curling was a demonstration sport.
“It’s been years since we curled together but we remained real good friends, so last summer we decided to put a team together.”
Rounding out the Shantz rink are 2nd Debbie Pulak from Nanaimo, and Lead Shirley Wong from Qualicum Beach.
The Shantz rink won their first three games out of the gate, which, in a triple knockout format, meant they were through to the B.C.s by Saturday afternoon.
It was a good news-bad news opening game for local fans as Shantz opened the bonbspiel last Friday with a big 11-4 win over defending BC, Sr. Ladies champion, Qualicum Beach skip Lynne Noble and company, then won game two 9-4, and game three 7-3.
They are the only Island team to qualify for the provincials, which runs Feb. 14-19 in Kelowna.
Noble and her rink saw their season come to an end Sunday afternoon when they lost their C Event qualifier.
Qualifying for the Sr. Ladies provincials “was one of our goals,” Shantz said.
“It was great to be back with Debbie again and to win (the zones) … we’ve done pretty good together. We have lots of fun, and it’s really good to have someone on the team that understands the game as well as she does … they all know what teamwork is all about.”
Penny, 51, moved here four years ago. She lived in Kelowna from 1989-2005 and was president of the Kelowna Curling Club for four years. Prior to that she won the Alberta curling championship — twice in Ladies, and once in Mixed — “and I also lost in the final of the BC Ladies three times — the last time in 2001,” she grumbled good-naturedly,
“That was my life for a lot of years,” she said of Ladies curling, “and so its nice to be (in Sr. Ladies). It’s like going back home with all your curling friends.”
AS FOR THE Canadian Direct Insurance 2012 BC Mens Provincials presented by Dundee Wells and Save On Foods, Shantz said it’s been all hands on deck for a while now, and that the local club is looking forward to playing host.
“We started working on this in March of last year … there’s a lot to do,” she said, adding “we have an awesome committee — everybody’s doing their own little jobs. I can tell you I’ve never worked with a better committee; everybody is on side and helping in any way that they can.”
This may be her first time as event chair of a major bonspiel, but Shantz has been involved in lots of championship committees, including the World Juniors, the Canadian Juniors and most recently the BC Masters held in Qualicum Beach last year.
This year’s BC Mens event will feature 16 teams in a triple-knockout format.
Tickets for the BC Mens are $5 at the door for each draw or $40 for a full event pass.