The Boston Pizza Open Senior Stick Bonspiel drew curlers from outside the Island and they rocked.
Among them was a curler from Armstrong, B.C., Tim Smith, who wore a black jacket with patches sewn on it indicating his achievements in this modified form of curling.
The 79-year-old player’s prized jacket exhibits vivid badges representing his four victories at the BC Championships and his hat-trick of wins at the Canadian Championships including one runner-rup result.
Smith, who used to play the traditional way of curling until health issues kept him from bending down, said he’s happy to be playing this modified version.
“I love the camaraderie,” said Smith. “It’s a gentleman’s sport. It’s just a lot of fun.”
At his age, Smith has no plans of slowing down. He wants to continue to compete. He plans to vie for another provincial crown and also play at the national championships in Prince Edward Island, gunning for his fourth Canadian title.
It took Smith a couple of years to become a top player in stick curling. His experience in playing traditional curling, he said, is a big advantage.
“You’re sliding the rock the same as with your hand,” said Smith. “It takes a while to become good at it. Having played the game before, you know how to play it but you just have to change the way you deliver the rock.”
Stick curling Smith said is great for seniors who are no longer able to get on their knees and slide the rock from the hack.
“We have more than a hundred seniors in Armstrong in our curling rink and most of them are stick curlers,” said Smith.
Smith was hoping to add the Parksville bonspiel to his conquests but was bested by the Nanaimo pair of Cliff King and Brian Scorer that took home the top prize, having finished first in the A Flight with a perfect record.
The Winners of the Boston Pizza Open Senior Stick Bonspiel are as follows:
A Flight: Cliff King & Brian Scorer – Nanaimo Curling Club – (Top Prize)
B Flight: Dennis Cassidy and Al Deines – Parksville Curling Club
C Flight: Derrell Sears & Sheron Sears – Armstrong Curling Club
D Flight: Bob Larsen & Don Boudot – Nanaimo Curling Club
E Flight: Ken Calthorpe & Richard Miller – Qualicum & District Curling Club
The Parksville Curling Club hosted the bonspiel. Organizer Chris Price indicated the event went very smoothly. It drew the expected 20 teams, with a lot more teams wanting to enter.
“Next season, there will be consideration to host this bonspiel over two-and-a-half days and increase the number of teams able to participate,” said Price. “We had to turn some teams away this year. Seeing that stick curling is growing in popularity we want to help support that growth.”
Price said they could not have hosted the bonspiel without the support of local businesses in Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
“Their support was one of the primary reasons this Bonspiel was a success,” Price said.