From good luck charms to winery poker, this year’s summer bonspiel in Osoyoos rocked the rink.
“It was fantastic, and the hospitality was second to none,” said Curt Hart, whose team from Calgary won the A event.
The Harts (Curt, son Shane and wife Desiree) have been coming to the bonspiel for the past 10 years, ever since Shane was 14 (he’s now 24).
Shane said they don’t curl that often together, so it’s nice to come to Osoyoos and play as a family team. Their fourth player this year was Jan Dewar from Osoyoos (you’ve got to have some local expertise, you know).
Pat Wycherley, who organized last weekend’s event with husband Herb and Betty Steinbart, said the bonspiel (running now for 39 years) attracted 40 teams, including 10 local skips.
This year’s theme was “flower power of the 1960s,” and it brought people from all over, including North Vancouver, Nanaimo, Saskatchewan and Spokane.
A very popular feature this year was “winery poker” involving many local wineries that helped sponsor the bonspiel.
Pat said curlers visited the wineries and received stamps, which were then turned in for playing cards that were used to play poker. The best hand won wine, of course.
“It was a great way to give back and say thank you to our sponsors; it was a win-win situation,” said Pat.
Another highlight was the horse races where curling brooms were raffled off, decorated and then entered into a race in the curling rink lounge. Winners walked away with cash from the pot.
Okay, let’s get down to some curling.
In the finals on Sunday, the Mitchell/Majeau team from Osoyoos won the D event. Skip Jami Mitchell (nee Quintal) said since they started using 13-year-old daughter Jesse, the team started winning.
“She was our little good luck charm,” Jami said, noting rather jokingly that Jesse only curls when her mother makes her.
Jami and sister Joelle Majeau have been curling in the Osoyoos bonspiel for the past 30 years.
Jesse doesn’t know if she’s really a good luck charm or not, but she kept the games more light hearted than competitive.
“When someone (on our team) made a mistake, I kept their spirits up.”
Jesse acknowledged that a lot of youth may find curling dull and boring, but she admires the sport for its camaraderie and communication.
“I grew up in the curling rink; I was always around it.”
B event winner Mark Bailey with his wife Bev from North Vancouver said this particular bonspiel is so well organized, noting the winery poker event was a brilliant idea. In fact, they went back home with two cases of wine.
Fellow team member Patty Pedersen said the bonspiel is really all about the camaraderie, not so much the curling.
“I don’t care whether I win or lose, it (the curling) is almost secondary to me.”
C event winner Craig Koch from Strathmore, AB, was very impressed with the event and gave kudos to Pat, Herb and Betty.
“I’ve never played in the summer (before). The ice was exceptional.”
Koch said the smoke in the valley didn’t deter them at all, noting the smoke in Calgary is the same. But inside the rink it’s crisp and clear, which is a nice break.
Special to the Times