Some spectacular shots in final draw in Bentley Sylvan Lake’s senior’s bonspiel

“We had lots of fun, Bentley is always a good event.” Don Finch

Top - A-event winners: Winning the Bentley / Sylvan Lake Senior’s Bonspiel ‘A’ event was Red Deer’s skip Don Finch

Extra work was needed to get the ice ready for the Bentley/Sylvan Lake Senior’s Bonspiel held in Bentley January 12-16 because the inside heaters had not shut off during the holidays and had caused some of the ice to melt.

And despite some people having to drop out for various reasons, the event still went ahead with a full slate of 32 teams.

Seniors like the format that has proven popular over the years.  All the curling is daytime, with only one game per day until the playoffs.  Cash is paid for each game won.  Free food supplied by the members and sponsored coffee is available for the curlers every along with candies to nibble on.  Having fun with good competition is the priority.

Coming out on top in the Servus Credit Union ‘A’ event was Red Deer’s Norm Crossman rink with last minute skip Don Finch, third Norm Crossman, second Jim Penman, and other subs including Gail Wilson as lead.  “We had lots of fun,” said Finch.  “Bentley is always a good event.”

They defeated the Red Deer Merle Craven foursome in seven ends making Bentley’s Merlyn Wilson third and Red Deer’s Bill Hanrahan fourth.

Winning the Cecil Galloway ‘B’ Event was the local Gary Sparrow team with Sparrow skipping, Michelle Lawrence third, Perry Widdifield second, and Mona Sparrow lead.  They defeated the Lacombe Chris Jenson team in seven ends, making Lacombe’s Jim Bruns in third and the local Doug Culshaw team fourth.

It was interesting to note that Widdifield also had his own team besides filling in on the Sparrow team so he ended up playing multiple games – at least two each day!  “I was lucky the two teams never played at the same time,” said a pumped Widdifield as he explained the two teams always played on different draws.

The two finishing on top in the Toothill Holdings Inc. “C” Event were Gord Traverse, Paul Gowans, Bob Nelson, and Mary Vincent from Red Deer who defeated Tom Barker from Sylvan Lake in a good match up.  With the score tied 5-5 after regulation play, a throw off with a draw-to-the-button was needed to declare the winner.

The other ‘C’ winner was Ken Cookson, Betty Cookson, Ross Crawford, and Florence Douglas from Lacombe who won over the local Gord Mydland team in the most exciting game on the ice in the final draw.

The teams were tied 5-5 after seven ends.  There were lots of rocks in play.  Eighty-eight year old Ken Cookson made a spectacular angle-raise-take out with his last rock and counted two.  There was jubilation and disbelief on the ice as an ecstatic third and her skip jumped up and down hugging!

When asked afterwards about the shot, an unusually humble Cookson said, “You should report about the shot that our third Betty made yesterday to get us into this game.  She partially covered the button in a shoot-out (in a tied game to advance us on)!”  Two picture perfect shots for them to remember about this year’s ‘spiel.

The Finished In Wood ‘D’ Event was played out to the fours making Dale Stannard from Red Deer, Perry Widdifield from Sylvan Lake, Dave Neufeld from Bentley, and Doug Norris from Sylvan Lake the four finalists.

A banquet was held in the Bentley Agricultural Centre on Thursday night for curlers and guests and was catered by Rochelle’s Bakes & Cakes.  Many door prizes and raffles were drawn for throughout the evening, adding to the fun.

Volunteers and the many cash, and door and raffle sponsors, most of who support the event year after year, all help make the ‘spiel the success it is.

The Bentley club’s seniors representative, Ralph Scarlett congratulated the winners and thanked everyone for coming when he passed out the final cash prizes in the club lounge.