A full complement of 32 teams was entered in the Bentley / Sylvan Lake Senior’s Bonspiel this year. There were lots of familiar names and faces as many teams come back year after year.
It was all daytime curling as usual, but there were some changes. It was held February 8-12 instead of in January, and the format was completely different.
Instead of one big 32-team bonspiel that played out to four different event winners, the teams were placed into four different pools at the start with eight teams in each pool.
“It is more like four different bonspiels running at the same time,” volunteer coordinator Ralph Scarlett explained. “It has been done that way at some other rinks and seemed to work well.”
Teams entered into the Mixed A Division (one or more of opposite gender) sponsored by Servus Credit Union – Bentley, or the Mixed B Division (one or more of opposite gender) sponsored by Cecil Galloway of Lacombe, the Masters Division (grand aggregate minimum age of 26) sponsored by Toothill Holdings Inc. from Red Deer, or the Stick Division (two or more sticks) sponsored by Finished in Wood from Eckville.
Every team played five games (one each day) so there were never two games in one day and with no game for some on the Friday. All teams knew ahead of time exactly when they played all week. Many players liked that idea.
Each draw was for one set division, so no mixing of divisions and less confusion. There were payouts posted all along the way.
The first games in each division were played to determine which half of the pool the team would play in. After everyone’s first game there was a shoot-out sponsored by Healthy Herds, Bentley, with every team member throwing a rock to get as close to the button as possible and earn team points.
In case of a tie in wins/losses on the square drawn, the team with the most shoot-out points would be seeded first.
Some of the results follow. Only the top two games of each division are listed here. All teams had a playoff game on Friday.
1st and 2nd: Bernard Merrick (Red Deer) over Cliff Carson (Lacombe). Both teams had won all three of their round robin games.
3rd and 4th: Doug Gordon (Eckville) over Chris Jenson (Lacombe). Both teams had won two round robin games.
1st and 2nd: Arnie MacKaskill (Lacombe) over Tom Barker (Bentley/Sylvan). Both teams had won all three of their round robin games.
3rd and 4th: Dave Neufeld (Bentley/Sylvan) over Mary Vincent (Red Deer). Both teams had won two round robin games.
The teams were so evenly matched that all four of the top teams in both the Sticks and Masters had won two round robin games each so the Shoot-out points had to be used to seed them.
1st and 2nd: Martin Wilson (Bentley/Sylvan) over Al Elliot (Bentley/Sylvan)
3rd and 4th: Merle Craven (Red Deer) over Merlyn Wilson (Bentley/Sylvan)
1st and 2nd: Bill Gibson (Red Deer) over Fred Schmaltz (Bentley/Sylvan)
3rd and 4th: Doug Norris (Bentley/Sylvan) over Gord Mydland (Bentley/Sylvan)
There was a banquet Thursday evening in the Bentley ag centre catered by Rochelle’s Bakes & Cakes from the Cross-eyedGiraffe. One round of golf for four at Lacombe and one round of golf for four at Sylvan Lake and a leather jacket were raffled off.
The arena concession was open for three hours around noon each day and lots of food was available every day upstairs in the lounge compliments the Bentley/Sylvan members.
It was very much a social event with less emphasis on the event winners.