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Medieval theme at men's bonspiel
The 2014 Royal LePage Men's Open Bonspiel was a smashing success as dozens of teams descended on the Comox Valley Curling Centre from March 14 to 16. The Medieval theme brought out some fine costumes and a whole (Came)lot of shenanigans.
The A event final, sponsored by Assante Wealth Management, was a tight and nervous affair. When the dust settled, the Cote rink from Campbell River stood victorious. Norm Cote and his team (Ross Thomson, Jade Jensen), perhaps buoyed by the late-night antics of lead Dave Bastock, defeated the local Jack Holden rink in an extra-end final that had the gallery buzzing.
On both Friday and Saturday evening, guests were overwhelmed with appys and seafood. Thrifty Foods graciously provided a cornucopia of treats ranging from wings and bruschetta to marinated salmon and prawns, all served up by head icemaker/resident bon vivant Cody Hall.
The B event (AKA sandbaggers' flight) was sponsored again by ABC Printing; the final had plenty of rocks in play and plenty of action. In the end, Ron Schmidt and his rink (Randy Baert, Harvey Jenkins, Buck Briggs) soundly thrashed Campbell River's John Lapointe and his band of Merry Men. Mr. Lapointe is requested to please return the fork he "borrowed" from the olive dish. No utensils!
With many out-of-town teams (and some local ones) availing themselves of the adjacent RV parking, the castle was under siege throughout the weekend. Campbell River's Kevin May was at the centre of it all and was singled out with the prestigious "Spirit of the Spiel" award, but there were many fine gallants who fed the great atmosphere both upstairs and on the ice (you looked awfully cold out there in that kilt, Mr. Bill).
Saturday afternoon saw a hilarious break from the action with the always entertaining Skills Contest. Brett Friesen out-duelled the other paladins in assorted "curling" events and rode away with first prize. One of these years, someone will find a way to get all 16 rocks into the house in two minutes.....
The "utensil-free" banquet on Saturday evening had our lords and ladies tucking into turkey legs and racks of ribs, as Comox Valley Catering provided a sumptuous feast. With its salad-free menu, kingly portions, and gravy everywhere, that meal will long be remembered as an epic spread.
In the Colonial Countertops C event, the Peter Olsen rink (Jim Hogarth, Dwight Fulmore, Chris Holmes) ran roughshod over the field during the weekend. The team won five of its six games, including a final game vanquishing of the Jeff Pilon rink.
As always, many teams dressed for the occasion. We saw monks, squires, merchants, a bishop, a musketeer (?!), and lovely ladies to spare. Taking the top prize was the rink of Les Norman and his fellow Knights Templar who were not shy about displaying their Crusader outfits both on and off the ice. Where can one even get chain mail these days?
The D event was sponsored by Tony Pisto at Scotia McLeod, who has been a longtime and very active curling supporter. In the final, team Carr-Hilton (Cliff, Jay Dzuba, Cody Hall, Tyler Somerville) vanquished a Brian Baltis squad that just ran out of miracles after having a fine weekend. Team Carr-Hilton had been reeling, but recovered nicely from its tight loss to Cote in the opening-game "Battle of the Gingers."
All in all, this year's spiel was another triumph. Kudos go out to all of our supporters and volunteers who made it possible. Excelsior!
– Comox Valley Curling Centre