Blind curlers from 100 Mile House heading to Vancouver for provincial playdowns

Three 100 Mile House curlers will be taking their talents to Vancouver to participate in the 2018 West Coast Blind Curling Association Provincial Playdowns, their eighth time doing so. The tournament will be on Jan. 11 and 12.

Three 100 Mile House curlers will be taking their talents to Vancouver to participate in the 2018 West Coast Blind Curling Association Provincial Playdowns, their eighth time doing so. The tournament will be on Jan. 11 and 12.

“We’re hoping maybe we could put up another banner up in the local curling rink here,” said Lory Fry, the teams third.

The team, skipped by Jim Vinson, started playing in 2011 and hosted and won the tournament in their debut season.

Only Vinson played curling before the 2011 team won the tournament, but now Marilyn Vinson (the team’s second) and Fry are seasoned vets. Fry, a self-described behind the scenes type, became involved after reaching out to Vinson, who didn’t have the patience for the paperwork and other administrative duties.

The team has since found success, winning the Provincial Playdowns again in 2013 and have competed in a couple of Western Canada tournaments against clubs from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 2016, they represented the province during the National Canadian Visually Impaired Curling Championship in Ottawa.

This year though, they have some challenges. Once they get to Vancouver, they will have to a borrow a completely blind lead due to a shortage of players and also have a new on-ice guide, Rick Jones from the Lac la Hache curling club, who relays information from the skip to the other curlers. The team has yet to practice with the new lead.

“That will be something brand new for our brand new on-ice guide. It will be up to him to set her up and give her direction as to what we want from her,” said Vinson. “That’s interesting in itself.”

The shortage of players has created a problem at home as well. Due to only having three visually-impaired curlers in the community, the trio has to share the rink with drop-in curlers and have only practised with each other and Jones four times according to Fry.

Despite these two issues, Fry and Vinson remain upbeat.

“There’s really no reason why we can’t win,” said Vinson.

Vinson and Fry also encourage any visually impaired people in the 100 Mile House area to give curling a try.