Skip to content

Tigers prey on county curlers

Lloydminster Heavy Crude Open Bonspiel
A Event Champs
Meet the A-Event champs from Tiger Machining: (l-r) Ken Smart, Gerren Findlay, Reid Findlay and Brynn Findlay.

Lloydminster – This year’s lords of the rings at the 48th annual Lloydminster Heavy Crude Open Bonspiel are four curlers from Tiger Machining.

Team Tiger preyed on a County of Vermilion River rink in the A-Event thriller at the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre on March 22. “It was too close. I had to throw my last rock and make a double,” explained jubilant Tiger skip Ken Smart in just his third appearance at the bonspiel.

The shot rock launched Smart and his crew of Gerren Findlay, Reid Findlay and Brynn Findlay into high five mode. “I’m going to have a drink right now and celebrate,” said Smart who works for Klohn Crippen Berger an environmental company in Lloydminster.

Tiger was one of 56 teams to take part in the event, 16 fewer than last year due to the downturn that was part of the curling conversation.

“I’m a little disappointed in the entries, but that being said, 56 is pretty good,” said event chairman John Stanyer at the opening ceremonies on March 19.
“Sometimes when times are tough, you kick back and relax a little bit and kick up your heels and have a good time.”

Despite the industry pullback, all of the events such as the banquet, breakfasts and draws were well sponsored with plenty of prize donations to boot. “The biggest thing is we’ve kept our eight events and all our sponsors stepped up and did that so we are happy for that,” added Dusty Makichuk who heads the entertainment committee.

Makichuk curls with BPC Services Group skipped by perennial hopeful Monte Armstrong who last won the A-Event in 2010. “If we can kept curling by Sunday we’ll probably be good,” he said fresh off his opening game win on March 19. Come Sunday, BPC lost in the E-final to Trican after being bumped in the quarter finals by County of Vermilion River.

“I missed a draw on the last end and gave them the win,” confessed Armstrong about the let down in the quarters. It was a different story for Vertex who won the B-Event in a game against Asset Performance Group after losing their opener.“The first game we had some mistakes, and then we kind of picked it up through the rest of the tournament and everything was clicking,” said skip Derren Weimer.

“It was a good tournament.”

Last year’s champs from Baker Hughes still had a shot at the C-event on Saturday morning until Pyramid 2 handed them a killer second loss.  Lead Brian Robison may have foreseen his team’s fate when he told Pipeline News, “We have a ways to go to see how things go. There’s a lot of good teams out there.” Tom Fisher from Hurricane Industries came into event with an unbeatable record of 48 consecutive years of curling in the oilmen’s bonspiel.

His team was also 2-0 by the Friday night banquet before falling out of contention, but not before being asked about his chances of playing in the 50th anniversary spiel.
“At the moment I will. My knees are good,” he confirmed.

As for the lower team turnout this year Fisher said, “You could see it coming with the downturn in oil.

“There’s not as many curlers as they’re used to be either.” Like many others in attendance Fisher said the bonspiel and banquet are an opportunity to escape the current downturn.
“You gotta go out and enjoy life a little bit too. You can’t just worry about it. I’ve been through them all since ’63,” he said.

There were plenty of laughs generated by head table guest at the banquet quarterbacked by funny man Kurt Price from Lloyd 95.9 FM. The star celebrity though was bonspiel oil man of the year Don Bertrand who spoke about his career and told the crowd, “It’s been a hell of a ride I tell you.

“I’d like to thank you all for coming tonight. It’s been a real honor,” he said while thanking the committee for giving him the opportunity.”Leading the applause was his wife Jody and family members in attendance.
Bertrand also threw the first stone to kick off the bonspiel and then sat back to watch the action.

That was also the tactic of Al Greenwood who offered an almost believable excuse for not playing this year. “Ah, a tragic knee injury has kept me out of the running this year so I get to spectate/coach,” he said with a laugh.
When pressured to explain why he was coaching from a seat outside the rink, he said, “I’m a little smarter than them. It’s a little warmer in here.”

Greenwood also offered his take on the impact of the downturn on the lower turnout.

“Spending is at a low and people are watching their pennies and events like this end up feeling the impact,” he said. Tervita was the main sponsor of the 2015 Unity bonspiel through a previous arrangement before oil prices began to tank

“Obviously, had we known the downturn was coming, we probably would have pulled out as well,” said Greenwood.

“We have some door prizes on hand for this one.”

The spoils of victory were shared by the list of event winners with Tiger Machining at the top of the heap as the A-Event champs followed by Vertex, the B-Event winners.
The C-Event went to Land Solutions, the D- Event to Mike’s Oilfield and the E-Event to Trican.

KDA Oilfield claimed the F-Event title with Foremost Hammers winning the G-Event and Integra 1 the H-Event crown.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks