ESTEVAN — The Estevan Oilfield Technical Society (OTS) is looking forward to hosting its first event of the year – the 64th annual open bonspiel on March 24 and 25 at the Power Dodge Curling Centre.
Event committee chair Sam Bakala said plans for the event are coming together. The OTS expects this year’s event should run similar to last year’s, which he said was well received.
Twenty teams were signed up as of Monday afternoon. The OTS hoped to have 24 to fill the tournament draw. The deadline to register is March 22.
If they have more than 24 teams, Bakala said they might start a waitlist. If they were to have an even number of teams registered, though, they could add more teams to the draw.
Bakala said they have received a lot of interest in the bonspiel.
“We’ve got some donations being dropped off,” said Bakala. “We’ve got some sponsorships and donations coming in through the website and emails. The interest seems to be fairly decent.”
Once the registration deadline passes, the OTS will need to finalize the draw. They also have to pick up the donations and get some set-up work at the curling rink.
The first games are tentatively scheduled for noon on March 24. The curling will happen throughout the afternoon and evening, with the final draw at 8 p.m.
Games will resume in the morning of March 25 and the finals are slated for 8 p.m. for the three different events.
A steak supper will be served between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on March 24 at the curling rink. A 50-50 draw and the prize draw will happen that night.
An on-ice lounge was added for the past couple of editions of the tournament and it proven to be popular, so it will be back for this year.
“It’s just somewhere the guys can sit down right on ice level, right next to the sheet where they are curling, and they can have a few drinks and be right at the action,” said Bakala.
A lot of the teams are from Estevan and the surrounding areas, but there are also some teams from outside the region. Other curlers will be coming from outside the southeast to round out a roster.
“I think we’ll see a few new faces here this year that we haven’t seen before, but it’s good to see them. They’re all welcome,” said Bakala.
The OTS also has to put up its banners, signage and promotional materials.
Bakala said the bonspiel is not just a sports event, but it’s a social weekend that provides lots of opportunities for networking.
“You see a lot of people that you only see at these events,” said Bakala. “Obviously [there are] a lot of industry people that you know and you deal with a lot of times, and not face to face, so it’s a good opportunity for everybody to get together.”
It also brings out a lot of people from the community who come for the social aspect and watch the curling.
“We’re as much about the socializing and having fun as we are about the curling,” said Bakala.