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No Bones about it, Bashaw Bunnock tournament a success

Annual Bashaw event draws in nearly double the teams it had in 2017
Great shots such as this one, knocking down four soldiers at once, were seen plenty of times during the annual Bashaw Bunnock tournament on July 8 and 9 at the ag society grounds. Photos by Jordie Dwyer

Sunshine and hot temperatures meant a lot of people were able to enjoy themselves throwing bones around.

A total of 72 teams invaded Bashaw on July 8 and 9 for the community’s 14th annual Bunnock tournament, held at the Bashaw Agricultural Society grounds. This was the second straight year the Bashaw Curling Club organized the event.

“It was a huge success, which filled the ag grounds for a great weekend of camping and competition,” explained Erin Elder with the curling club.

She added that being able to draw nearly 300 participants helped generate a lot of interest from fans and made for a rather busy town for the weekend, compared to last year’s 40 teams that took part.

The overall championship was won by the Brent Stang team, which defeated Jason Waldner’s team in the Sunday afternoon final. The intermediate division was captured by the Nancy Weinkauf team, which beat the Denis Bedford team, while the consolation round was won by the Riley Rothweiler team over Calvin Wolbeck’s team.

Also known by the name Game of Bones, Bunnock — kind of a cross between bowling and curling — is played by teams of four facing off on either side of a 10 metre long court attempting to take out a set of 22 soldiers (bones) at the other end of the court.

Teams alternate turns with the winning team knocking down all the soldiers first. However, the two black coloured guards placed on either side of the 20 white soldiers must be taken out first before moving onto the white ones.

The game is said to have originated with Russian soldiers in the late 1800s and brought to Canada by German-Russian immigrants in the early 1900s. It used to be played with real horse ankle bones up until it became more popular in Canada sometime in recent decades, when the ‘bones’ were made of more durable materials.

Elder added that registration for the 2018 event will open on April 1 and anyone wanting more information can send an email to

The big barn at the Bashaw ag society grounds was the site of 10 full size courts for the annual Bunnock tournament.