A total of 22 rinks took in the Town and Country Bonspiel in Ponoka last week.
The event is a long-standing tradition for the Ponoka Curling Club, explained Laurie Holt, president. Along with the camaraderie of the event, the bonspiel also allows the curlers to stretch their legs against other rinks.
“I think it brings the curling community together,” said Holt. “There’s a long-standing tradition of curling in Town and Country.”
Holt figures the Town and Country Bonspiel has been operating for 50 to 60 years. For past president Bruce Clarke, it’s also a good opportunity to see rinks from central Alberta communities such as Lacombe, Rimbey, Sylvan Lake, plus a rink from Calumet just east of Ponoka.
Held Jan. 23 to 26, the prize money for the top men’s team was $1,240. Of the 22 rinks, 16 were men’s and six were women’s.
Clarke said that another aspect of the bonspiel that is fun is being able to sit with other rinks, have a bite to eat and watch the other teams play.
As far as the rest of the club is doing, this year has seen a strong contingent of young players take to the sheets, said Holt. There are about 40 to 60 young curlers in Ponoka this year and the club is also hosting high school zones in February, added Clarke. “That’s a big event.”
Hosting zones is possible because Ponoka’s curling rink has six sheets, something that organizers look for.
While the men’s teams are about the same this year, the women’s teams are up in numbers and the mixed teams have dropped a bit. Considering that some communities are struggling to keep their clubs going, Ponoka’s is doing relatively well.
“What we are doing for this year is we‘ve got a mixed doubles going every month,” said Holt, adding that there are about 12 rinks involved in the new endeavour.
Clarke said the hope is to see continued use of the rink for events such as zones or provincials, which Ponoka has hosted before.
Winners of the Town and Country Bonspiel
• A Event – Team Trish Mathews from Rimbey
• B Event – Team Deanna Waknuk from Ponoka
• C Event – Team Carolyn MacCauley from Ponoka
• A Event – Team Lionel Baron from Lacombe
• B Event – Team Pederson Construction skipped by Steve Pederson from Ponoka
• C Event – Team Lyle Lorenz from Lacombe