The Viterra Men’s Provincial Curling Championship was an exciting and rewarding week for Virden Curling Club, for the organizing committee of Cory Barkley, Roxanne Freeman, Jay Kinnaird and Carol Polk, and for nearly 300 volunteers.
The committee was recognized by CurlManitoba for the excellent job they did.
As well as curling, standing up to some top rinks, the Graham Freeman rink also put on their volunteer hats.
It was an emotional moment for Cory Barkley when he was called to the ice to accept the Pat Spiring Memorial Award, presented to the competitor who exhibits the spirit of the sport of curling and on-ice curling ability.
“They surprised me with it,” said Barkley. “I don’t know all of the younger Winnipeg teams, and they certainly don’t know me, so I wasn’t really expecting it, as far as getting the nomination.
“The award is extra special for me as we curled with Pat for a year in 2007. He was a very good friend to myself, Graham and Dwayne, and probably the most genuine and enjoyable person I’ve been around in curling.”
Although the crowd numbers fell short of forecasted hopes, Barkley said they were pleased with the support from the business community.
He added, “I thought the crowds were great, especially considering the weather (snow and cold early on in the week, and then just cold). I think we felt the numbers would have been higher near the weekend if some of the Westman teams had continued to play.”
There were proud moments throughout the ‘spiel and many local connections.
Team Kelly Robertson (Kelly is father of VCI teacher Mark Robertson), made history at the event as a returning curler.
Barkley and Robertson reminisced, “We were talking about when it was here in ’98. [Robertson] said, ‘well never mind that, I was here in ‘84 when it was here.’” That’s a 35-year span. Robertson’s granddaughter carried his sign in the opening ceremonies.
Barkley explained, “We’re the only community to host all four of those events with the different sponsors.” In 1972 it was called the British Consoles, ’84 the Labatt Tankard and in ’98 the Safeway Select.
Another proud moment was seeing the event logo, designed by Brooks Freeman show up on SportsNet’s broadcast of the finals. It featured four stars representing the four different years that Virden hosted the provincials, and included an oil drop, and a V for Virden’s Viterra event.