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Wawanesa Spiel A SWEEPING Success

Saturday Feb 28 2015

A Brandon team skipped by Del Klimock (Jim Dyck, Jerome Turcotte, Bob Penner with Eldon Obach subbing for Penner in the final) has won the first Thunder Seed Corn Broom Bonspiel in Wawanesa and they'll be the first team to have their names on the event trophy - a replica of the old Silver Broom trophy which was prepared by Bob Penner. The Brandonites defeated a local team skipped by Al Fleming (Don Fleming, Rob Fleming, Ron Boake) in the final game. (Penner & Dyck are pictured sweeping)

The Wawanesa Insurance Second event was won by the youngest team in the event, a Westm,an Junior Super League team skipped by Chase Dusessoy (Brayden Payette, Colton Harris, Kaitlyn Payette) victorious in the final over another local team skipped by Del McDougall (Bruce Beare, Mark Fisher, Grant Everard, Dana Fisher-alternate) in the final game.

The Farmery Estate Brewery Third event was won by a Glenboro team skipped by Addison Cullen (Eric Loewen, Kirby Wallis, Derek Mowatt, Cliff Cullen/Braydon Cullen-alternates) who defeated Wawanesa's Perry Fisher (Troy Granger, Brett Hargreaves, Shawn Martin) in the event final.

As to the question of whether the 2015 event was the First & Only OR the FIRST ANNUAL, appropriate time  will be taken to consider the decision. However, Event Chair Eldon Obach said in an email "People are asking about next year. They say the word is out about what a good time it was, and more people want in. (One of the young curlers) said it was the most fun they have had curling all winter. The level of sweeping of the newcomers was steadily improving. And the veterans."

"I think we might be on to something here," Obach said.

SATURDAY: Wawanesa Spiel SWEEPING to a Successful Conclusion - The First Annual THUNDER SEED CORN BROOM BONSPIEL in Wawanesa has reached the main event semifinals stage. The 18-team bonspiel, which is the brain child of local entrepreneur Eldon Obach, has attracted teams from across the Western Manitoba region and it has attracted curlers of all ages - from oldtimers who had retired from the sport to youngsters from the Westman Junior Super League.

The bonspiel is playing 1960's rules (except for playing eight ends instead of 12) and is using exclusively corn brooms. Obach made arranbgements for a supply of brooms from an Ontario supplier. The only problem with delivery on schedule was a train derailment which delayed delivery but the brooms arrived on time for each player in the spiel to have their own broom.

Perry Fisher, skip of a local team which played in the Safeway Championship this season, says he had never curled 'with corn' before. "I'm not sure I'd have ever started," Fisher said with a smile. "This is hard work." But he admitted he was having a blast. He started out trying to muscle the broom across the ice but a few minutes of instruction from an uncle, Dana Fisher, who was one of those guys who played a lot in the corn broom era, helped him learn a little bit about rhythm and little bit about angle of the broom.

Some of the guys who used to play with corn said they were delighted to see the young guys out trying it - and their comments suggested they could see real improvement from day one to day two as the first timers began to adjust to sweeping rather than brushing.

In what may be the first-ever photo of corn broom sweeping on this website, Brandon-area curlers Bob Penner (underhand grip by the rock) and Jim Dyck (overhand grip) demonstrate the rhythm that curlers of the era recall - at the same time as they demonstrate the two different grip styles used by curlers of the time.

Fisher said the curlers were really enjoying themselves - sore muscles, blisters and all. "I think this event could grow to be really important for our little club," he said. "I think it can grow from here. For sure, I'll play in it again." Wawanesa curling club volunteers are hopeful the bonspiel can become the signature event that clubs need these days to attract that little extra attention and traffic to their facilities.

In the main event semi-finals,  Allan Fleming-Wawanesa plays Walter Cullen-Wawanesa while Ellice Duce-Brandon play the Penner foursome from Brandon.

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