The Manitoba Open Bonspiel gets underway Thursday evening with a total of 235 entries competing at clubs across the city of Winnipeg.
The Manitoba Open continues to attract teams from beyond provincial borders with teams registered from the United States (teams from Potomac & Virgina CCs and Shady Thickett CC – Wisconsin), a team representing the Equatorial Curling Club in Singapore, and Canadian teams from outside Manitoba (Whitehorse, Saville Sports Centre – Edmonton, Garrison CC – Calgary, Navan CC – Ottawa Valley).
While most teams competing in the event play regularly at one of the Winnipeg clubs, there are many unaffiliated teams whose only curling annually is in the Manitoba Open. In addition over 20 rural communities are represented with teams from Virden in the west; and from the central Manitoba clubs in Morden, Carman, Baldur, Clearwater, Manitou, Portage; the Red River Valley clubs in Morris and St. Adolphe; the eastern Manitoba clubs in Steinbach, Lorette, Ste. Anne and Pinawa; the Interlake clubs in Gimli, Winnipeg Beach, Arborg, Moosehorn, Stonewall, Petersfield, Selkirk; and the northern Manitoba club in Gillam.
The number of curlers traversing the city will increase Friday evening when the additional 58 teams in the weekend HALFSpiel take to the ice. Teams from LaSalle, Winkler and Dauphin will expand the total number of rural communities represented in the two bonspiels to at least 25.
While short of the numbers of teams competing in years long past, the annual bonspiel hosted by CurlManitoba continues to be both the largest bonspiel in the world and at 131 consecutive years, the longest consecutively running bonspiel.