When the curling season begins next fall, one of the first events on the calendar will be the Bob Picken Valour Road Masters Bonspiel at the Thistle Curling Club.
Soon after the legendary sportscaster passed away in early 2019, a group of friends and curling fans, headed by Brian Kushner and Bob Minaker, began talking about finding a way to honour Bob Picken and his contributions to curling over a long career as broadcaster and leader.
The conversation turned into plans for the early season and the BOB PICKEN VALOUR ROAD MASTERS BONSPIEL at Thistle Curling Club was created. The event name recognizes Bob’s long time affiliation with the Valour Road Curling Club going back over half a century when Bob Picken of Valour Road was a name to be reckoned with in Manitoba competition. His loyalty to Valour Road continued through his career and transferred to the Thistle when the Valour Road story ended and the club on Burnell became the new location of that original Manitoba curling club.
“We remember Bob as a great curler and broadcaster, but we also remember him as a good friend and an organizer who ran our senior league at Thistle. He was there with us filling in the draw and taking care of the league’s details right up until the last few weeks,” said co-chairs Kushner and Minaker. “Even with his advancing years, his was a larger-than-life presence among us.”
In order to extend Bob’s curling legacy into the future, plans are being developed for proceeds from the event to be used to support identified junior curling projects. Details are still being finalized and will be announced prior to the bonspiel.
The daytime-only bonspiel will be played Monday, September 30 to Friday, October 4, 2019 with a maximum entry of 40 teams. All Masters-age curlers (60 & over) and men’s, women’s, mixed, and stick curlers are welcome. The entry fee is $160 on a first-paid, first-in basis.
Entries should be submitted to Brian Kushner by email ([email protected]) and phone (204) 786-5944 or (204) 257-5643.
Interested persons are invited to seek further details by contacting Kushner; Bob Minaker ([email protected]); Norm Magnusson ([email protected]); or Resby Coutts ([email protected]).