Bob Picken Legacy Fund grants to three Manitoba junior curling programs have been announced by organizers of the annual Bob Picken-Valour Road Masters Bonspiel.
The grants of $500 each are being awarded to support a high school curling program in Carman, a junior curling program in Swan River, and a new Junior Development league in Western Manitoba.
The Westman Development League grant will be made through the Virden Curling Club whose volunteers have undertaken to establish a new league involving several clubs in the Westman and south-east Saskatchewan region.
The league aspires to be an instructional-developmental league where young curlers, aged 9-15, can learn the game, have fun, and meet other young people from other clubs.
In Swan River, the Junior curling program combines structured instruction with fun event nights, game play and season ending fun bonspiel. The $500 grant is a significant contribution to a fund-raising initiative needed to acquire training aids and equipment required for an effective program in a community where distance limits access to services and programs more readily available in other parts of the province.
In Carman, the target audience is a group of high school curlers with a longer-term aim of establishing a high-school league. Key to initial success will be providing a high level of instruction, funded in part by the Legacy Fund grant.
The three $500 grants bring the amount of Bob Picken Legacy Fund support for junior curling province wide to $4,500 since the Bonspiel was established four years ago as a tribute to the memory of legendary curling (and multi-sport) broadcaster Bob Picken.
In his competitive years, Bob Picken wore the Valour Road colours with pride, hence the Bonspiel name. With the exception of one Covid-cancellation year, the event has been an annual affair at the Thistle Curling Club. It will continue in the fall of 2023 as an early season competition opportunity for Masters-age curlers.