Manitoba’s Masters (60+) age curlers will be able to kick-off next year’s curling season with the renewal of the Bob Picken Open Masters Bonspiel which will be held at the Granite Curling Club. For the first time, this year the highest finishing eligible men’s team will be awarded a berth in the 2024 Manitoba’s Credit Unions Master Men’s Provincial Championship.
The bonspiel will be re-branded as THE BOB PICKEN OPEN MASTERS BONSPIEL and will continue to welcome all Masters age (age 60 & over) men’s, women’s or mixed teams, including stick players/teams. To kick off the curling season, the first day will include a Welcome Luncheon to allow curlers a ‘meet and greet’ opportunity.
The future of the bonspiel was in doubt with the closing of the Thistle Curling Club, which had been the home of the ‘spiel since its inception as a tribute event in memory of legendary broadcaster Bob Picken. Thistle, of course, had originally been the Valour Road CC and Picken’s home club in his years as a competitive player and dedicated curling volunteer. After Valour Road became Thistle, he continued his volunteerism at the same venue.
Granite Curling Club was quick to step into the breach. “Bob was such a great guy and contributor to Manitoba curling. It is a privilege for Granite to become the venue for this event held in his honour,” says Granite CC Manager Jamie Hay.
The event will be held September 26-29 at the Granite CC. A maximum 28 teams will play a game a day (daytime curling), with a possible two playoff games on the final day. After 16, entries will be accepted in blocks of four in order to maintain the integrity of the bonspiel’s four team pools, one game a day, format.
CJOB, one of Bob Picken’s two (with CBC) main professional homes during his broadcast career, has re-affirmed their commitment to support of the bonspiel which will held in the fifth year since his death. It is the fourth Bob Picken-Valour Road Masters Bonspiel as one was cancelled due to covid-19.
The committee which comprises Bob Minaker, Brian Kushner, Norm Magnusson, and Resby Coutts has expanded to include Rod Palson of In-House Strategies. The committee has also renewed its commitment to the bonspiel’s support of the Bob Picken Junior Legacy Program.
“We are excited by this renewal of our event and very proud to be able to continue to celebrate the legacy of both Bob Picken and the Thistle Curling Club,” say committee co-chairs Brian Kushner and Bob Minaker. “We appreciate Granite’s support in continuing the bonspiel – fitting since Thistle and Granite were the two original Winnipeg clubs which established the Manitoba Curling Association 135 years ago.”
Since the bonspiel began, the Legacy Fund program has made grants totalling $4,500 in support of Junior Curling programs across Manitoba.
The entry fee will be $200. Entries will be accepted through the Granite CC website and Granite’s Curling I/O page. For event details and entry information go to granitecurlingclub.ca (click bonspiels) OR granite-winnipeg.curling.io/en/competitions. In the meantime, past participants and interested curlers are invited to contact Brian Kushner (204-298-5214, [email protected]) OR Bob Minaker (204-791-3233, [email protected]) to enter. Especially, “new” teams who have aged-in for 2023-24 Masters competition are encouraged to consider the bonspiel as the start point for their quest of this new championship opportunity.
Eligibility for the provincial Masters Men’s championship entry will be determined by the team meeting all CurlManitoba eligibility requirements.
For information, Media may contact Resby Coutts (204.799.2250) ([email protected])