Nugget Column #26 – Tuesday March 21st, 2017
Some say it was the best bonspiel that they’ve ever attended.
The North Bay Granite Club’s annual Coldwell Banker Open Bonspiel has grown from eighteen teams in 2015 to thirty-two teams in 2016, and forty-one teams this past weekend; and there’s no secret as to why.
Jeff King is a board member and has co-hosted the last two events. “We’re focused on showing every participant a good time from the moment they arrive until the moment they walk out the door. That means lots of food, entertainment between games, good ice conditions, and friendly customer service. We looked at what other bonspiels were offering and challenged every aspect of it” King says.
There are plenty of bonspiels offering two meals and a night of entertainment in addition to curling and good prizes. It wasn’t long ago that North Bay was still organizing the once popular “Jamaica Bonspiel” and offered a prize table valued at $25,000.
The prize purse for the 2017 Coldwell Banker Bonspiel… $2,200, and wildly more subscribed to. Where did the prize money go? Five meals/snacks and two nights of high quality live music that touched every participant; as opposed to paying out only the top twelve teams.
It’s a recipe for success that organizers plan to continue using. General Manager, Bobby Ray, says “our curlers know what to expect when they sign up, we don’t hide any details; and they’re not surprised by the lack of prizes on Sunday, in fact I’d say that they’re supportive of it. One person asked me if this was a prize spiel or a cash spiel (funny how people think has to be one or the other); I told them it was an entertainment spiel.” (and yes, I did just quote myself in my own article).
Even the final game on Sunday was full of entertainment as long-time bonspiel supporters and competitive curlers Pat Gelinas, Eric Gelinas, Luc Gelinas, and Louis Gelinas were pushed to an extra end by their more often teammates than opponents Bobby Ray, Courtney Chenier, Tyler Langlois, and Joanne Come.
Gelinas opened the game strong with two points in the first end, a steal of one in the second, and a force in the third. It looked as though the conclusion to this story had already written but Ray bounced back with a steal of a single point in the fourth to climb within one-point of the lead. The teams then traded deuces before entering an abnormally lengthy eighth end that was more of a chess match than anything else; Ray stole again. The extra end set up very similarly and contained as much or more team discussion. Gelinas played aggressively and exhibited many great shots as they had all game. There was a glimmer of hope for Ray to steal the win but the team’s challenging last draw needed to squeak past a guard for that chance to occur, and it didn’t.
The Gelinas rink will be the first team to be inscribed on a champions plaque created this season in memory of the founder of Coldwell Banker Peter Minogue Real Estate Brokerage, long-time bonspiel sponsor, and friend of curling – Peter Minogue. The North Bay Sports Hall of Fame inducted curler left us in December of 2016 but will now forever live on in the spirit of this event.
Bobby Ray General Manager North Bay Granite Club