The Yorkton Curling Club and the Gallagher Centre played host to the 14th annual Yorkton Regional Invitational Bonspiel this past Friday and Saturday.
In total 28 teams, 14 female, eight mixed and six male, took part in the two day bonspiel with round-robin play taking place all day Friday and concluding on Saturday morning.
Playoffs for all three divisions were held on Saturday afternoon, with four teams from each division qualifying for the semi-finals.
In the mixed division the number one seed Foam Lake Panthers knocked off fourth seed Kamsack 5-3 before dispatching third seed St. Paul's 12-0 to take gold.
Top seed Ituna 1 trailed from the second to the sixth frame in their semi-final match against fourth ranked YRHS in the female division before picking up three points to force a shootout. The Trojans completed their comeback with a 4-3 shootout victory to move on to the finals, where they took on second ranked Esterhazy, who had previously defeated Foam Lake 7-2. Ituna proved why they were ranked number one as they led Esterhazy for the entire game to take the gold medals via a 5-1 final victory.
It was a battle of the underdogs in the male final. The third seed Saltcoats Mustangs and the fourth seeded St. Michael's Stars met in the gold medal game after St. Michael's upended top seeded YRHS 6-3. Meanwhile Saltcoats trounced second seed Norquay 5-1 in their semi-final.
St. Michael's magic ran out with the last rock of the bonspiel however, as a missed final shot resulted in a 4-3 Saltcoats victory.
And while only three teams were able to win gold, bonspiel organizer and YRHS curling Coach Grant Bjornerud felt that every team that participated left with something just as important; the experience and opportunity to curl. "Our idea with this bonspiel was to give kids a curling experience," stated Bjornerud. "It's also a chance for the kids to learn some curling skills and possibly get hooked on curling."
Bjornerud also credited the other two men who were responsible for such a successful bonspiel, Steve Farquharson and Larry Folk, who, along with Bjornerud, have been involved with the tournament since day one 14 years ago. He also commended the work that the coaches from each participating team had done leading up to the bonspiel. "The people in the schools and the coaches in the city and the smaller towns are doing a good job of recruiting these kids. The put a lot of work into getting these kids competitive at curling and without them this bonspiel wouldn't see the success it has in the recent years."
"It's great to see all of these young curlers out here competing."
With a total of 112 young curlers competing in the 14th annual Yorkton Regional Invitational Bonspiel one thing is clear: Curling is safe for yet another generation.