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Club looking into bringing back WCT event

The Bonnyville Curling Club is looking at bringing back an Asham World Curling Tour event back to town.

The Bonnyville Curling Club is looking at bringing back an Asham World Curling Tour event back to town.

At the end of Wednesday's BCC semi-annual meeting, president Cynthia Pawliuk asked if the local club should revive the event for the 2010-2011 season.

Due to the Vancouver Olympics affecting the Asham World Curling Tour events, Bonnyville was unable to host the 2009 Flint Curling Classic, a tournament that has historically brought world class rinks to Bonnyville like those skipped by Kevin Martin, Randy Ferbey, Kevin Koe, and Brad Gushue.

In talking with tour organizers, Pawliuk learned that the usual spot on the third weekend of October is still open after last year's condensed schedule. But before moving on with any organizing, she wanted a board of six volunteers to step up to help make it a reality.

That evening, six people offered their volunteer services to revive the WCT event in Bonnyville. Pawliuk requested that past organizer Vic Rocque guide the committee in the right direction in terms of preparing.

“We need to get going on this so we can get the fundraising going in the next couple weeks,” said Pawliuk. “We would be in the first run of three; Brooks would be behind us, and Lloydminster is in front.”

Past president Dean Senecal said that bringing the event to Bonnyville gives the community recognition, but he did have a concern regarding the host venue.

“I see problems with our facility in that people aren't coming the way that they used to,” said Senecal. “They come in here and they can't see anything because there're two rows of people that can see. I'm not suggesting that we go to the Centennial Centre, but (the spectator area) might be something we can't address.”

The triple knockout bonspiel would take place over four days, with Friday and Saturday having the highest number of spectators. Rocque said that the number of spectators often fluctuated with who was competing in what draw. Monday was the final playoff, where the remaining eight teams competed for a grand prize of $15,000. A total of $50,000 was awarded from the tournament.

Tim Schultz added that the bonspiel's success might depend largely on who the club can line up for competitors. If Martin, Koe, and maybe Gushue all come to town, it could bring hundreds of spectators.

“You can't get any closer,” said Schultz. “Here you can sit down and have a beer with them.”

Pawliuk said that the WCT event could be another avenue to promote the junior curling program, suggesting that those involved in the program could be part of a meet and greet.

“I'd like to see this come back to our club,” said Pawliuk. “People have asked me if we were going to have it, and I told them that due to the Olympics, it wasn't feasible this year. I'm willing to dedicate my time for it to come back.”