As I mentioned in my previous post, hubby and I were invited by our friends, the Humphrey’s, to curl with them in a 2-day bonspiel. Hubby and I have only ever participated in our league’s bonspiels, which takes place in a single day, at our local club. Games are short, allowing teams to only play 4 ends. The Ridgetown experience was very different, and very memorable.
The four of us headed for Ridgetown on Friday evening. We dropped off our stuff at our gracious host family’s home and then headed over to join a party that was already in full swing. The party was hosted by the organizers of the event, and they certainly went all out with the drink selection! We were introduced to many of the local curlers, as well as some of those that drove up from Cleveland. They were all so inviting and made us feel welcome, it was a great way to start off the weekend. The party went into the early hours, which made it a bit challenging to wake up for our 9:00 game the next day, but we made it. We were up against a very strong team, and it took hubby (the skip) a couple of ends to figure out the ice. Although we did not win our first game, it was still fun and a good warm-up for our next game. I really enjoyed playing 8 ends. I have never had the opportunity to before. The most we’ve ever fit in would be 4-5 ends, but if you only get to play 4 ends, it is really challenging to make a come back if you don’t gain the lead in the first 2 ends. Playing 8 ends allows you more time and chances to win if you are down.
After our first game, everyone from the 9:00 slot piled into a bus and we were taken to someone’s home to eat and drink. This is known as “home entertainment”. There was so much delicious food, and again a wide selection of drinks. We had the opportunity to get to know more fun people before everyone had to get suited up in costume and head back to the club for our second game. The event is very well organized, because as we are getting ready to curl again, the second slot of curlers are coming off the ice and being brought to another person’s home for their party. Everything ran so smoothly.
The theme this year was Black & White. There were some very cute and imaginative costumes, like the Double Oreo and the Bounty Sponge Towels. Our team decided on bar code. Hubby even bought black curling pants for the event. From left to right: skip, vice, lead, second.
Our afternoon match was much more successful; however, two of the players on the other team were quite hosed from home entertainment. In general, the afternoon game is much more relaxed. At one point, I lost one of my Humps. As I was about to begin sweeping, I looked up and saw him upstairs in the lounge giving me a thumbs up. It wouldn’t have mattered if he was there to help me sweep since the rock was thrown completely off-line anyway. The Hump that was throwing the rock had been mooned by our opponent!
After our match, the second set of games started while we hung out in the lounge and had a pizza dinner. Live music was provided and I learned how to play poker. I was then approached to participate in their annual boat race, which I accepted. It would be 2 Canadians against 2 Americans. It started out with all teams joining in to sing both the American and Canadian national anthems. Then the rules were explained. Each contestant was given a match book. A pan of water was placed between you and your opponent. You had to flip open the match book and flip up a match. The officials would light the matches and on the count of three, each contestant was to drop their match book boat into the water. The objective was to blow your boat to the midway point without blowing out the match. Whoever reached the midpoint first is the winner. I was feeling confident about the race, but I did not expect what was to happen next…
We managed to gain a spot in the 11:00 am draw, which was a relief. The other draw was at 9:00 am. It was a entire production, with bag pipes and flags! It felt so official as we walked down the ice.
I will admit that I was nervous coming into this final game on day 2. We were up against some seasoned curlers. I was a little bit sore from all the sweeping the day before. I didn’t want to let my team down. We persevered and won our final match of the bonspiel! The Humps were very pleased with the outcome since we were up against a family member, and now the Humps have earned bragging rights. Overall, we did well and snagged 4th place. The top 8 teams are awarded meat. Our team won baby back ribs! I’ll be cooking that up tonight. And here is the winning team!