Rows upon rows of pickup trucks dotted the parking lot at the Pidherney Centre last weekend as the annual Red Deer Oilmen’s Bonspiel rolled into town.
The annual curling get together featuring teams and players representing all aspects of the oil and gas industry ran from Friday through Sunday.
“It went over actually very well despite the economic times we’re in. Our sponsors are definitely down quite a bit because it’s harder for them to give up money for this type of thing but they know the importance of it and they still support us fairly well,” said Bonspiel Chairman Guy Dorval.
“We found some new sponsors and it takes a bit more legwork to get it to work, but it works.”
The event, which is now in its 35th year, is held to support the Oilmen’s in Central Alberta and to represent Red Deer oilfield families and businesses.
Dorval said although there was one minor hiccup which saw one of the teams not be able to make it to the bonspiel, the event went fairly smoothly.
“We had a total of 32 teams this year and one team could not make it for whatever reason, so that left us with 31 so it makes things awkward when there’s an odd number like that. But we were still able to make it go fairly smoothly. It went alright,” he said, adding the committee got nothing but good feedback from the curlers.
“The teams that we have — I don’t think we’ll ever have problems getting the actual amount that we had this year. But everybody’s on the up and the industry is kind of picking up right now a little bit so everybody’s in a bit better state of mind.”
The bonspiel uses a triple-elimination format so that each team is guaranteed three games.
“We’ve got lots of sheets of ice down there to use now, so we make it run basically with eight sheets of ice and that makes it a three day event. We used to be a four day event but it works fairly smoothly.”
This year, Red Deer’s Dual Safety Services team skipped by Cliff Fobes took the A event crown. Challand Pipeline Ltd. skipped by Cliff Challand won the B event, the C event was won by the Tomco Group of Companies team with Kevin Vennard at the helm and Premier Integrated Technologies won the D event lead by Kevin Kroetsch.
This isn’t the first time Fobes’ team has won the top title at the ‘spiel. They also won in 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2015 playing for Hydrotesters.
“It was a great event, all in all. The banquet was very good and the Sheraton did a good job, as usual,” Dorval said.
In addition to the curling and the banquet, the club also held a Calcutta-style auction where people could bid on which teams they thought might win the event.
At the end of the day the committee is deeming the bonspiel a success after a great weekend of curling and socializing.
Dorval added they would like to thank all of their sponsors for their support of the event.
“We’re happy with sponsors. We try to do a bit of research and invite new sponsors in and there are actually a few, if you find them, they’re quite willing to be part of it instead of sponsoring. We try to do a lot of advertising with our PowerPoint presentation. We have five TVs going through the whole bonspiel and then at the banquet itself we had a 50 inch with all the sponsors rotating around with all the sponsors rotating around on the screen,” he said.
“We try to give them a lot of value for their money that they give us and everybody seems quite happy to do it.”