At Fort Garry, on the 6th end, Ken Ringaert had no out-turn path so he tried a long in-turn raise but scored only the one to tie. Stolen 7th & 8th ends gave him a 6-4 win over Lionel Walz.

(December 8) Three teams from Winnipeg’s Granite and individual teams from nine different clubs across Manitoba have won invitations this week to compete in the Manitoba Credit Unions Masters Men’s Curling Championship in early March at Assiniboine Memorial.

Regional playoffs were completed late Wednesday afternoon when Laurie Hogg defeated Rob Atkins with a last shot takeout, stick for one, to win the second berth available in the East/Interlake playoff.

The dozen winners this week join defending (from two years ago, pre-Covid) champion Murray Warren, berth bonspiel winners Greg McGibbon (Granite) and Gord McTavish (Pembina) in the 16-team provincial field. The one remaining berth available will be available through the Brandon Men’s Masters bonspiel in early-January.

This week’s provincial berth winners are:
Sam Antila – Burntwood, Thompson
Dale Brooks – Hamiota
Mark Franklin – Granite, Winnipeg
Carl German – East St. Paul
Allan Gitzel – Morris
Laurie Hogg -Stonewall
Paul Kruk – Souris
Bill Menzies – Granite, Winnipeg
Jim Renwick – Brandon
Ken Ringaert – Granite, Winnipeg
Kelly Robertson – Dauphin
Al Sharpe – Fort Rouge, Winnipeg



(4PM: Thursday, Nov. 25) 2019 Manitoba Masters Champion Gord McTavish and his Pembina team have joined Greg McGibbon’s foursome as the berth winners in this week’s CurlManitoba Credit Unions Masters Berth Bonspiel at Fort Rouge.


Team McTavish handed Carl German his second loss of the day to win the berth Thursday afternoon.

McTavish (with Neil Okumura, Victor Bellay, and Larry Lagace) stole three on the fifth end for a 7-2 lead. They looked set to give German back the three, maybe 4 or 5, on the sixth but McTavish made a hit and roll (facing four) which buried in the four foot. German made an attempt to pick the rock out from behind one of his own but overcurled, rubbed and rolled harmlessly away.

In 2019, when McTavish won the title, he was aided by Okumura, Lagace and Ross Allen.


(Noon: Thursday, Nov 25) MCGIBBON WINS FIRST BERTH IN MASTERS BERTH BONSPIEL … Greg McGibbon, Peter Nicholls, Darren Oryniak, and Andy Stewart have won the first of two provincial berths available in the CurlManitoba Credit Unions Masters Berth Bonspiel at Fort Rouge.

The Granite foursome defeated Carl German’s East St. Paul team in six ends this morning at Fort Rouge.

German will now play former champion Gord McTavish and his Pembina team for the second provincial berth available through the bonspiel. McTavish had to miss the morning game but, playing with three, Neil Okumura skipped the team to victory over Granite’s Mark Franklin team.

(5PM: Wednesday, Nov. 24) FINAL FOUR PLAYOFFS SET IN MASTERS BERTH BONSPIEL … The last four unbeaten teams in the bonspiel are the four teams lined up to play in Thursday’s playoff games in the CurlManitoba Credit Unions Masters Berth Bonspiel at Fort Rouge.

Greg McGibbon (Peter Nicholls, Darren Oryniak, Andy Stewart) stayed perfect Wednesday afternoon with a 6-4 win over former Masters champion Gord McTavish (Neil Okumura, Victor Bellay, Larry Lagace). By the same score, former Manitoba senior champion Carl German (Harold Mauthe, Ray McDougall, Mirron German) pushed another former Masters champion, Mark Franklin (Jamie Hay, Barry Campbell, Greg Ziemanski) to the “B” side of the draw.

Thursday, McGibbon and German face off at 10AM in a berth game with a second chance. The winner earns the first of two available provincial berths. The loser drops in the “B” final at 1:30PM against the winner between Franklin and McTavish.

(Updated 5PM: Tuesday, Nov. 23) FOUR UNBEATEN IN MASTERS BERTH BONSPIEL ..The Mark Franklin (Granite), Gord McTavish (Pembina), Greg McGibbon (Granite) and Carl German (East St. Paul) teams won their second games in the CurlManitoba Credit Unions Masters Berth Bonspiel Tuesday morning at Fort Rouge. Having reached “A” semi-finals, the four will face off, McGibbon vs McTavish and Franklin vs German, with the two winners qualifying for the playoff round.

Mark Franklin led Lionel Walz (Pembina) by four when he gave up a five on the fifth end. They were tied coming home with Franklin holding last rock. Walz’ second man Bill Mamchuk made a perfect draw to the four foot with his last stone. It was buried behind a four stone line-up on the centre line. “Automatic” said the clubroom experts but it took three remove and replace shots before Walz saw his guard attempt slide a little too deep allowing Franklin to make the four stone runback to stick in the four foot. With his last stone draw attempt, Walz was full four foot but not quite good enough and Franklin won without throwing his last.

With Neil Okamura skipping the team in McTavish’s absence, the Pembina team beat Rob Atkins (East St. Paul) in six ends. The key shot was an Okamura rub and roll behind cover in the four foot to lie three coming home. It turned into a steal of three and victory.

German needed an extra end, thanks to a delicate tapback that had to executive a centre-line port to get to the Bill Menzies (Granite) stone in the four foot circle. On the extra end, German had to choose between leaving Menzies a last stone draw or runback. He guarded the draw line and Menzies last shot hit didn’t curl up quite enough and his own raised stone crossed the shot stone without contact, leaving German a steal of one.

In the fourth game, Greg McGibbon led Ron Westcott 7-4 coming home and ran the Fort Rouge team out of stones.

In “B” side games, Howard Doerksen (Pembina) beat Pat Carson (Ft Rouge) and Neil Schmidt (East St. Paul) defeated Barry Mandryk (Ft Rouge).

UPDATE: On the afternoon draw, Walz (8-4 over Dave Fisher), Menzies (8-4 over Brian Kushner), and Rob Atkins (8-2 over Neil Schmidt) all recovered from the morning loss with “B” side wins. Only Ron Westcott (8-4 loss to Howard Doerksen) had two losses on Tuesday.

(5PM: Monday, Nov. 22) FORMER CHAMPS WIN OPENERS IN MASTERS BERTH ‘SPIEL .. Gord McTavish, who skipped Manitoba’s 2019 Manitoba Masters Men champion team, won his opener on Monday afternoon at Fort Rouge. McTavish bested clubmate Howard Doerksen 7-1.

First win for Team Kushner

McTavish join former champions Mark Franklin and Ron Westcott with first game wins. A pair of former senior champion skips, Carl German and Lionel Walz, also won their openers earlier Monday.

Also on the afternoon draw at Fort Rouge, Rob Atkins and his team defeated the host club’s Pat Carson for their first win.

Meanwhile, Lorne Hamblin’s Morris team and the Lawrie Hogg Stonewall team had their second, elimination, loss. Hamblin lost to Brian Kushner while Dave Fisher beat the Hogg entry.

(1PM: Monday, November 22) MORRIS ROOKIES COME CLOSE IN MASTERS BERTH ‘SPIEL ..In a rink full of household names it was a group of competition rookies who pushed their opposition the furthest this morning at Fort Rouge in the opening draw of the Masters Berth Bonspiel.

Hamblin & his sweepers

Lorne Hamblin’s name and record as coach and volunteer organizer are well known, and he has even had some success as a competitor. However his Morris team of three “somewhat over 60” players are all competition rookies – playing for the first time in a CurlManitoba provincial qualifying bonspiel, although one does admit he thinks he played in a zone playoff “about 40 years ago”.

Hamblin (with Rene Nolette, Normand Lemoine, and George Lecuyer) fell behind three time Manitoba Masters champion Mark Franklin, trailing 7-3 after five ends but scored one on the sixth and stole two on the seventh to trail 7-6 coming home without last rock.

They forced Franklin to throw that last rock. Facing one wide open with a possible second shot fully buried, Franklin’s in-turn hit on the shot stone in the edge of the eight foot rolled to the four foot for one and the win.

“It was close. If he rolled out, we’d have measured – I think we had it,” said Hamblin after the game – sounding exactly like every skip who has ever come off the ice in the same situation.

However, maybe they did. Certainly, Franklin’s ice call was such that he was clearly ensuring the in-roll to remove any doubt.

Along with Franklin’s Granite team, first game winners were those household names referred to: Ron Westcott (Ft. Rouge), Lionel Walz (Pembina), Carl German (East St. Paul), Bill Menzies (Granite), and Greg McGibbon, Granite.

The bonspiel continues to with two draws daily and provincial berth finals at 10AM and 1:30PM on Thursday at Fort Rouge.


(5PM: November 14) Lionel Walz and his team from Pembina CC (Gord MacKay, Bill Mamchuk, Brian DeRiviere) won the 2nd Bob Picken-Valour Road Master’s Bonspiel today at the Thistle Curling Club, winning the Global News Radio – 680 CJOB Championship final.

Walz posted an 8-2, six end win over Carl German’s East St. Paul foursome. German led 2-1 after three ends and appeared in control on the fourth but Walz’ third, Gord MacKay made a double runback to remove one of two German stones in the four foot circle. Not yet out of trouble, the Walz team benefitted from the German team’s misfortune when a jam removed that second rock. By the end of that fourth end, Walz had a steal of three and a 4-2 lead enroute to the six-end win.

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In the St. James Rehabilitation Physiotherapy event, Dave Fisher jumped out to a three point lead after two ends but Karen Sheldon (skipping the Nancy Scammell entry) fought back to tie after six ends. Sheldon forced Fisher to a single on the seventh and had an open hit with her last rock for victory.

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KAREN SHELDON (Nancy Scammell entry)
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In the Valour Road Past President event, Ron Westcott (skipping the Larry Dewis entry) took one on the second end after blanking the first – but never scored again. After scoring a single on the third end, Dave Johannson made a 4-rock combination raise to remove a Westcott rock in the four foot and set of a steal. He set up another steal on the fifth end when he made an angle raise to remove another Westcott four-foot counter. The game ended after six with a Johannson steal of three more when Westcott’s last rock could not negotiate a very narrow port on an attempted draw to the four foot.

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RON WESTCOTT (Larry Dewis entry)
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Although there was a relatively small entry of only 12 teams, due mainly to a rescheduling from early in the year as a covid precaution, the bonspiel has been deemed to be a success. Planning for the third Bob Picken Masters Bonspiel, including the question of scheduling for 2022, will be beginning in the near future.

(5PM: November 13) WALZ, GERMAN UNBEATEN, PLAY FOR CHAMPIONSHIP …. Final round wins by Lionel Walz (over Laurie Hogg) and Carl German (over Bruce Burton) while Ron Westcott was losing to Don Archer leaves Walz and German the only undefeated teams and set to meet in Sunday’s Bob Picken ‘Spiel championship final.


Five teams finished with 2W-1L records. Despite the last shot kill for two, and the win over Westcott, Archer’s team will find themselves on the outside looking in as the three event final games take place


Walz and German will play for the Global News Radio 680 CJOB championship.

Based on the bonspiel’s tiebreaker formula, Dave Fisher will play Nancy Scammell in the St. James Rehabilitation Physiotherapy Center Ltd. event and Westcott, skipping the Larry Dewis entry, will play Dave Johannson in the Valour Road Past President event.

The three finals are set for 10AM Sunday at the Thistle Curling Club.

(8PM: November 12) THREE TEAMS AT 2W-0L in PICKEN BONSPIEL …. It was a dramatic end to the second day of play in the Bob Picken-Valour Road Masters Bonspiel at Winnipeg`s Thistle Curling Club (formerly the Valour Road CC) as Laurie Hogg threw a wide out-turn tap of his own stone to full four foot, a count of three, and a 7-6 win.

Watching the shot come down the ice, Brian Kushner was convinced he was only giving up two and a tie – he was preparing to go to an extra end. Watching the draw run down the ice, Hogg thought he had missed – admitting he was trying to throw a draw that had to curl inside his own stone to get to the four-foot circle for the third point.

Hogg, who won the first Bob PIcken Bonspiel in 2019, has a 1W-1L record after two games. Within his pool, Hogg trails former Manitoba Senior Men`s champion Lionel Walz who improved to 2W-0L with a win today over Karen Sheldon (skipping the Nancy Scammell entry). Walz led 6-5 coming home and Sheldon just missed on a last shot attempt to rub and roll to the four foot circle for a tie and an extra end.

Former Canadian Senior men`s champion Carl German posted his second win, a short game victory over the Coutts entry while another former Manitoba champion, Ron Westcott (skipping the Larry Dewis entry) beat Norm Magnusson to also improve to 2W-0L.

(9PM: November 11) WINTER RETURNS AS PICKEN `SPIEL OPENS ….. The Bob Picken Masters Bonspiel at Thistle was greeted today by the first blast of winter but the veteran curlers entered in the bonspiel have seen worse in their time. All games started on schedule.

Keen ice greeted the players and more than one of them was heard to marvel at the amount of curl – conducive to a lot of rocks in play in most games.

Nancy Scammel opened the bonspiel with a win over Laurie Hogg, who won the 2019 version of the bonspiel. Scammel and two of her teammates are former Manitoba Masters Women`s champion.

Former Manitoba Senior Men`s champions Ron Westcott (skipping the Larry Dewis entry), Carl German, and Lionel Walz all won their opening games. Wins were also posted by Barry Mandryk (skipping the Bruce Burton entry) and by Don Archer.

 (10PM: November 10) BOB PICKEN MASTERS BONSPIEL THIS WEEKEND….The Bob Picken-Valour Road Masters Bonspiel takes place November 11-14 at the Thistle Curling Club.

The second Bob Picken Bonspiel is occurring over two years after the original bonspiel in 2019 due to the covid-cancellation of last year’s curling season and a decision by the committee to move the bonspiel later into the season for this year.

That decision was made recognizing that the older demographic involved in the bonspiel should be given a few weeks of club curling to “get their feet under them again” before taking on the challenge of several days in a row curling.

The bonspiel is going ahead with a smaller field of 12 teams playing a round-robin in three pools of four. The teams will play a game a Thursday (1PM & 3:30PM), Friday (1PM & 3:30PM) and Saturday (10AM & 1PM) and six teams will advance to playoffs on Sunday.

Among the competing teams are former Manitoba champions Carl German, Lionel Walz, and Ron Westcott (with the Larry Dewis entry).

The bonspiel’s Championship is sponsored by GLOBAL NEWS RADIO – 680 CJOB where Bob’s sports reports at “25 after the hour” were the go-to for sports fans, and especially curling fans, in Manitoba for many years.

The other events are the St. James Rehabilitation Physiotherapy Center Ltd. and the Valour Road Curling Club Past President events, named in honour of the sponsor and in tribute to Bob Picken who had also served as a Valour Road CC President.

Other contributing supporters include Asham Curling Supplies, INHOUSE Strategies,, and the Thistle Curling Club.

Proceeds from the bonspiel will continue to find the Bob Picken Junior Legacy Fund. After the 2019 bonspiel grants of $500 each were provided to support the junior programs at the Thistle, Oakville and Riverview Curling Clubs. Plans for junior program support in 2021 will be announced in the near future.