Blowout was the name of the game in the championship round of the Fort St. John Petroleum Association’s 52nd Annual Oilmen’s Bonspiel on Saturday, Nov. 17.
After fighting off Balon in the E pool semi-final, D&D Insulators 2 ran out of steam and fell to Stimulate Well Optimization by a score of 7-1 in one of the quickest games of the tournament.
Similarly, Rogers Trucking defeated Diverse Trucking in the D pool semi-final only to fall 7-0 to Vertical Building Solutions, who beat Peace Country Rentals 2 in their semi-final match.
“We were done in three ends,” said Stimulate Well Optimization skip Chad Bordeleau, discussing his team’s lopsided victory.
“A bit of a blowout,” he added.
Bordeleau explained that the Oilmen’s Bonspiel can see a lot of mismatches because many of the participants are curling for the first time at the event.
“Our lead and our second – the first time they threw rocks was this weekend,” he said.
The tightest game of the championship round was the battle between Pimm’s Production and Safety Boss for the C pool title.
Pimm’s Production was up 5-2 heading into the fifth end, but were trailing 6-5 after that frame, a momentum swing that characterized the back and forth contest that had Pimm’s Production finally squeak out an 8-7 victory in extra ends.
“It does get into your head,” said Ted Pimm of Pimm’s Production, discussing those momentum swings. “You feel like, oh, these guys are better than us … or maybe you don’t have the momentum anymore.
“It’s a different sport than hockey or something where you just pick it up and skate harder because your adrenaline’s pumping more. You’ve got to control that. It’s like golf,” he added.
“If your adrenaline’s pumping too much, you can’t throw a rock. You can’t get your weight right.”
Pimm had to tip his hat to Safety Boss after the win.
“Great team we just played,” he said. “And we got lucky on the last stone.”
The B pool final was another blowout
After beating Espcan 1 in the semi-final, Fort Motors rolled over the Ketek team from Fort Nelson, who had defeated Gas Drive to reach the final.
“Like every year, it was a great bonspiel and we certainly had a lot of fun,” said Tom Ouellette, the skip for a stacked Fort Motors team that also featured Brian Gentles and Bob Batchelor.
“Our opposition, I think they have had a lot of fun all weekend,” Ouellette continued. “They just ran out of gas. So, we got a couple lucky breaks. And things just weren’t going there way. So, that helped out a lot.”
The A pool final was also well on its way to being a blowout with D&D Insulators 1 leading Rig Ratz Safety 7-1 going into the sixth end, when Rig Ratz Safety responded with an impressive double takeout of a pair of D&D Insulators 1 stones sitting close to the button.
Rig Ratz Safety scored two points in that frame, narrowing the gap to 7-3, but ultimately lost by a 7-5 margin.
“We just didn’t have our A Game,” said Rig Ratz Safety skip Kelly Ollenberger, adding that the team was happy to finish second in the toughtest division.
“Probably the worst game we curled all weekend,” he continued. “And they put a lot of pressure on us.”
“After letting them back into the game up seven and giving them two in the sixth end, it was starting to make us wonder again,” said D&D Insulators 1 skip Victor Peebles, discussing the amazing double takeout that made the A final a close match after the sixth end.
“We played very good,” said Peebles. “We actually had them in trouble every end until the sixth. And after that we controlled every end.”
That level of domination wasn’t the case for the whole bonspiel, however.
“We struggled in the qualifying game to get here,” said Peebles. “And it was a very tough qualifying game. And we squeaked that one out.”
Obviously, the Oilmen’s Bonspiel isn’t all about who wins and loses.
“Take a couple days and get away from work,” said Ouellette, noting that an old friend who works overseas traveled from Calgary to play for the Fort Motors team.
“That was nice to see him and his wife and family for the last few days,” he added.
Bonspiel organizing committee chair Curtis Schafer said that the tournament is a great opportunity for the curlers to forget about work for a few days and spend time with friends and family.
Of course, the game is always important for the long-time curler.
“There’s close games and tight ones and extra ends and all that stuff. There was a lot of that. A lot of good curling,” said Schafer.
“The curling – that’s always good. That’s the highlight in my books,” he concluded.
Bordeleau put it all in perspective.
“It’s not the Brier,” he said. “We’re not going to the Brier.
“We’re just curling.”