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After some lean years, Osoyoos Summer Bonspiel has become popular once again
After a couple of lean years, The Osoyoos Summer Bonspiel is back in a big way with a total of 40 teams registered for this year’s event, which kicks off Thursday and continues through Sunday afternoon at the Osoyoos International Curling Club.
This will be the 35th anniversary of the Osoyoos Summer Bonspiel, which used to attract between 60 and 70 teams during a week-long event back in the 1980s and 1990s, said 2014 organizer Pat Wycherley.
“Three years ago we were down to only 18 teams and some of the locals were worried we might lose the summer bonspiel altogether unless something was done,” said Wycherley, who along with her husband Herb, have helped resurrect the popularity of the event over the past couple of years.
“We decided to start using social media and email to people who used to come to Osoyoos for the summer bonspiel and it worked. Last year we had 32 teams and were thrilled with that and this year we have 40 teams and a waiting list.”
A big reason for the decline in teams, said Wycherley, was the fact the Osoyoos Summer Bonspiel used to last for a full seven days, she said.
“We decided to cut that down to four days because a full seven days is a very big commitment for a lot of people,” she said. “As soon as we decided to cut it down to four days, we had more interest and we’re very pleased to have 40 teams registered this year because that’s pretty much the maximum you can have in a four-day bonspiel.”
The fun begins Thursday morning and will continue Friday and Saturday heading towards the finals on Sunday afternoon.
The Osoyoos Summer Bonspiel traditionally attracts teams from across British Columbia as well as numerous teams from Alberta, said Wycherley.
There is always a strong local component with a dozen teams registered from Osoyoos and Oliver, she said.
All teams must be mixed and have at least one male or one female.
“We get a lot of families where mom and dad will play with their kids,” she said. “While we always get some really good curlers and good teams, it’s more about having fun and bringing people together to enjoy the sunshine and beauty of Osoyoos in the summer time.”
A banquet will be held at the club Saturday evening and will feature a silent auction and dance as well as prizes for the best dressed team. All curling fans are invited to take in the action throughout the weekend.
Wycherley said the organizing committee is confident the Osoyoos Summer Bonspiel is here to stay. The finals in all divisions will begin Sunday at 2 p.m.