Gobeil wins local men’s bonspiel Also eyeing police title

While the Tim Hortons Brier was being shown on two TV screens upstairs in the curling club over the weekend, Fort Frances’ equivalent was being held on the sheets down below.
Thirty-two rinks took part in the annual men’s bonspiel this year, and it was the Scott Gobeil foursome who earned the honour of having their names inscribed on the trophy.
Gobeil, teamed up with third Tim Norton, second Rod Newman, and lead Pete Ledrew, cruised to the title with an 8-1 victory over Don DeBenedet in the ‘A’ final Sunday afternoon.
“”We were really happy that we won,” said Gobeil, who also won the local bonspiel the last time he competed in it in 2001.
“Usually the police championships are at the same time as the men’s bonspiel here, so I was happy I could play in it,” he added.
Gobeil, who will be skipping Team Manitoba at the Canadian Police Curling Championships starting Saturday at the Granite Curling Club in Winnipeg, went undefeated here, scoring victories over Jim Jackson, Greg Plumridge, Greg Allam, and Kevin Levesque to reach the ‘A’ final.
“It was a great tune-up and I’m really looking forward to the [police] championships,” said Gobeil, whose team there will include Dave Priestley, Tyson Langrell, and Scott Bell.
This will be Gobeil’s 10th appearance at the police nationals. He was third on Clint Barton’s winning rink in 1996 when Fort Frances hosted the event.
DeBenedet, whose rink included third Dave Bondett, second Ian McLennan, and lead Mike Asplund, made it to the final with wins over Jim Krag, Will Windigo, Tom Mayer, and Greg Tighe.
Adam Bolen and Trevor Bonot, who have competed against each other a number of times in the junior ranks, teamed up for the men’s bonspiel with Verlin Parisien and Dave Kaun.
The foursome opened with a loss to Mayer (International Falls), which prompted a change in their line-up.
“In the first game, Verlin shot skip rocks and we decided that if we won, then we’d stick with what we had, but that if we lost, then we’d switch it up,” noted Bolen.
“We lost our first game, so he [Parisien] went down to the second, I went up to skip, and Trevor shot third,” Bolen added.
The change certainly seemed to work as the team pulled off victories over Rick Wiedenhoeft, Krag, and Bill Hudson before doubling Jackson 6-3 in the ‘B’ final Sunday afternoon.
“I was excited to curl with Trevor, and we were actually excited in a way that we lost because we got to shoot the back end,” Bolen said.
“With me shooting skip and Trevor shooting third, we never had a game that went into full ends. The longest game we had went to seven ends,” he added.
Jackson, whose rink included third Keith Jolicoeur, second Craig Armstrong, and lead Bruce Nielson, had opened with a loss to Gobeil, but then strung together victories over defending champion Raymond Roy, Ev Jackson, and Sheldon Kelly to reach the ‘B’ final.
And though the bonspiel was enjoyable for Bonot, it was bitter-sweet for Greg Plumridge, who will be packing his bags and heading to California in a short time.
Plumridge won the ‘C’ event with an 8-6 win over Windigo on Sunday, but he was saddened that this would be his last time playing in the men’s bonspiel as he is moving with his wife, Wendy, to Porterville.
“I’m going to miss this place and these guys,” said Plumridge, whose team included third Ron McKinnon, second Mike Pawlikowski, and lead Tyler Bell.
They had opened with a win over Roy, but a loss to Gobeil dropped them down to the ‘C bracket. They rebounded, however, with wins over Lee Donaldson, Bill Gushulak, and then Rob Sinclair Jr. in the semi-final.
“It was hard keeping my nerves calm,” admitted Plumridge.
“We got down by four points in the final, but we came back and stole a few points, and it was one of those crowd-pleasers,” he added.
Windigo, whose team featured third Garry Windigo, second Al McDonald, and lead Clayton Windigo, made it to the ‘C’ final with an opening win over Gushulak, a loss to DeBenedet, and then wins over Doug Herr, Roy, and Al Holt.
In the “Steak Event,” reserved for the first four teams to get knocked out the bonspiel and played in a skins format, was won by Krag with a total skin count of 11.
Krag’s team, which included third John Bagacki, second Dave Legg, and lead Paul Bock, were three skins better than Wiedenhoeft, whose team featured third Doug Agar, second Gord McCabe, and lead Keith Gilbert.