Hot on the heels of a very successful Viterra Men's Provincial Curling Championships in Stonewall is news that the Portage Curling Club will host the event in 2025.
Things came together very quickly and the chair of the event will be Rob Gemmell with Dean Moxham taking on co-chair duties. Gemmell says it wasn't something they had planned and it all came together very quickly.
"Curling Manitoba approached us about two weeks ago as they were looking for a venue. It had fallen through with another committee. So knowing that Portage had put on events like this before and did a good job, they came to us to ask if we could do it. After some quick phone calls and checking with the PRRA on availability, it was done. They will be working with us in hosting this event."
Moxham has not only helped organize these types of events in the past but has also curled in them. The veteran curler knows it is no small feat for a community to host one.
"With 32 teams, it's a full-time thing and big event. Plus it's the 100th anniversary of the Manitoba Men's Provincial Championship, so it's an honour for us to be tasked with putting on a good show for everybody."
The action on the ice will be based out of Stride Place which will be turned into a curling venue for the week. Gemmell is confident that the solid base of volunteers in the community will step up again.
"They've always stepped up and the last couple of events that we've tried to run we haven't been able to with COVID restrictions. We lost those so it'll be good to have an event to run from start to finish and have a good celebration at the end."
Moxham has also been impressed with the volunteer spirit in this community from past events and comments the next step is to start finding them again.
"We have contacted our previous chairs and almost everybody is back on board. So that's a huge relief because they know what to do. They know how to set it all up. So the next step now is to get everyone else on board. Those chairs will be reaching out to previous volunteers in their committees. We're looking at somewhere near March 11th, 12th, and 13th to do a first sign-up at the Portage Curling Club. We'll get a good start on it so that we're not scrambling in the fall to get things going."
Gemmell adds sponsors are also a huge part of the event and they will start the process of finding some of those in the near future as well.
This week, the Portage Curling Club is hosting the Masters (60+years) men's and women's provincials and these games will be played out of the club. It all starts on Wednesday and wraps up Sunday. It will be free admission to watch the games however they will be selling 50/50 tickets through the event to raise money. Money raised will go to the general upkeep of the club which also knows they have an aging ice plant that has seen its best days. Moxham will be curling in this event for the first time with last year's winner Randy Neufeld.