The Portage Curling Club is having one of its best showings ever in the O'Grady Challenge this year.
This event sees curling clubs from across Manitoba put together some of their best members to go head-to-head against other clubs. Colin Talbot is a board member of the Portage Curling Club, and he says the challenge is mostly for fun and bragging rights.
"It's a pretty neat concept. Everyone is responsible to host a challenger. So, five weeks ago, we hosted Morden. We were able to beat Morden, and then we continue on until we lose," Talbot explains. "Charleswood, Fort Rogue, and Morris hosted us. This past week we were in St. Vital. Every week, if we continue winning, we go to a different place. If we lose, we're done until next year."
Talbot says the challenge started in November, with every club picking a week to host a game prior to the season starting. He notes this is a great way to try out the ice at different rinks across Manitoba.
"I'm from Winnipeg, and I experience more curling clubs living in Portage than I did living in Winnipeg. All of these clubs that I've travelled to in Winnipeg were close to home but curling wasn't a sport I ever played in Winnipeg," Talbot continues. "The hospitality has been great. Last week, I had six people in my van with me, and we were just sharing some old curling stories together. It's a pretty fun time."
The board members of the Portage Curling Club have had a longer experience with the O'Grady Challenge this year than ever before. Talbot says this is their longest winning streak in the 100 years the event has been running.
"Right now, we're on our longest streak that we have. We're at five right now. I know the Roland Curling Club back in the 1930s twelve was the longest streak they had."
Since their first match in 1913, the Portage Curling Club has played in 136 games in the O'Grady Challenge, winning 77 of those. 361 different club members have played in a game at the O'Grady, and Norm S. Smith has the record for most games played with the Portage Curling Club at 33.