Minden hurries hard to prepare for prestigious provincial bonspiel

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Jake Walker will be the special guest at this year's Timbits Elementary School Brier. jake Walker got his curling start in the Minden Curling Club Timbits program. he now curls for University of Western. he won the Canadian Junior Crown as a skip last year. (2010) And he went on to win the Bronze at the junior world's in Switzerland. Photo courtesy of CCA.

Minden to host Timbits provincial bonspiel

By Terrance Gavan
Let’s hope that the Tim Horton staff down at the Hwy 35 caffeine emporium in Minden don’t get too carried away with their mothership’s sponsorship of the Timbits Ontario Elementary School Provincial Championship – coming to the Village on the Gull at the end of the month. (March 30-April 3, 2011)
It could get a little scary at the Timmy’s.
Your server, in a brown and gold wool sweater, matching tam bedecked with shiny pins, sliding to the counter in nifty, shiny shoes, shouting: “Whoooooaaaa! Can I take your order? Orrrrrrder! Pleeeez! Hurrrrrry!”
Stay calm.
Order that coffee. Linger over that choice of donut. Enjoy the show.
“Margaret! Large double-double… Hurrrrry Harrrrrrd! Two cherry Danish …. Whooooooaaa, neevvvvv-er! Plan B! Make it three Apple Fritters! Hurry, hurry, hurry! Neveeeerrr stop!”
“Here you are. Now. Hurrrrrrrry! Hard! Yessssss! Out the door!”
We digress. But only partially.
Minden is popping a pretty potent proposition with their hosting of the annual Timbits elementary school playdowns.
I managed to track down co-chair Dwight Thomas and icemaker Eric Casper last Sunday night at the Thomas household. Like most curling fans they were enduring Manitoban Jeff Stoughton’s dismantling of Ontario’s Glenn Howard foursome in the Brier final.
Thomas says the Timbits Curling Championship is a huge event. And Minden will be bringing its best. Volunteers are already in place from the curling club and the community. Hotel and resort spaces have been freed up across the county.
“We have 64 teams from across the province,” says Thomas. The games involve curlers from grade three to grade eight. The county will have six teams from both JD Hodgson Elementary in Haliburton and Archie Stouffer Elementary in Minden.
“We’ve rounded the numbers up to 350 participants and coaches,” says Thomas.
With parents, relatives and friends that could bring in excess of 500 visitors to the area. Over five days. Nice little tourist infusion in the shoulder season.
“It’s gone very well,” says Jane Boyd, who is the other co-chair. She says the organizational rubric began in March, 2010.
“We’ve been working for a whole year, and we’re ready,” says Boyd.
Thomas concurs, allowing that Minden has stepped up to offer services, sponsorships and whatever else the committee needs.
“Tim Horton’s is a great sponsor and of course we’re full backed by the OCA (Ontario Curling Association),” adds Thomas. “I’ve been an OCA rep at the Minden Curling Club and this is the biggest event the OCA sponsors.
“We’re really looking forward to it. We have an amazing the number of our curling club members that signed up, and they’ll all have shirts on, so it will be easy to figure out who’s who.”
That’s very important says Thomas. Considering the age groups that are involved.
But perhaps the best thing about this Minden Timbits is the fact that all nine sheets of ice will be located within walking distance of the Minden Community Centre parking lot.
And that’s where Casper comes in.
He is the point man in this caper.
A level two icemaker, Casper will be charged with the demanding task of transforming Minden’s SG Nesbitt Arena into five sheets of curlable ice.
No small task, says Casper.
Come Sunday, March 27 Casper and another ice technician, Kevin Scott from the Dixie Club in Mississauga, along with a dedicated crew of about 20 volunteers will begin to transform the Nesbitt into a curling palace.
It’s a great concept. Without access to the arena, and the five extra sheets, the competitors would be forced to play at the Haliburton and Wilberforce curling clubs. “It was hosted by Haliburton in the past and they had to use three venues, and that posed a lot of logistical problems for teams, parents and transportation,” says Thomas.
Casper has some experience with arena overhauls. “I put in arena ice in Knoxville, Tennessee for a summer curling event,” chuckles Casper.
Still it will take a monumental effort to get the Nesbitt Arena converted. They can’t get started until Sunday evening. “We flood on top and paint it white and then we work on the top painting the rings and lines and then some more floods.
“We’ll start at 9 p.m. on Sunday and we’ll be working 24 hours until it’s all done. It’s a short turnover time but we will get it done.”
Thomas says that some exciting wrinkles include a special appearance from local curling legend Jake Walker. Jake – a Canadian Junior Champ (2010) and World Bronze Medalist – will be at the opening ceremonies on Friday evening at the community centre and we may also see the local pipers at the opening ceremonies as well.
And that would, of course, blow the minds of curlers and parents alike.
The curling club will also be hosting a parent’s supper on Friday night – already sold out says Boyd – in conjunction with a competitors dance next door at the Minden Community Centre just above the arena.
Teams are coming from the Ottawa Valley, London and Sudbury along with a huge representational group from central Ontario.
JD Hodgson and Archie Stouffer elementary schools have three teams apiece. One all girls team is comprised by four young ladies from Minden who attend JDH in French Immersion.
“Our thanks go out to the Wilberforce and Haliburton curling clubs,” says Thomas. The Minden club will be borrowing three sets of rocks from The Haliburton Curling Club and two sets from Wilberforce.
The Timbits committee asks that all curlers in the county come out to catch a few games over the four days of curling.
Action wraps from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 pm at the Minden Club with Event Finals & Awards Presentations.
That’s all ya’ need.
Now remember to sweep hard to Minden for April Fool’s weekend.
Get Gav at gav@countyvoice.ca or twitter.com/terrancegavan.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]