It's a community effort to host a big event like the Souris SURVIVOR Curling Bonspiel, says organizing committee chair and founder of the event, Cindy Scott. "It amazes me every year the volunteers that come to help!"
"It takes a lot of volunteers and they're not all curling people, "explains Scott. "There are a lot of community people who just want to help out. They say, 'Here's my name, I'll help with selling tokens, or I'll help decorate'. And these are people who have nothing to do with curling. It's amazing!"
"And our sponsors!" she adds. "They're from our community and the surrounding area. The sponsorship is phenomenal. It keeps growing! We have a silent auction, they donate products or gift baskets, or different things like that that we can auction off. And we have a rainbow auction that the girls run, and it brings in some money every year. It's a pretty good community effort!"
The Outwit, Outplay, Outlast SURVIVOR Bonspiel is in its 24th year and the committee has decided to go back to facilitating 10 rinks, using the skating arena as well as the curling rink, at the Souris Complex.
Prior to Covid the Souris bonspiel hosted about 100 teams on the 10 rinks. However, since then, the committee has been more cautious in starting up again and have stayed to the 4 sheets of ice of the curling rink side. A survey at the end of last year's bonspiel clearly showed the feeling from the public that they should go back to the bigger bonspiel thereby including more teams!
"It makes it a much bigger community event, and it makes it a lot more fun," explains Scott. "There's lots more room for viewing, and so that's always good too!"
Scott says all ages are invited to sign up as a team, from the masters to the juniors.
"Curling is something you can do till you're 80 or well into your 80's," she says. "We have our masters, and the combined age for a team is 240 so you can have an 80-year-old or a 60-year-old on your team. Even if you're throwing with a stick, you're still curling!"
"We have a new spot too for the juniors," she adds. "We have a division for the under 13 and under 15 group. A fellow from Virden started up a MAN-SASK gliders' league and they've got 17 teams of kids from 11 different towns and we're hoping to get some of those kids out to play."
Scott notes this is a great opportunity to bring these young people still learning about the game into the Souris event, to give them that bonspiel experience and show the camaraderie and fun that can be had at a big event like this! As this is during Spring Break the timing is perfect for these young athletes to participate.
Prior to covid a community banquet was held on both the Thursday and Friday nights, serving over 800 people between the two dinners.
Some of the logistics of bringing the banquet back is still being worked out, says Scott. "We would love to do it again, and we know we would fill up the hall! But we're having a dance, a social on Thursday night and Friday night we'll have live entertainment, and then on Saturday night we'll have a live social again!"
"There are different parts of the bonspiel that the community can come in and watch, or participate in, like the Saturday night social."
The Souris SURVIVOR Curling Bonspiel will be held March 26-31st.
For more information, visit the Souris Curling Club Facebook page!