Local teams battled for top spot at the Farmer’s Bonspiel
Graham Pemberton, on the left, is the 92-year-old skip for the Pemberton team. Here he watches as team member Joe Spruit sweeps a rock into the house at the first inaugural Farmer’s Bonspiel held at the Winchester Curling Club. Morin photo

Trophy winners at the inaugural Farmer’s Bonspiel hosted by the Winchester Curling Club on Sat., Feb. 29 were from Morrisburg: In front Allan Black. Back row, left to right are: John Toonders, and his cousin John Toonders, and Peter Byvelds. Courtesy photo

WINCHESTER – The inaugural Farmer’s Bonspiel was a success for the Winchester Curling Club as well as for all the curlers from the region who participated.

There was room for only 12 teams at the Feb. 29, event but many more said they would be back next year for a shot at the top honours.

The winners of the first bonspiel of its kind in the area were team Toonders from Morrisburg, followed in second place by the Baker team of Winchester. The Game High winners were the Pemberton Team from Winchester.

The bonspiel was the idea of two Winchester Curling members, Peter Guy and Phil Gasser. The bonspiel came to life with help of all of the club’s volunteers and food from Lyle Skuce who catered the event.

There were teams from Almonte, Morrisburg, Renfrew and Ottawa East as well as ones from Winchester and beyond.

“I was pretty sure that there had never been a farmer’s bonspiel in the past,” said Guy.

“Phil and I talked about having one,” he said. “Anyone who has anything to do with agriculture was free to register,” he said. “I knew there were lots of farmers who enjoyed curling.”

This Winchester team came in second place. Pictured here are: Jeremy Rose (left), Kyle Wheeler, Zac Baker, and Dirk Cornelissen. Courtesy photo

Guy still farms in the area. He and Gasser went ahead with their idea and their club agreed.

Guy said they had lots of help. “The business community here has always been very supportive of the club.”

The first Farmer’s Bonspiel was a success. “We already have a list of teams that want to play next year,” said Guy.

He said there were 12 teams registered for the event, ten from out of town.

One special feature of the bonspiel and of the club is the play of long-time curling club member Graham Pemberton. He is the skip on his team and is still going strong at 92 years of age.

“I keep active,” said Pemberton who did not start curling until after he retired.

He said he enjoys the competition and also the socializing and conversation he has with other players.

He was raised in Dunbar but his family moved to Cass Bridge when he was young. He has been a farmer all of his life and still helps out when he can.

He enjoyed the bonspiel. “I will be back next year,” he said, adding with a smile, “but I’m not making any promises.”