Gagne ring takes bonspiel

Rocker Reynolds Mixed Bonspiel celebrates 50 years.

Taking top spot in the Rocker Reynolds A event was the Gagne rink from Grand Forks: (from left) Doug Noren

By Mel Lungle

Curlers and their partners, former residents and first-time visitors, and friends old and new from across British Columbia and Alberta gathered at the Grand Forks Curling Rink this past weekend to participate in the 50th Rocker Reynolds Mixed Bonspiel.

Twenty-four teams from Smithers, Logan Lake, Port Coquitlam, Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Summerland, Oliver, Nelson, Castlegar, Sparwood, Edmonton and Calgary joined the local curlers in this golden celebration.

Many other past Rocker Reynolds participants and winners returned to the club for this momentous occasion as spectators.

The Grand Forks Curling Club was very honoured to have two former curlers who were major players in the first Rocker Reynolds Bonspiel held in 1965: Bill Sookochoff and Marge Bekker participated in this year’s closing ceremonies.

Sookochoff, president of the Grand Forks Curling Club in 1965, and a couple of other curlers and volunteers (Tom McConnell and Harold McPharlon), initiated the Rocker Reynolds name for the closing mixed bonspiel.

Here is how the story goes, as told by Tom McDonnell:

“In 1965, the idea for the Rocker Reynolds trophy originated on the roof of the old curling rink, where Harold McPharlon and Tom McDonnell were shoveling off the snow. The final mixed was coming up, and Tom suggested to Harold that the bonspiel be dedicated to Ted Reynolds.

“Ted Reynolds was Mr. Curler of Grand Forks, and his job every fall was to turn the water off and on while ice was being made in the old rink. Christina Lake and Grand Forks curlers made the ice every fall with volunteer labour and volunteers often maintained it all winter. Ted was usually there, if only to see it was done properly.

“Bill Sookochoff was the president at the time, and the three of them agreed that it was a good idea, so the big trophy, and four smaller take home trophies for the A event winner were purchased… when Ted came in for his first game, I made sure I was standing near that big trophy. The look on his face and the mutterings assured me that we had done the right thing. Ted was on Jack Acres’ rink that year and they won the A event.

Marge Bekker was also part of that team. Marge, along with her team-mates Jack and Phyllis Acres (Acres Drugs) and ‘Rocker’ Ted Reynolds won the A event in that inaugural Rocker Reynolds Bonspiel.

Marge was gracious in helping the bonspiel committee by presenting the coveted Trophies to the A, B and C event winners.

By chance, all of the final games in the three events were a match of an out-of-town team against a local hometown team, with the home-town teams winning the A and C events.

The A event winners, the Gagne team of Dalton Gagne, Carol Large, Doug Noren and Rae Salkeld, defeated the John Egyed team from Penticton.

The B event winners, the Blashko team from Summerland, consisting of Tony and Lil Blashko, and Clem and Marinne Beaulac, defeated the Mel Lungle team.

The C event winners, the Ludwar team of Kelly Ludwar, Kevin Dowkes, Stacy Schwab and Bob Vanderbyl, defeated the Barry Marsh team from Nelson.

The Jen Semenoff team from Oliver had the dubious distinction of being the first team out and winning the Archie Daigle trophy.

Congratulation to all, and you are invited back for the 75th diamond celebration in 2040!