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Oilmen's Bonspiel going strong with 60th anniversary on the horizon

When the 128 registered players gathered at the Fort St. John Curling Club to kick off the 58th Oilmen’s Bonspiel on Nov. 14, they were thanked for all they do for the city and were ensured that good things were still to come for Fort St. John.
Anniversary
Kirk Rutz slides out of the hack, hoping to draw to the button.

When the 128 registered players gathered at the Fort St. John Curling Club to kick off the 58th Oilmen’s Bonspiel on Nov. 14, they were thanked for all they do for the city and were ensured that good things were still to come for Fort St. John.

“We have a bright future in Fort St. John, and I want to thank you guys for your contributions to the community,” said Mayor Lori Ackerman during the opening ceremony. “Be safe; I used to skip when I was younger, and this stuff can hurt when you land on it wrong.”

The bonspiel, which began in 1960, is still going strong, even though Fort St. John has and continues to change.

“When this started, Fort St. John only had one TV channel, and there were only six NHL teams to watch. The boys had to do something to have fun,” said Oilmen’s Bonspiel Committee member Vic Moskalyk.

Though the bonspiel had 64 teams curling just five years ago, this is the third straight year with 32 teams, and the bonspiel committee was pleased with the interest that the Oilmen continue to show in the event after all this time.

“We’re still able to make the event three days and show everyone a good time,” said Oilmens Bonspiel Committee Chairman Brad Moskalyk.

Brad pointed out that curling isn’t like hockey or trapshooting. Half of the men who play in the bonspiel don’t curl regularly, if at all. It makes finding curlers a challenge, but shows how much the industry workers value the event.

“There seems to be more support this year compared to last, and people were really eager to help out,” Vic said.

The Moskalyks were grateful to the event sponsors, such as Pimm’s Production Equipment, Peace Country Rentals, the Fort St. John Petroleum Association, and Northern Metallic, who continue to support the bonspiel year after year.

The bonspiel was scheduled for three more days, with the finals taking place on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca.