A first - Two Virden teams to Viterra Championships

During this past weekend’s playdowns held in Virden Curling Rink, the teams of Jay Kinnaird and Graham Freeman battled their way to the Viterra Championships to be held in February in Winnipeg.

“All of our games were real battles. We have to credit our opposition for how well they played, making all of our games seem like a real uphill struggle.”

article continues below

Kinnaird edged Freeman 9-8 in an extra end in the A-final to win his spot in the upcoming provincial playdown.

Freeman finished 6-5 over Cale Dunbar of Brandon in the B-final to win his spot.

Team Kinnaird, with Cory Zdan, Chris Manlee, and Tyler Strachan, was only rink that had never been to the Viterra championship before.

They came close several times in the past, says Kinnaird, so this win to send them to Winnipeg in February was an exciting one.

“We had a great start in the A-final game against Freeman, and were able to capitalize on some mistakes early in the game. We knew that no lead was safe against that team, they have tons of experience and they were able to use that come back against us.

“After we missed an opportunity to close it out in the 10th end, we managed to hold it together in the extra end.

“Cory called the line, and Chris and Tyler swept my last rock perfectly to tap Graham’s rock out of the four-foot for the win.”

“Having two teams from Virden in it, is something I don’t remember happening before.”

Each game that Team Freeman played went into the final end in a tie.

He said, “It really did come down to less than an inch in the wins we had. Actually, every game that was played in the competition was very close and could’ve gone either way as they were all decided on the last shot of the game.”

Freeman skips a five-man team. Father and son, Graham and Brooks Freeman, two brothers, Kevin and Dwayne Barkley and Cory Barkley (cousin, brother-in-law, and uncle). “It’s a family squad, for sure,” says skip Freeman.

“Kevin Barkley took the weekend off this time around. (We rotate our lineup around throughout the season).”

Between Graham, Cory, Kevin and Dwayne combined, this rink brings about 50-years worth of Provincial Men’s Competition.

Brooks is participating in his third. “Not bad for a 20-year-old who still is competing in the Junior men’s level as well,” says his dad.

Brooks and his younger brother Jace will also be competing at the Manitoba U21 Championships in Dauphin in the New year.

Looking forward to the 2020 Provincial Men’s Championship, skip Freeman says, “It never gets old. We would also like to congratulate Team Kinnaird on their first appearance and wish them the best of luck in Winnipeg this coming February.”

“Having two teams from Virden in it, is something I don’t remember happening before.”

Fans can cheer on the Virden curlers at the Eric Foy Arena in Winnipeg, February 5-9.

The winner of the Viterra Men’s Championship represents Manitoba at the Tim Hortons Brier, the Canadian Men’s Championship, in Kingston, Ont. Feb. 29 - March 8. 

© Copyright Thompson Citizen

Read more from the Empire-Advance

Popular Thompson Citizen

Community Event Calendar

Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.