Four members of the Wadena Curling Club competed in the U.S. Open World Curling Tour in Blaine, Minnesota, on Jan. 1.
In the land of giants, from left to right, Scott Comfort, Chad Moir and Dustin Mikush of Wadena, and Lee Johnson of Margo. – photo Scott Comfort
The start of the competition for the now “famous four” was scheduled to start at 11 a.m. local time. Scott Comfort, Lee Johnson and Dustin Mikush took the 14-hour car journey on Dec. 31, arriving in plenty of time. However, Pastor Chad Moir was officiating a wedding, and so it was a case of “I declare you husband and wife” and he was out the back door on his way to the airport before the newlyweds had left the church. Such is the dedication!
“Normally an event like this is by invitation only,” said Comfort, but there were spaces, and one email sent to the right recipient gained them entry to the auspicious event.
According to Johnson, “To be in the same draw and competing against some of the top teams in the world was a fantastic experience.”
Winning anything didn’t enter the frame, said Mikush. “The experience of curling in a first class event against and alongside world champions and Olympians can only make us learn and become stronger as a team.” However, they did have control of a game against the U.S. reigning champions till the sixth end, when the tiniest of errors was then exploited by the opposition.
Considering the four have only just gotten together as a team, they were happy with their performance and the experience of competing at that level. Both Moir and Comfort expressed the opinion that at this level the game was serious. Gone were the banter and jokes; stone faces and concentrated expressions were the order of the day. What the team did come away with, though, were new strategies and new sweeping techniques that will improve their future game. As Johnson said, “Though we may not have gotten the results we were looking for, we all know we left the U.S. Open a much better team.”
One thing that never changes and no one can lose at is the tradition of broomsticking born out of Scotland, where, at the end of the game, the brooms were stacked and a wee dram or two were taken by the fire. It was this tradition the four from the Wadena Curling Club enjoyed with each team they played.
The “famous four” will be heading out to the Northern Men’s playdowns in Tisdale Jan. 21-24, where they hope their newfound knowledge will take them onto the Sasktel Provincials at the start of February.
Good Luck, gentlemen!
By Andy Labdon