BUCHANS, NL – The 26th annual Save Our (Ice) Plant (SOP) weekend turned out to be the success organizers were hoping for.
The Llewellyn Budden Memorial Curling Club was decorated for the St. Patrick's Day weekend and most participants wore green to get into the spirit, with lively Irish and Newfoundland music playing in the background.
Twenty-two teams participated in this year's SOP. Many traveled great distances – Grande Prairie, Waterloo, Montreal and Goose Bay were represented – but most came from across the island with local residents rounding out the teams.
Co-coordinators for the 2018 SOP were Rob Lane, who stepped down last year after 25 years at the helm, and Michael O'Brien, who is taking over the job.
Throughout the weekend old friends shared memories of work, curling, friendships shared and friends long gone.
Charmaine Harris Head, a Buchaneer now living in Grande Prairie, Alberta had special memories. She curled with the Buchans Curling Club many years ago and was the skip who won the 1982 gold medal in ladies curling at the 1982 NL Winter Games and the 1983 Pepsi Cola Junior Women's NL Curling Championship.
Coached by Susan Harris, the team also included mate Gail Burry, second Valerie Flight and lead Margaret Merrigan.
“We had many curlers in 1982/83,” she recalls. “The whole town rallied around us, supporting us both emotionally and financially.
“Curling was big back in the day. It was a great time and the whole town was proud of our accomplishment. We have such an amazing community spirit here in Buchans – it's what makes us Buchaneers one special group of people and that keeps us coming home.”
Live entertainment on Friday night helped to keep spirits high when blue grass band Matthew Hornell and the High and Lonesome Ramblers sang Buchans' unofficial anthem, Ron Hynes’ “Sonny’s Dream,” which got people up on their chairs singing and clapping along.
The weekend was a winning combination of friends, food, music and curling. A pizza supper sponsored by The Medicine Shoppew was provided for curlers Saturday evening, and a canteen serving pub grub fed visitors and curlers alike throughout the weekend.
Spectators attended from the opening draw Thursday at 7:30 p.m. right to the final championship draws 3 p.m.
In A Division the winning skip was Terrance Quinlan with John Neary, Chad Fowlow and Robert Woolgar accepting the SOP Trophy from Michael O'Brien during the closing ceremony. The runner-up team was skipped by Rob Lane with Brian Caines, Charlene FitzGerald and Andrew Whalen.
B Division’s winning team was skipped by Tara Fillier Lee, with Andy Fillier, Kevin Glavine and William Moores. Skip Sara Oldford, along with Marie King, Glenda Hefford Piller and Michael Penney were the runners-up.
C Division winners received the Pius Herder Barker Memorial Trophy. This is the fourth year the trophy has been presented by the late Barker's friends, Bruce and Louise Tilley, Linda Tilley Coish, Gerald Ivany. Dennis Cooper and Mick Glavine.
2018 winners were skip Gerard Quinlan, Dave Quinlan, P.J. Coombs and John Cooke. Barker was a strong supporter of the Buchans Curling Club and had only a C Division win to his name. The C Division runner-up team was skipped by Jennifer Brace with Ashleigh Hedges, Melissa Quirk, and Melanie Dixon.
D Division teams were last to receive prizes but were the curlers who played the most games to get to the finals. Everyone was guaranteed at least three games, but those in D had to play a couple more.
Winners were Skip Blair Rideout with Heather Kirby Chippett, Chris Rideout and Jeremy Chippett. The runner-up team skip was Brett Boone with Steven Clarke, Todd Hayley, and Woody Compton.
Prizes for all divisions were donated. During the weekend ticket draws on a gift basket compliments of Pauline and Barry Hynes, a knitted scarf and hat by Bev and Elwin Burke, and a curling-themed quilt by Jocelyn Ivany-Simms increased the revenue.
O'Brien was thankful for the great support from tireless volunteers and donors.
“Many people contributed via online donations (a first this year), with cheques, prizes and simply by giving their time and participating and spending their money to enjoy the event directly,” he said. “There were some significant donations made to the SOP committee by Canstar Resources and Adventus Zinc, plus prizes from Altius Minerals.”