In the Mixed Doubles provincial championship hosted in Dawson Creek February 15 to 18, there are four teams officially hailing from here in DC — Shaun and Dakota Inkster, Travis Jones and Emma Wendt, Derek Nernberg and Deanna Larson, and Glenn Roszman and Janelle Dale.
Add in a team making the short drive from Fort St. John — Tegan Topal and Daylen Sliger — and a team out of Saville in Edmonton with local connections — Jason Ginter is from Dawson Creek and teammate Danielle Schmiemann’s fiance is from here.
Survey the local teams and you’ll see a wide range of answers on how long they’ve been playing mixed doubles.
Jones has competed in two provincials prior. Larson and Nernberg played it a handful of times in Saskatchewan before moving to Dawson Creek three and a half years ago.
“I think you can count on one hand the number of times we played in Saskatchewan. It was kind of just fairly new to Canada, like before it was part of the Olympics, and this is the first year that we’ve kind of taken it serious,” says Nernberg, who noted the first thing they did once they moved here was seek out the Curling Club.
For some, it’s pretty much their first time.
“We’d done nothing before the Mixed Doubles regionals. The only games I’d watched were the Olympics,” says Roszmann, who admits the fact that both the tournament and its qualifier were in DC appealed to him.
Mixed doubles plays a bit different than the average game of curling.
“It’s different, the strategy’s different, the fact that you have to get up and sweep your own rock and remember that, and trying to figure out who’s going to hold the broom,” says Roszmann, who notes the biggest adjustment was “being able to figure out a way to sweep my own rocks. Normally I sweep with the grippers on, so when you come off with the slider, it’s hard to sweep.”
“Because it’s faster, quicker game — max you’re going to have an hour and a half game — you only throw five rocks, makes it a lot more appealing [for young people] because there’s a lot more action involved, instead of waiting, it’s more of you’ve got to react really quick,” says Jones.
Accuracy is key in the game with just two on a team instead of four.
“You rely a lot less on a sweeper, because you may only have one person in the house and one person throwing. You may not have a sweeper, or if you do, you may only have one, instead of two, so you have to be a little bit more accurate with your weight and not hope they can drag it in for you if you undershoot it.”
“I find the hardest thing is trying to get used to aiming at nothing. Most of the time you don’t have a broom to aim at — you kind of look at the writing on the wall and pick a spot, or look at the edge of the rings, but sometimes it’s hard to see from 140 feet away,” explains Nernberg. Nernberg and Larson hope the sport continues to grow, especially with provincials right here in town. (The games are open to the public to watch).
“It’s a game that we’ve enjoyed playing and we’re happy that it’s starting to gain some momentum here. Our league is pretty small as a group, so I’m hoping with provincials coming that more people will see it and want to join in and want to play, so we can have a little more competition within the club,” says Larson. All are looking forward to the big weekend.
“It should be a lot of fun, and it’s good that we get to play in it in front of our teammates and our respective men’s and ladies teams, in front of our friends at the club, so that should be a lot of fun,” says Nernberg.