When the pressure was on, Minden’s Ron Bobbie took a deep breath, peered down the ice and let his instincts take over.
Bobbie skipped his team to a rare eight-ender at the Minden Curling Club during a local league game Jan. 17. It was the first time he had accomplished the feat in his more than 30 years of playing the sport. Likened to a hole-in-one in golf or a no-hitter in baseball, an eight-ender is considered the pinnacle of curling accomplishments.
It was a first too for Nancy Lemire, lead, Brian Lemire, vice, and Victoria Lawson, second.
“There’s a reason it’s so rare – so much has to go right for it to happen,” Bobbie said.
“There’s a reason it’s so rare – so much has to go right for it to happen,” Bobbie said. “The winning team has to make all of their shots, and then the opponents have to adopt what we call a draw game. What that does is try to minimize the damage, and gives them a chance to score, and maybe even win the end if they make the right shot.
After the opposition missed its last shot it all came down to Bobbie, who was tasked with throwing the final rock.
“Now that was pressure. I had to change direction because my route was blocked on the one side, so having to shoot on unknown ice wasn’t ideal. And I always say it’s hard to throw with your fingers crossed,” he said with a smile.
Brian Lemire, who has been curling for around 10 years, said it took him a few moments to realize what had happened.
“I didn’t know we had an eight-ender and so I moved to start taking the rocks off the ice,” Brian said. “It was only after someone yelled ‘no, no, don’t do that. You need to get a photo,’ that I looked down and just said ‘oh my god’.”
Club president Robert Peacock said this was the first eight-ender the Minden club had seen in several years. Also known as a ‘snowman’, the trick has never been achieved in Olympic competition, nor at premiere Canadian events such as the Brier or Tournament of Hearts.
The score was extra special for Lawson, as her husband, Jim, was skip on the opposing team.
“I’ve had so much fun with this. I’ve only been curling for a couple of years, so to be part of an eight-ender so early on is incredible. People get excited when I tell them, then they just lose their mind when I say ‘yeah… and it was against Jim’s team’,” she said.
The quartet will have a nice piece of memorabilia to remember the occasion – the Canadian Curling Association has an award to recognize any eight-ender scored in Canada. Brian said he and his teammates will each receive commemorative pins.