Thousands of curlers can say they've played in the world's largest bonspiel in Winnipeg. For some, it's been a step on the road to Brier glory. For others, it's their one chance each year to battle a provincial, Canadian or even world champion. The tradition dates back to 1889, when curlers first came (toting their own rocks) to the Manitoba Curling Association's annual bonspiel.
In Kings of the Rings, Sean Grassie chronicles the long history of the MCA bonspiel. The 2009 Canadian mixed champion offers unique insight into the grind, opportunity and prestige of playing in the world's largest bonspiel. The careers of many of its champions - such as Ken Watson, Don Duguid and Kerry Burtnyk - are covered in great detail. Find out how their successes in the bonspiel have spurred them on to curling's biggest prizes.
Each year, hundreds of curlers enter the chase. Did you know that a Manitoba premier once won a trophy in the bonspiel, or that Winnipeg Blue Bomber legends Bud Grant,Gerry James and Don Jonas have all played in it? Kings of the Rings examines how curlers from all walks of life have been swept up by the MCA bonspiel craze.
Sean Grassie has tasted success himself at the world's largest bonspiel. Skipping his Deer Lodge team, he won the major Free Press trophy in 2011 and reached the MCA bonspiel championship final in 2012. A former Manitoba junior champion, Grassie qualified for the playoff round at the 2012 provincial men's Safeway Championship. He won the 2009 Canadian mixed title and a bronze medal at the 2009 world mixed doubles.