I was on the crew for the 1992 Tankard in Outlook, 1998 in Melville (home of Slow Helen’s Restaurant, not sure if it’s there anymore), 2000 in Swift Current, 2002 in Yorkton, 2006 in Weyburn, 2007 in Humboldt (MAN IT WAS COLD), 2008 in Balgonie, 2009 in Meadow Lake, 2010 in Lumsden, 2011 in North Battleford.
When we did the Tankard for Bamboo Shoots for the first time in Meadow Lake we had a crew of 9 people. This year’s Tankard crew was 16 because of the Live broadcast.
The 2012 Tankard took place in Assiniboia, which is about an hour straight south of Moose Jaw. If you are used to seeing trees on your drives in the country, this is one drive that might surprise you. Not a tree to be seen for miles around. It was kind of surprising really. I assumed it would be flat farm land but it was hillier then I expected. Assiniboia is a very nice town.
The venue is a curling rink, a movie theatre, library and a small college. It has stands inside the arena level and 2 levels of heated seating inside with a lounge upstairs.
This photo gives you a good look at the viewing gallery.
Tankard is always a grind. It’s such a big set up with having to hang overhead cameras the week before. No one uses more equipment than a curling broadcast. But I think what makes the Tankard from our point of view is the high level of curling and of course, the laughs. There is ALWAYS a story from Tankard. Some that can be posted on a blog and some that can’t.
Here’s a few.
My first Tankard, as I mentioned, was in 1992 in Outlook. It was my first experience working a mobile away from Saskatoon. I can remember having to stay in a room with 3 other guys. 2 of the guys had a fight on the last night to see who got the cot and who slept on the pull-out. It was my night on the bed, so I stayed out of it. We ate a few times for breakfast at the New Outlook Cafe’ ran by Jimmy Cook. Jimmy passed away a few years ago but he made an impression on the whole crew. We went in the first morning and had a great breakfast. We told him we’d be back the next day. When we arrived, he had a place setting for all of us the same as the day before. It took us a few minutes but we realized that everyone had the same spot as the day before with the same beverages as well. There was also a story about the keys to the place. A few of the local had them and if Jimmy wasn’t there, they’d open up and put the coffee on.
In 2002, the Tankard was in Yorkton. I can remember it being very cold that year. On one of the nights, Murray McCormick from the Regina leader Post was out with Warren Woods, the play by play guy for the Global Broadcasts. Murray had his car and was dropping Warren off after a late night at the rink. Warren gets out and heads to his room as Murray drives away. Warren goes to his room where his card won’t work. Upon arriving at the front desk, the clerk quickly notices that the key card he has is to another hotel. So Murray had dropped Warren at the WRONG HOTEL!!
I could go on and on for a few more pages. I think stories like this is what sets the Tankard apart from other mobiles.
This year’s Final was certainly an exciting one. Scott Manners will represent Saskatchewan at the Tim Horton’s Brier in Saskatoon at the beginning of March. The final came down to Bruce Korte, a 3-time Provincial Champion, missing shots in the 10th and the 11th to allow Manners to steal the victory. What an ending to a great weekend.
I think the broadcast went as well as it could go. We had some small technical issues, but all in all it was a success. For something of this scale it’s a total team effort and I can assure you everyone pitched in. We were using some new equipment for the broadcasts and it all performed well.
Because of the limited hotel rooms in Assiniboia, we had to stay in a town called Willow Bunch about 50km away. We weren’t there much but it seems to be a quaint little place. I hear it has a heck of a golf course and it is quite a busy place in the summer. Might be worth checking out when what’s left of the snow disappears.
Willow Bunch was also the home to the Willow Bunch Giant. Here’s a story on him.
I think that’s it for my first blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.