PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- Petersfield's Dave Boehmer is hoping for a repeat express train ride through to the end of the final McCain SuperSpiel West.
Boehmer was the first Manitoban to qualify for the championship round with a 6-4 victory over Winnipeg's James Kirkness at the Portage Curling Club yesterday afternoon.
Boehmer blew a 6-1 lead, dropping a 9-8 decision to Northern Ontario's Bryan Burgess in his opening match, but has been chugging along ever since.
"To bounce back and rattle off five straight, I like that," said Boehmer, supported by third Pat Spiring, second Richard Daneault and Don Harvey. "It's not easy to do, especially after losing a heartbreaker in our first game."
And yes, it reminds him of last year's MCA bonspiel, when he hopped a train after getting knocked out of a Grand Slam in Saskatchewan and made it back in time to earn a Safeway Select spot through the minor-event playoff -- after defaulting his first seven matches. Boehmer is guaranteed at least $3,500, the fourth straight spiel his squad has been in the money this season.
Alberta's John Morris defeated Winnipeg's Ryan Fry 8-1 in the other B-side qualifier. Alberta's Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin advanced to the championship round late Saturday night.
TRYING TO QUALIFY
Both Kirkness and Fry were trying to qualify on the C side last night, along with Manitoba's Allan Lyburn and Graham Freeman, B.C.'s Dean Joanisse, Alberta's Ted Appelman, Saskatchewan's Glen Despins and Burgess. Joanisse eliminated Winnipeg's Jeff Stoughton, last year's runner-up, 7-2.
"This year, we'll concentrate on getting a little more rest for the MCA and finding a shorter route to get there," joked Boehmer, 39. "I think we're in the running for (the exemption into the Select as the top Canadian Team Ranking System points-getter) and if we can get that, it would save us a train ride maybe."
Today's winner gets $15,000, entry into next month's Canada Cup West Bonspiel in Edmonton and a berth into the final $150,000 McCain TSN Skins Game, to be held in Bathurst, N.B., Dec. 4-5.
Because McCain has pulled its sponsorship of the Skins Game, today will be the final SuperSpiel West final.
"It's kind of sad to lose the biggest spiel in our province and hopefully, there will be some others come along," said club manager Barry Sadler. "But right now, we don't have anything lined up."
The quarter-finals are today at 8 a.m., with the semis at noon and the final at 4 p.m.