Downtime follows big victory

ANGELA MacISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

Time for a breather.

It's been a hectic start to the season on the Women's Curling Tour -- and a rare weekend off to spend with her biggest fans is just what Renelle Bryden needs.

"We get to be home in Calgary and hang out with our newborns," Bryden said yesterday, fresh off the ice in Red Deer where she won the $30,000 Community Savings Classic.

Bryden was one up coming home with the hammer and secured an 8-6 victory over fellow Calgarian Shannon Kleibrink.

Both Bryden and third Nancy Smith gave birth to boys over the summer, Davis and Riley, respectively.

"We needed more spectators (in Calgary) because we're all from different provinces," Bryden said, chuckling. "We don't have family around, so we had to build our own spectating group."

Second Carolyn Darbyshire (son Shea and daughter Alexandria) and lead Shannon Mattheis (son Patrick) already had their fan clubs started.

"Our husbands and our children loved being around everyone in Red Deer this weekend," said Bryden, who is married to competitive curler Greg Anholt.

"We had several comments that our husbands were doing a good job."

Of course, Bryden and her rink are doing equally as well on the ice.

After finishing runner-up to Edmonton's Cathy King at the BDO Classic in Kelowna, they finished sixth at the Casinos of Winnipeg Women's Classic and made it to the semis at Calgary's Autumn Gold Classic. Next, they head to the SaskPower Schmirler Classic Nov. 19-22, another special weekend for Bryden.

"(Regina) is home for me," she said.

And before they know it, they'll be into the playdowns schedule, starting with the districts Dec. 10-12.

Of course, most skips would agree qualifying out of Calgary -- let alone winning the provincial title --is not easy.

"You have to elevate your game to a new level for playdowns," said Bryden. "But that's the way you want it."

Kleibrink, the defending Alberta champ, knows it, too.

"We know we're doing well right now because we're in the top 10 on the money list (of the Women's Curling Tour)," said Kleibrink, who brought Christine Keshen in to replace Stephanie Marchand at lead for the rest of the season.

"But there are so many strong teams out of Calgary."


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