Getting tagged top dog is not always what it is cracked up to be.
Steinbach's Dan Kammerlock rode the success of a solid men's cashspiel season to being named the No. 1 seed for the Target Junior Men's and Women's Provincial Playdowns that open in Brandon tomorrow.
"It's the third year in a row for me but the last time the No. 1 seed won the province was (Brandon's) Mike McEwen in 2001," Kammerlock said on the eve of the spiel. "It just goes to show you that the seeds don't really mean anything. It's the team that plays the best on that weekend that's going to win."
Kammerlock, 20, lost a final and three semifinals in previous provincials.
"So, (winning the championship) would be a nice way to finish it off," said Kammerlock, supported by third Jason Gunnlaugson, 20, second Derek Samagalski, 20 and Dan McKenzie, 19.
Kammerlock's foursome earned more than $10,000 on the Manitoba Curling Tour, good enough for ninth in the standings. And that is believed to be the most ever earned by a junior squad on the MCT in one season.
"It's been an exceptional year for us," conceded Kammerlock. "In the past few years, we've put a lot of effort into playing on the Tour and every year, it's gotten better and better.
"There are other junior teams that play on the Tour but I'm surprised that a lot of other teams wouldn't take advantage of it. You certainly learn how to play the game."
And this year, for the first time in the provincials, Kammerlock will play against his younger brother, David, the second for West St. Paul's Ryan Coy. In fact, both Gunnlaugson's and Samagalski's younger brothers also curl for Coy.
"We're in the same pool and we play them the last game of the week so, it could be a pretty important game," Kammerlock said. "But it's going to be harder on the parents than anyone else."
Fort Garry's defending champion Daley Peters is the second seed, followed by: Winkler's David Kraichy, Heather's Adam Norget, Coy and Brandon's Colby Taylor.
Pembina's Kaitlyn Lawes was deemed the top seed on the junior women's side, followed by: Victoria's former provincial champ Allison Nimik, Kaileigh Strath of Souris, La Salle's Calleen Neufeld, Petersfield's Rhonda Varnes and Granite's Heather Pierson.
BITERS: The MCA was closing in on 400 entries into its annual bonspiel yesterday. The MCA will accept them right up until the first rock is thrown on Jan. 20, if necessary ... Organizers are now offering an After-Work pack for the Grand Slam's Canadian Open, to be held at the MTS Centre at the end of this month. Call Ticketmaster (780-3333) for more info.
Both St. Vital's Ryan Fry and Barb Spencer of Fort Rouge will defend their respective titles at the $26,000 Labatt MCT Championships, to be played at both the Ste. Anne and Steinbach Curling Clubs this Friday through Sunday. The men's champ will play off against next year's winner, if eligible, for a berth into the 2006 Safeway Select. That team will also earn $7,000 and a spot in next year's Canada Cup West Bonspiel. The women's winner will get $4,000 and a spot in the same spiel. The women's final will be shown by Shaw/Cable on tape delay Sunday at 7 p.m. The men's final will air Monday at 7 p.m. ... The MCA has finally confirmed that Charleswood's Jeff Stoughton has earned the exemption into this year's Select in Selkirk as the top Manitoba squad on the Canadian Team Ranking System. That means that Stoughton can pass on the Select city zone playdowns, which start Monday.