$25G contest a button-down affair

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

City of Ottawa Bonspiel chairman Art Atwood wanted to do something special to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the tournament.

So he figured a good way to do that is give the curlers a chance to win something dear to their hearts.

No, not beer.

Money.

Following Sunday's championship game at the Ottawa Curling Club, 20 of the tournament's 1,204 participants will get a chance to win $25,000.

But it won't be easy.

NO SWEEPERS OR BITERS

They'll each get a rock with the objective to cover the button.

No sweepers. No biters.

Just a cold draw to the pin, which means the rock and its 12-inch diameter would need to stop perfectly on the 13-inch-wide button for anybody to collect the cash.

No margin for error.

"It's like a hole-in-one. It's pretty difficult to do," said Atwood.

"The odds are pretty long, but it's always possible."

If somebody actually places a rock on the lid, sponsors Labatt and John Shea Insurance will provide the prize money.

The 20 finalists for Sunday's contest will be selected through a draw at the tournament banquet on Friday.

The bonspiel began last night and continues at curling clubs throughout the Ottawa area until Sunday night.

Buckingham skip Ted Butler is the defending champion and will try to emerge from the 208 teams in the open division for a second consecutive title.

Also competing is Ottawa native Hugh Milliken, who'll represent Australia at next month's world curling championships in Victoria.

The Ottawa Curling Club's Rod Matheson will defend the bonspiel's senior championship for players 55 and older.

Bill Comerford, the defending tournament senators champ for players 65 and older, is also back for another run at a title.


Videos

Photos