Venerable skip soars

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

At age 66, Gary Ross is used to playing in seniors and even masters curling championships.

But the Safeway Select provincial men's championship?

"I'm really past that stage," he said yesterday.

Not so fast, Mr. Ross. Objects in this mirror are closer than they appear.

Ross and his Granite teammates Winston Warren, Darren Ross (Gary's son) and Glen Gordon were a perfect 8-0 in the main events heading into last night's games at the 118th MCA Bonspiel.

They were one of seven undefeated teams remaining in the bonspiel and were inching closer toward earning one of five available berths in the Safeway Select, which will be played Feb. 8-12 in Steinbach.

'LONG WAYS OFF'

"We're doing pretty decent, but you know what, it doesn't take long to lose two in a row," Ross said after his team's 9-7 win over Fort Garry's Barry Campbell yesterday afternoon at West Kildonan.

"We're all eligible for the Select, but that's a long ways off."

Ross, who won the Canadian senior men's championship in 2001 with Warren at third can't even remember the last time he played in a provincial men's championship.

He played in a lot of them though. In fact, before he won his provincial senior title, he had the dubious distinction of having lost 10 provincial finals in the men's, senior men's and masters divisions.

EVEN MORE SPECIAL

Getting back to an elite event like the Select now would be a treat made even more special because of his teammates.

"I'm playing with my son, so that kind of adds to it," he said. "It's the young guys that sort of keep us going."

There are already plenty of "old guys" in the Select. Barry Fry's masters team, which includes 1972 world champions Orest Meleschuk and John Usackis, already has a ticket to Steinbach.

"We're all the same age, so it would be kind of nice to go out and throw rocks with those guys out there," said Ross, who was on the ice against undefeated Wayne Ewasko of Selkirk last night. "We're all on the right side of the grass anyways."

Ross still doesn't like his team's chances at this point.

"We just play once a week at the Granite," he said. "The other thing is we're getting tired. It's only because of what we're playing for that makes us excited about keeping going."


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