Peters hangs on

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

The veteran of numerous curling wars has sweated through this grind many times before.

But it still turns his crank.

Valour Road's Vic Peters has been stumbling along on one leg the last few days of the MCA's 118th annual spiel, desperately trying to keep his head above the icy water.

Peters pasted clubmate Dave Boehmer 10-5 at the Fort Rouge Curling Club yesterday.

"We're alive for another day," he said. "But we've been on one leg so long that it doesn't seem like a real bonspiel, really. It doesn't seem like the MCA when you're out of one side so early."

And there is a whole section of followers in Steinbach and the surrounding area who are praying that Peters will be playing in next month's Safeway Select in that southern Mennonite city, as both the skipper and his long-time second, Chris Neufeld, hail from that part of the province.

"You can't let it (add pressure)," said Peters, whose son, Daley, is at third, while Neufeld's son, Denni, is at lead. "There's enough pressure with the young guys trying to get there. They're pretty on edge because they haven't been in these kinds of positions. You can kind of sense that their anxiety levels might be a little higher than normal.

"It's different than a cashspiel. I mean, we've been in some big-money games, and it's a bit of a different feeling. It's always what I've liked about trying to get to Selects and things. There's no money involved, but there's still that level of anxiety and stress that goes up a bit. You can sense it when guys are talking. So it's a lot of fun, and I still kind of enjoy that kind of stuff."

Although Peters will be in Steinbach as the honourary chairman no matter how he fares at this bonspiel, he would prefer to be playing.

"It is on your mind, but it can't be, really," said the former Brier champ. "With these (opponents), every game is so hard and there's so many turning points, you can't really think much ahead of what you're trying to accomplish."

And by losing, Boehmer avoided being the bum of the Bible belt.

"We would have been booed out of the arena, so hopefully they can finish it off now and get there and we're not the villain for knocking them off," Boehmer said. "But somebody else might be yet."

Although Boehmer already has a Select spot, he wanted to win.

"Oh, we were serious out there, and I'm a little upset we lost," he said. "I would have liked to have given him a little bit of a scare. At the same time, Vic and his team are good friends of ours, and we hope the best for them because they are from Steinbach."

St. Vital's Doug Riach, who is still seeking a Select spot, emerged as the only unbeaten team in the bonspiel after last night's draw. He beat Springfield's Kevin Larson and Granite's Gary Ross by 6-3 scores yesterday afternoon and then beat Elmwood's Terry Young 6-1 last night to improve to 11-0.

Young and Ross both lost twice yesterday to go from unbeaten to out of the bonspiel in one day.

Valour Road's James Kirkness and West St. Paul's Rob Cosens both suffered their first losses last night. Kirkness fell 8-4 to Ryan Hyde of Portage, while Cosens dropped a 10-5 decision to Don Wiles of Fort Rouge.

Last year's grand aggregate winner and provincial champion Randy Dutiaume stayed alive last night, eliminating New Zealand Olympian Sean Becker with an 8-7 win. American Olympian Pete Fenson was also eliminated with an 11-10 loss to Ian Beavis of Morden.


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