It usually takes a few years for junior stars to make their marks on the provincial men's curling scene.
Don't tell that to Valour Road's Reid Carruthers.
Carruthers, the 2003 Manitoba junior men's champion, captured a berth in the 2006 Safeway Select provincial men's championship (Feb. 8-12, Steinbach) yesterday by making it to a main event final at the 118th MCA Bonspiel.
Carruthers, Jason Gunnlaugson (Lloyd's grandson), Derek Samagalski and Tyler Forrest are all in their first year out of juniors and it took them no time at all to make an impression.
"It definitely is a big transition from junior to men's but we've had a really good year so far," Carruthers, 21, said after beating Brandon's Allan Lyburn 8-7 at Charleswood to earn a trip to Steinbach.
"We're beyond excited. Our hopes were to make it to the Select and I'm glad we pulled it off."
Carruthers won a main event with with a 6-1 win over St. Vital's Doug Riach last night.
RURAL ROLL: Much was made during this bonspiel about the shortage of rural entries in the field of 441 teams.
The number of rural teams may have been down but the ones that did show up did pretty well.
Of the seven semifinalists (Riach played in two) in the two main events, four were rural teams, including those skipped by Ian Beavis of Morden, Wayne Ewasko of Selkirk, Bryan Preston of Warren and Allan Lyburn of Brandon.
Beavis, Ewasko and Preston earned berths in the Safeway Select yesterday and Lyburn already had one.
BACK IN ACTION: Lyburn, once one of the top up-and-comers in the province, will return to the Safeway Select this year after a four-year absence.
Lyburn played in 2001 in Selkirk and then joined the Grand Slam of Curling, choosing to boycott provincial playdowns for two years. He then failed to qualify for the Select in 2004 and 2005.
"We were a young team on the fringe," Lyburn, a Scotland native said of his 2001 squad. "All of a sudden we had to sign up with the Slam and I don't regret it.
"But absolutely we want to get back to where we were. Going back to the Select now after playing against all the top teams in the Slam it's definitely helping us."
So, will Lyburn be sneaking up on anybody at the Select?
"Time will tell," he grinned.