Graber gives 'em ol' 'red boot'

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

After nearly a quarter century, Dennis Graber has found a way to get back into the Brier - move to B.C.

Graber was third for the Grande Prairie team skipped by Gary Morken that represented Alberta at the 1982 Brier.

CALLING THE SHOTS

About 18 months ago, Graber moved to Kamloops and hooked up with a rink skipped by Brian Windsor. The team, with Graber calling the shots, won the B.C. title Sunday night.

"I didn't know if that old red boot would win it for me this time," said Graber.

Graber wore the lucky curling boots that he's convinced helped him win the 1982 Alberta playdowns.

The Canadian Curling Association will insist Graber be listed as team skip, in much the same way that Dave Nedohin team's name was changed to Randy Ferbey after it won the 2001 Alberta title.

Graber lost a tough 2001 semi to Kevin Martin and likens this year's run to that one.

"We just said let's just come out under the radar," said Graber, who's taken dozens of calls from his legion of followers in Grande Prairie.

"In the Vancouver Sun, we had the highest odds at 60-1.

"We lost our first game to Brent Pierce, but we pretty well beat all the other teams."

CURLING HOTBED

After banging his head for 24 years, Graber knows Alberta is the world's curling hotbed.

"The big difference in B.C. is there's no dominant team," said Graber.

"I tried for years to get back. It's a tough thing out of Alberta when you have dominant teams like Ferbey, Martin and Morris.

That kind of put the life back into me."

Graber is already 55 and has promised his team he'll be back next year to defend the B.C. title.

Graber had little time to celebrate. Today, he's off to the B.C. provincial senior men's playdowns.

He'll be throwing third rocks for two-time world champ Rick Folk. There's no question who's going to be the skip of that squad.


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