How the kings got the Queen to smile

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

Has any curling team ever had more fun than Edmonton's Fab Four? Winning four Briers (six for Randy Ferbey) and three world championships (four for Ferbey) is enjoyable enough. But 'Oh, The Fun They've Had' is Chapter 19 in Terry Jones's new hardcover book The Ferbey Four (Dragon Hill, $29.95). A 130-colour picture special 32-page team album which is part of the book illustrates just how much fun they've had. The serialization of the book continues throughout the week. The book is available this week at Greenwoods, Audreys, Volume II Books, Hub Cigar, as well as Save-on-Foods St. Albert, Calgary Trail, Kingsway and Mayfield Common and will be available soon at all bookstores and most of the 90 curling clubs around northern Alberta.

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So there they were, the curling kings with the Queen of England.

"We had her laughing pretty hard," said Dave Nedohin about Her Majesty the Queen after they'd won their fourth Brier and third world championship.

Queen Elizabeth II happened to be in Alberta's capital to celebrate Alberta's 100th birthday. It wasn't like she made a special trip to meet them or anything.

But still. What a thrill.

"We had about four or five minutes with her. We were certainly the only ones to get her laughing. Everybody else was pretty stuffy," said Nedohin.

"I asked her if she ever curled. She said 'No, no. That's much too difficult with all that sweeping.'

"And then Queen Elizabeth stood there pretending she was sweeping with a corn broom.

"We have a really great photo of her pointing at Marcel Rocque and laughing. We're not sure if she was laughing with him or at whom."

Curling royalty meets real royalty.

BRRRR ... TOO COLD

"When Dave asked her if she ever curled before, that's when it really got to be an experience. People couldn't believe she was there pretending to sweep with a corn broom," said Rocque.

"Dave started telling her about the grand match that is held in Scotland every year and how it's played outdoors. I said I'd never curled outside.

"The Queen said surely we have outdoor curling in Canada.

"That's when I leaned in and whispered to her, 'It's much too cold in this country to curl outdoors.' That's when she started to point at me and laughed as illustrated in our photo.

"We occupied her time more than any of the dignitaries by far.

"I overheard her asking Ralph Klein what our team name was again. Obviously we had some kind of impact for her to enquire further.

'THE BEST PART'

"What a great experience," said Rocque. "In fact, it was the only time in all the years of our successes that my wife thanked me for all of the opportunities it has given us. That might have been the best part of it."

Scott Pfeifer was the one who found out first.

"I was the one who got the e-mail. I was the first one to know. I had to read it twice. It wasn't just a chance to meet the Queen, it was a private reception to meet the Queen. That was a fun one to tell the guys about. Telling our wives was even better. How good a guy are you when you tell your wife you're going to take her to meet Queen Elizabeth?"

If it wasn't the Queen of England, it was the Queen of Track & Field.

In Edmonton for the IAAF 2001 World Championships in Athletics, the team was chosen to present the medals to the winners of the women's 4 x 100 metre relay. Huff & Puff presented the medals to the bronze medal winners, Nedohin to the silver medal winners and Randy Ferbey to the gold medal winner.

"We had Ferb convinced that you had to kiss each girl, no matter what. That it was protocol," said Nedohin.

"When Scott and Marcel presented the bronze medals, they both gave them a kiss on the cheek.

"But there was also a representative of the world governing body who presented the flowers to the gold-medal winners and, following our lead of giving them a little peck, he may as well have used his tongue kissing them.

"So when Randy went to present the gold medals, they were a little hesitant to receive the kiss from The Ferb. Randy almost had to pull Marion Jones off the podium but he didn't want to mess up the protocol."

THE KISS

Ferbey said he couldn't let his teammates upstage him.

"I kinda grabbed her, pulled her to me and gave her a great big smooch."

The rink saw the Pope in Rome but didn't have a personal audience. Their curling celebrity has taken them on some interesting road trips to Europe.

Scotland great Chuck Hay took them to play the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.

"Some of our best memories as a team involve Randy playing golf," said Nedohin.

"I've caught them on camera. Randy's shot off the hotel on the 17th hole at St. Andrews and back to the 16th green was about the funniest thing I have ever seen on a golf course. This was followed closely by his attempts to get out of a sandtrap at Carnoustie. Six tries. And the ball got deeper in the trap with every swing."

'LAUGHING SO HARD'

They showed that video on the scoreboard between ends at the 2005 Edmonton Brier and both Ferbey's team-mates and Brad Gushue's group fell backwards off the bumper boards laughing so hard.

When you become a curler, you don't picture yourselves being invited to Las Vegas by somebody like Real Michaud of the World Financial Group at a convention of 15,000 people.

"We spoke twice. The first time was 15 minutes to all the brass. Then we spoke for about an hour to 3,000-4,000 members of the Canadian contingent. Our message was what it takes to build a championship team," said Rocque.

For the rest of the time in Vegas they had a blast.

"It was a fantastic trip. That's where Randy lost the moustache," said Nedohin.

It was also where the Ferbey Four came away big winners.

"Speaking for 15 minutes each in front of thousands of people is a bit unnerving," said Ferbey.

"We hadn't really done any motivational speaking before, but we prepared, broke it down into areas like team building, commitment and applied it to their business. We spoke for a little over an hour.

"We didn't really know how we'd done but it seemed to go OK, we thought.

"After it was over, the executives talked to us and told us they'd brought guest speakers in from all around the world and we'd been the best they'd seen in seven years. They made us believe the compliment by becoming a major, major sponsor with us."


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