DAUPHIN -- He may not have qualified for this year's senior men's provincial championship but Ron Westcott will play a key part of a special tribute to Brandon's Neil Andrews during the opening ceremonies at the Fort Rouge Curling Club later this month.
Andrews is suffering from incurable Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease.
"Neil played third for us when we won Manitoba (1999) and he was the all-star third at the Canadians," Westcott said after dropping a 7-2 decision to Virden's Graham Freeman at the Safeway Championship yesterday. "So, he was a big part of our team for a couple of years and he's from our hometown -- Douglas, Manitoba.
"It was tough news when we all learned that he was diagnosed with a fatal disease. So, we're dedicating the provincial seniors to Neil. Right now, Neil is too sick to come in so his brother, Darryl, is coming in for the opening ceremonies."
Andrews has apparently deteriorated quickly since Christmas.
"He's at the point where he maybe knows you a bit but he can't really communicate," Westcott said.
The program will include a feature story of Andrews who also skipped a squad to the 2004 Manitoba senior title.
"If you follow sports, he's gotten a lot of tributes these last few months in Brandon," Westcott said. "He's done so much for sports -- baseball and organizing any event in Brandon, he's always in charge of the ice. So, everyone's really devastated by the news. This is our part to give him some credit.
"Everyone, I'm sure, has played Neil and not only is he a good player but he's an ambassador of the game. He's just a classy guy and it's just horrible news for the family and curling in general."
Westcott, however, could not resist giving Andrews a good-natured dig.
"I used to beat him in curling in Douglas," he recalled. "We played for nickels and if he had paid up, I would have owned his farm.
"We always talked about who put Douglas on the map and we both agreed that Mabel Mitchell did because she won two (senior) Canadians."
CRUSHER: It was a crushing loss. And an impressive comeback.
Petersfield's Dave Boehmer scored eight unanswered points in three ends to overcome a 7-2 deficit and bounce Portage la Prairie's Ryan Hyde 10-7.
"The seventh end, I thought the (Safeway Championship) was over," admitted Boehmer. "I'm sure there was no doubt in anyone's minds on our team. We just decided to play another end or two to see if we could mount that comeback.
"I don't know whether to be happy because you play like that and let a team get a lead on ya. How many times are you going to come back from that?"
BOUNCED LATE: On the late draw, Neepawa's Kelly Robertson, Granite's Bob Sigurdson, Valour Road's Dave Smith, Thompson's Rae Haintstock and Westcott were eliminated.