Capital Classic upstaged by Oakville cashspiel

JOE PAVIA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

John Steski is no friend of the World Curling Tour.

Steski, who runs the RCMP Fall Open and Thanksgiving weekend's Capital Curling Classic, is not happy that a new Oakville cashspiel is running Thanksgiving weekend.

His 'spiel promises a prize package of $27,000. The other guy pays out $60,000.

"It is a very different bonspiel. I don't have any of the Toronto teams," Steski says of his event now.

All those Toronto teams switched to Oakville, including his brother's rink. Steski's 'spiel is full, but it's missing a few prominent names.

The Ottawa curler thinks the World Curling Tour should shoulder some responsibility in co-ordinating events, especially with the dearth of cash tournaments.

"The World Curling Tour isn't very well organized. We have very few bonspiels in Ontario to begin with."

The Ottawa event is now 10 years old.

"They put a new one in Oakville on the same weekend as the Capital Curling Classic. It makes no sense."

Tours emerged in 1992. They have grown to the point that almost every province or region has one. However, events join tours but no one rationalizes schedules -- a problem with a very short fall to December competitive season.

Events also pay a tour fee -- typically 5% of each entry fee. The WCT also asks for 1% of the total purse. Steski wonders, "It's like why? Where is this money going to?

"And I was not even given a phone call or an e-mail as a heads up saying this is what we want to do or would you be willing to move your weekend. It's just this is how it is."

Oakville organizers could not be reached for comment.

On the ice, Ottawa's Howard Rajala defended his 2007 Fall Classic win. His opponent was the Simon Dupuis team from Rosemere, Que.

Tied at four going into the sixth, the Ottawa rink sat two until skips' rocks. Choosing to ignore a guard, the Quebec skip attempted an out turn in-off, which failed. Howard drew for three to seal the deal until Dupuis ran out of rocks in the last end. The final score was 7-5.

Former skip Greg Richardson has joined Team Rajala as its second. The squad uses an unusual lineup. Richardson, rather than third Chris Fulton, holds the broom for Rajala.

"Chris loves to sweep and I am just so comfortable with Chris sweeping my draws. He's a great sweeper, one of the best around. Just lay it out to him and he'll take it all the way."

Sparing for the team was Brian Lewis, who together with his teammates walked away with a check for $3,000.

Dupuis not only got a check for $2,000, but everyone's admiration. Team Dupuis sports curling's most creative jackets. They are the Habs' tri-colours with numbers 9, 10 and 44 on the back.

Other money winners were semi-finalists Bryan Cochrane and Jean-Michel Menard ($1,200 each), quarter-finalists Daniel Bedard, Greg Balsdon, Chris Gardner and JP Lachance ($1,000 each) and qualifiers, Christian Tolusso, Ted Butler, Matt Paul and Neil Sinclair ($900 each).

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT

Ottawa bantam foursome Jamie Sinclair, Cheryl Kreviazuk, Melissa Gannon and Rebecca Winchers-Schreur won the Oakville Optimists Junior Spiel on the weekend. Kurtis Byrd, the only Ottawa men's team to qualify, made it to the semi-final.

BRAZIL CHALLENGE

Local curler RJ Johnson saw Team Brazil at the recent Team Glenn Howard curling camp. Brazil is challenging the U.S. for a World Championship berth. Johnson reports the U.S. has nothing to fear.


Videos

Photos