LLOYDMINSTER -- Houdini left town early yesterday morning.
Randy Ferbey would have liked to do better than leave town with $5,000 after losing a 7-3 quarterfinal to Kevin Martin.
That's the bad news. The good news is that he lost no ground in the race for the Alberta Tour bye to next year's provincials championship.
Chris Schille did Ferbey a big favour by knocking off Jamie King in Sunday night's C Event final, then dropping his quarter to local hero Warren Hassall.
That leaves Ferbey with a 13-point lead over both Schille and King.
Ferbey would like to nail down the bye at Wainwright in two weeks' time. That's because if he's forced to go through the playdowns road, the men's northerns conflict with the Grand Slam event in Winnipeg.
"Hypothetically, if we win Wainwright, we're in anyway," said Ferbey. "The good part is they're still chasing us. No matter what happens, at the end of this spiel they're still chasing us."
Ferbey is already entered in Saskatoon later this month, when the last Alberta Tour event goes in Grande Prairie.
Ferbey was ineligible for any Tour points this weekend because regular last-rock Dave Nedohin had to attend to his business interests in Edmonton and sub Reid Carruthers is not an Alberta resident.
Nedohin will be with the team when it heads to the Grand Slam event in Waterloo tomorrow.
A higher-priority goal for the team is to nail down an Olympic Trials spot. Ferbey is ranked No. 3 on the current year Canadian Teams Ranking System list behind Martin and Glenn Howard, who are already guaranteed berths to the Edmonton event.
And this weekend, he gained CTRS points on both Kerry Burtnyk and Pat Simmons, Olympic Trial spots contenders who played here but did not qualify.
Trouble is, Nedohin remains questionable for Wainwright, which leaves Ferbey an interesting dilemma. Since Don Walchuk and Kevin Park have tagged up with Manitoba teams, there are no substitute skips available in Alberta.
"The Ferb might have to throw the brick," said Ferbey, who would have to find an Alberta resident to sub in to make his team eligible.