Cowgals doin' a two-step

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

Cheryl Bernard, quite clearly, stopped at the Calgary Stampede Ranch in the Hand Hills area of the province and loaded up a broom bag full of horseshoes before arriving at the Roar of the Rings.

"I don't care what we've got. Every team that's won one of these things has to get the breaks," said the skip.

"We've already used up more than our fair share," admitted Sandra O'Connor, of having a wee bit of the Irish to separate the heifers from the herd yesterday.

"We said we'd need some extra breaks and we certainly have had them," added the third on the crew that also includes Carolyn Darbyshire and Cori Bartel.

Bernard is already over the quota on stuff happening in her favour at these Olympic trials.

Bernard is 4-0, and along with fellow Calgarian Shannon Kleibrink, sitting second at 3-1, they're the only two teams left without two losses in the women's division.

This isn't the first rodeo for the Calgary duo.

Bernard, 43, and Kleibrink, 41, are the two oldest skips in the event.

And the way this is going, on a day that features the most anticipated match of the round-robin --Edmonton's Randy Ferbey versus Kevin Martin this afternoon -- the two Calgary gals will take over centre stage this morning.

So far, this is the most fun you can have with your cowboy boots on for fans of the two teams sitting a section apart to the left of the media bench in Rexall Place.

The Bernard bunch is decked out in white cowboy hats and black and white striped scarves.

"They're all family and friends," said O'Connor.

"We felt we had to do something because they're not a very loud group. Carolyn's husband found the scarves on the Internet. Actually, they're rugby scarves. But it's not easy to find scarves to match the black uniforms they gave us this week."

The Kleibrink crew couldn't find any scarves in Shrek green, but did order a gross of plastic clappers for their group to bang together.

"I have eight people, our lead, Chelsey Bell, has four and our second Bronwen Webster, has six," she said of family and friends.

The only lonely has been skip Kleibrink.

"Shannon has nobody," said Nixon. "Her husband has been away on some really important business. But he should be here (today)."

You'd figure with Kleibrink's crew putting away Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay 7-4 at the same time Bernard was down 7-5 in the 10th end to Kelly Scott, that they'd wait to watch how that one went.

But they left the ice with their win.

"At this point, it's just survival. Pure survival," said Nixon. "We have no idea of what's going to happen. Every game is so competitive.

"We may be 3-1, but we have a zero confidence level about the way this will work out. It's all so close. Look at Bernard. She's been really, really close on the last ends. She had three go her way. Maybe the next three will go the other way."

Indeed, this was the draw it looked like it would.

After a last-end, last-rock circus shot to win her first game, a measurement to win the second and yet another win that came down to her last rock to go 3-0, yesterday Bernard found her most adventurous way to win.

Scott's third, Jeanna Schraeder, set it all up by rubbing a guard and leaving,four yellow rocks in a, well, horseshoe-shaped configuration.

With two shots to do something about the four Bernard rocks bunched to one side of the button, Scott rubbed a guard and then came up short, leaving Bernard not even having to throw her last brick to score four and win 9-7.

Bernard said to remember her quote on all of this before it started.

"There will be some amazing shot-making and the team that gets hot and holds it together for the week and has a little fun along the way will win it. Can't get much more simple than that," she told me during Grey Cup Week in Calgary.

No mention was made of stopping to pick up horseshoes, however.

TERRY.JONES@SUNMEDIA.CA


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