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Bonspiel season begins

About five years ago, the Lakes Curling Club Vern Turner Memorial Bonspiel advanced two teams for the championship title.

One team was all 16 and 17-year-olds from Bemidji and the opposing team consisted of 60 plus year-olds out of Winnepeg.

In a very tight match, the older guys won, Lakes Curling Club member Roger Lee said.

"What other sport can that happen in? None," he said.

Not only is the game popular because it allows all age groups to compete in the same championship, it gives players the chance to travel all over the place, including Canadians who love to go south during cold winter months.

The 2011 Bonspiel season will kick off with the Canadian Ladies Senior tournament Sunday, Jan. 23 through Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Early next month, the Canadian "Why Not" Bonspiel will also invite men and women to Detroit Lakes to compete Feb. 6 through Feb. 8.

Every year, for 19 years, Carefree Getaway Travel Company organizes the event for the Lakes Area Curling Club to host at their location in Detroit Lakes.

This year's Senior Ladies bonspiel and the Canadian Why Not will each bring 24 teams of four, Lee said.

"Mostly it's Canadian teams and they love to come here, they love to come shopping," he added. "We provide three shuttle vans to haul them around to go shopping."

Although lakes area residents don't have a chance to participate in the Canadian bonspiel season, they can watch the intensity that is slated to begin at 3 p.m. and last until 11 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 24-25.

However, the locally sponsored tournament will give 32 teams the opportunity to compete in the Vern Turner Memorial Bonspiel Feb. 11-13.

Teams from all over the country participate in the Vern Turner bonspiel that began to honor one of the founders of the curling club, Vern Turner.

"Usually the people that come from out of town, quite often, have a connection to Detroit Lakes," Lee said.

For more information on the Lakes Curling Club or to join, the season will last until March, club members can be reached at 218-847-8186.

Lee, an avid curler himself, is enthusiastic about the season and is always giving tips on how to play the game right.