Canadian Paraplegic Association of Ontario Funspiel!
Ken Gregory, right, and local curler David Kemp, at CPAO Funspiel.
The 2nd annual Canadian Paraplegic Association-Ontario Funspiel took place at the Bradford Curling Club on Saturday, January 22 - and was a great success, attracting mixed teams of all ages and all levels of ability, including wheelchair curlers.
Ken Gregory, a past Provincial Wheelchair Curling champion, explained some of the differences between curling in a wheelchair, and able-bodied curling.
"It's a challenge. We're only on the rock for this much," he said, gesturing with his hands - so that there's little time to adjust the throw. And there is no sweeping.
"A sweeper can pull a rock 12 -14 feet," Gregory said, noting that wheelchair curlers must throw it right the first time. But even with the limitations, wheelchair curling is competitive - as several able-bodied curlers learned at the Funspiel.
For Gregory and his Bradford team, the Funspiel was a practice session for their upcoming competition at the Provincials, being held in Toronto, February 1-4.
"We only get together at the Bonspiels," he said. "This is our big warm-up."
Gregory admitted that last year, the team was disappointed with their showing at the Provincials. This year, they're hopeful: there's a new team member, "and we're doing great in Bonspiels... Hopefully if (the Provincial) goes well, we're in Alberta in March for the Nationals."
The Funspiel, which included card games and a Silent Auction, was a fundraiser for the CPAO.