With a couple of local names to root for, many from around west central (and the Town of Biggar) were likely tuned in to the Viterra Womens Scotties in Assiniboia from January 5-9.
Sherry Anderson was a west central representative for Saskatchewan at last years Scotties, and she along with two rinks with ties to Biggar in Team Silvernagle and Team Barber were competing for the chance to win a green jacket and suit up for Saskatchewan.
After needing to win all their remaining games, Team Anderson and her team ran out of gas against a familiar face in Amber Holland. Meanwhile, Team Silvernagle gave themselves a chance in the 3 vs 4 Page Playoff on Saturday night up against the eventual champions in Team Barker, but instead it was a 6-4 loss that ended Team Silvernagle's chance to represent Saskatchewan at the Scotties for the third time in four years.
Both Team Anderson and Team Silvernagle have to be disappointed as former representatives, but they should be happy with their performance to get on the stage with the provinces best curlers. That same sentiment goes to perhaps the most local of the teams, in Team Barber out of Biggar, who was the first team in the trio to be ousted from competition.
West Central Online spoke with skip Brett Barber just prior to what would be their final game of the tournament, and though the team was excited to try and bring home a green jacket, they ended up conceding to Team Englot to put an end to their tournament back on Friday afternoon. Despite the results Barber knows her team performed impressively to get into the tournament, and was just happy to add another provincial tournament to her curling resume. It had been a few years since her last appearance, but an impressive season led to the team out of Biggar getting a direct berth into the tournament.
“I have two girls that joined last season and had a fantastic start to a short season, and then two of my girls are fresh out of junior starting last year. It’s their first full year in women's play, and they’ve just really owned it and stepped up to the plate.”
The really busy season has been handled well in part to Barber rostering a 5-person team. As mentioned the high finishes early this year is what assured Team Barber in a provincial spot early on. The high rate of competition in what has been a short year is something that could have been giving Barber confidence headed in.
“In December I had racked up 17 straight weeks of competing between women's, mixed doubles, and our team training weekends.”
Barber loves to curl on the big stage, and respects her fellow west central competition.
“Both fantastic teams,” said Barber about Robyn Silvernagle’s rebuilt squad, and Anderson’s team that represented at the Scotties last year. Barber even has a connection to the Silvernagles, as it’s no question the Biggar Curling Club has a special place in her heart.
“It’s a little bit known there’s been a few champions. My auntie Anita (Silvernagle) going back to worlds again, we lose count because she’s done it so many times. It’s quite the town for curling.”
Despite their end result, Team Barber wouldn’t change anything about this season other than maybe a couple of losses. The team has come a long way with their differing amounts of experience, but gained a whole lot of respect as a Saskatchewan unit this year with their competition prowess. Even though Team Anderson and Team Silvernagle were the presumptive favourites out of the region, they were listed out of curling clubs from Martensville and North Battleford respectively. Team Barber came straight out of the Biggar Curling Club, making them a shoe in for this years real ‘Team West Central’.
“Everybody does, but I do have an awesome support system, and it’s actually overwhelming with social media and everybody cheering along that can’t be with you,” commented Barber, “Nothing goes unnoticed.”
Barber noted a few people from her past even coming out to cheer her on, and the heartwarming gestures are just more fuel to the fire for Barber to keep competing and eventually put on a green jacket for her supporters.
Things should start to calm down for members of Team Barber after the near week long competition. Tons of great curling is coming up with the 2022 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ontario, as Team Barker came out of the provincial event victorious and will represent Saskatchewan in the upcoming tournament. Olympic curling will also be back next month, as the winter sports circuit continues on in west central, and across the globe.