Olympic curlers sweep up in Roseville Bonspiel

Teams with Scotland’s Edith Loudon, American Debbie McCormick advance to final
By: Garrett Johnston/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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ROSEVILLE — Skatetown played host to the sixth annual Crush Wine Country Bonspiel over Labor Day weekend.

The curling competition included former U.S. Olympian skip Debbie McCormick, Paralympian wheelchair curler Patrick McDonald and former Scottish national team member Edith Loudon.

Loudon made the trip across the pond from where she now lives in Perth, Scotland, to win this Bonspiel with her fiancé and Wine Country Curling Club member Eric Hazard.

After competing in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, Loudon didn’t qualify in 2006 for the Winter Games in Torino, Italy. However, she still went and assisted with stat keeping. It was there that she met Hazard, and they’ve been engaged since last year.

Although now retired from competitive curling, last weekend was Loudon’s third Wine Country Bonspiel. The first was the 2010 edition in Vacaville.

“The energy and enthusiasm about curling in California is amazing,” she said.

McCormick said curling at places like Skatetown differs from curling in her native Wisconsin.

“It’s still the same game,” McCormick said. “The ice conditions are a little bit different. In Wisconsin, we have dedicated curling facilities, different playing field; still the same game, great people.”

The team including McCormick and her husband, Pete, lost to Loudon’s team in the final.

“I’m really pleased. It was a tough game,” Loudon said. “I really enjoyed it.”

McCormick owns a business selling curling equipment around the country and enjoys competing with her husband at this game she calls her “passion.”

“We seem to play well together, and it gives us a chance to meet so many wonderful people,” McCormick said. “Travel the country. It’s a big part of our lives and something we love to do together.”

McCormick plans to compete in the National Curling Championships in February in Green Bay. The top four teams there qualify for the Olympic Trials in November 2013. Her ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2014 Olympics in Russia.

The Bonspiel served as a homecoming for McDonald, who last year moved from Orangevale to Madison, Wis., to practice more in his effort to return to the 2014 Winter Paralympics.

“When I started curling, it was down in Vacaville once a week to get one game in,” McDonald said. “Trying to make the Paralympic team, that just wasn’t working.”

So he moved his wife, Carrie, and kids Andie and Kaelan to Wisconsin. If Andie keeps her grades up and practices, the family may stay in Madison long enough to “see if Andie can become the next Debbie McCormick,” McDonald said.