Randy Ferbey’s crew has logged a lot of miles and has reached the apex of curling on several occasions.
The veteran skip figures his team still has a lot of miles left on the motor and might even get back to the top of the hill once again.
Ferbey, talented shot-making third Dave Nedohin and fabled front-enders Scott Pfeifer and Marcel Rocque enjoyed a royal run earlier in the decade, winning four Canadian titles from 2001 to 2005 and world championships in 2002, ‘03 and ‘05. But they haven’t been back to the Brier since, with Kevin Martin reclaiming Alberta rights in each of the past four years.
Another prolonged run of glory years is not likely in the cards for Ferbey and company, but the Edmonton native is of the opinon that he and his supporting cast can regain their former prominence for at least a brief period.
“I think we can get back to that, for sure. Can we get back for a long period of time? No, because there are so many good teams out there now,” Ferbey said on Sunday at the Red Deer Curling Centre, following a 7-2 win over Dean Ross of Calgary in a B-event qualifier of the Red Deer Curling Classic.
“I don’t think anybody is going to dominate this game for any length of time, but we’ve played and beat (Glen) Howard and Martin and all of those guys, and I know in my heart for sure that we can play against those teams as well as we ever did.”
Ferbey’s team is looking ahead to next month’s Canadian Olympic curling trials at Rexall Place in Edmonton, a competition that has long been first and foremost in their minds. The foursome qualified by taking top honours in last spring’s Players Championship in Grande Prairie with a 6-0 record that included wins over Howard and Martin.
“The trials are basically what we’ve been playing for for four years,” said Ferbey. “The whole country . . . every curler has been waiting to have that chance to represent Canada in the Olympics. We made it to that final step and whoever is hot at the time is going to have that thrill of a lifetime and there’s nothing more I would like to do than finish my career representing Canada at the Olympics.”
Of course, Ferbey has mentioned retirement various times over the years, only to return at the start of the following season.
“As long as I still have that fire and a bit of drive I might last a few more years,” he said. “It’s hard to say.”
Ferbey’s foursome, with earnings of $16,882, sat 13th on the Asham World Curling Tour men’s money list coming into Red Deer.
“We’re close to where we want to be and of course we hope to be peaking by the (Olympic) trials,” said the skip. “We’re in every game we play, we’re just making a couple of little mistakes now and then. But overall we’re OK.”
In the other men’s B-event qualifying final, Mark Johnson of Edmonton edged Warren Hassall of Lloydminster 5-4.
In the women’s B finals, Eve Muirhead of Scotland downed Chelsea Carey of Winnipeg 5-4 and Heather Nedohin of Sherwood Park was a 7-4 winner over Valerie Sweeting of Vegreville.
The A-event qualifiers were decided on Saturday, with Brad Heidt of Kerrobert beating Ferbey 8-3 and Switzerland’s Ralph Stockli downing Johnson 5-3 on the men’s side, and Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg whipping Muirhead 8-1 and Marla Mallet of Vancouver posting a 6-5 win over Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland in the women’s division.
The men’s C-event qualifiers were played late Sunday and Red Deer’s Rob Armitage earned one of the four money spots in the men’s section, beating Ross 7-4. Meanwhile, Steve Petryk downed Brent Bawel 7-5 in an all-Calgary contest, Claudio Pescia of Switzerland was a 7-6 winner over Jamie King of Edmonton and Kelowna’s Tyrell Griffith defeated Hassall 5-4.
Earning C-event qualifying berths on the women’s side were Carey (8-4 over Kristen Recksiedler of Maple Ridge, B.C.), Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary (4-3 over Kelley Law of Abbotsford), Tiffany Odegaard of Edmonton (5-4 over Adana Tasaka of Burnaby, B.C.) and Sweeting, who beat Megan Kirk of Lethbridge 7-6.
The men’s and women’s quarter-finals were scheduled for 9 a.m. today at the Red Deer Curling Centre, to be followed by the semifinals at noon and the championship finals at 3 p.m.
9 a.m. — B event: Chelsea Carey 8 Kelley Law 4; Valerie Sweeting 4 Casey Scheidegger 3; Eve Muirhead 5 Shannon Kleibrink 4; Heather Nedohin 6 Silvana Tirinzoni 5. C event: Tiffany Odegaard 6 Nola Zingel 4; Lisa Johnson 6 Bobbie Sauder 5; Megan Kirk 6 Nadine Chyz 5; Kristin Reckeidler 6 Renee Sonneberg 4.
2:30 p.m. — B event: Eve Muirhead 5 Chelsea Carey 4; Heather Nedohin 7 Valerie Sweeting 4. C event: Megan Kirk 5 Lisa Johnson 2; Adina Tasaka 8 Casey Scheidegger 3; Kelley Law 9 Cheryl Bernard 4; Shannon Kleibrink 7 Krista Crowther 4; Tiffany Odegaard 5 Silvana Tirinzoni 4; Kristen Recksiedler 6 Renelle Bryden 5.
9 a.m. — B event: Warren Hassall 8 Terry Meek 1; Randy Ferbey 8 Brent Bawel 2; Mark Johnson 7 Wade White 6; Dean Ross 6 Steve Petryk 5.
11:30 a.m. — C event: Rob Armitage 9 Don Delair 0; Claudio Pescia 8 Justin Sluchinski 2; Andrew Bilesky 6 Leon Moch 2; Jamie King 9 Thomas Dufour 3; Tyrel Griffith 6 Tom Buchy 3; Scott Egger 7 Jamie Koe 6; Mike Jakubo 7 Rob Krepps 6; Lowell Peterman 7 Mike Jantzen 6.
2:30 p.m. — B event: Randy Ferbey 7 Dean Ross 2; Mark Johnson 5 Warren Hassall 4.
5 p.m. — C event: Tyrel Griffith 5 Mike Jakubo 0; Rob Armitage 6 Lowell Peterman 5; Jamie King 7 Wade White 3; Claudio Pescia 6 Terry Meek 5; Brent Bawel 6 Scott Egger 5; Steve Petryk 7 Andrew Bilesky 6.