As a participant for the last 15 years, Red River College grad Sean Grassie brings a unique perspective to his time with the MCA Bonspiel, the biggest and longest-running curling competition in the world.
So it’s no surprise Grassie, a 2009 Creative Communications grad, and skip of both the 1999 Manitoba junior champion and 2009 Canadian Mixed champion teams, has put all that inside info to good use via a new book chronicling the Bonspiel’s 125-year history.
Kings of the Rings was completed as the major project for Grassie’s final year of CreComm, and is the result of more than 100 interviews and untold hours spent poring through the Winnipeg Free Press archives. The book was published by Great Plains Publications, with an initial print run of 3,000, though given the level of curling’s popularity in Manitoba — not to mention the Bonspiel’s pending 125th anniversary — Grassie might soon need a second run.
First launched in 1887, the Bonspiel has become a cultural institution in Winnipeg — and remains unparalleled in sport as an event where amateurs might find themselves competing against world champions.
“It’s unlike any other bonspiel you’ll see in the world,” Grassie told the Winnipeg Free Press. “Most bonspiels feature either the really elite teams of the next tier, but the MCA is that rare event that brings together the whole fabric of the curling community — from the world champions to the once-a-week curlers. That’s what attracts me.”
Grassie himself came within one game of winning the entire bonspiel last year — skipping his team all the way to the finals before losing in the last game to a team from Wisconsin.