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Ready to rock

City man on curling rink that has already qualified for provincials

Tobin Senum wasn't even going to play.

A phone call changed that. Now, he has to start practicing, because his team is heading to the men's provincial curling championship.

Senum, who grew up in Prince George and now lives in Kamloops, was part of the winning rink at a provincial qualifier in Kamloops on the weekend. He threw third stones on a team skipped by Aron Herrick.

In the 16-rink bonspiel, Herrick's crew went a perfect 4-0 and wrapped up a berth in the B.C. finals, Feb. 7-13 in Vernon.

"We played pretty solid for the four games that we played," said the 41-year-old Senum, who spent countless hours at the Prince George Golf and Curling Club in his formative years.

"They phoned me about two weeks ago and asked me if I was playing (in the qualifier)," he added with a laugh. "I said I didn't really have any plans on playing and they said, 'Why don't you come curl with us?' and I said, 'I'm in.'"

Herrick lives in Vernon but used to reside in Kamloops.

"He curled with Jimmy Cotter and he curled with Scott Decap," Senum said. "I'd curled against him, never with him. Aron's a heck of a curler and the other two guys on the team, the front-end guys (second Marc Fillion and lead Jason Wizniak), they played as good as you could play, really."

Herrick started off with a 9-8, extra-end win against Kimberley's Tom Buchy and then dumped Prince George's Michael Dahms 11-4 in eight ends. Next, Herrick knocked off John Pierce of Smithers 8-4 and took down Brent Yamada of Kamloops 10-7.

"We were just making shots," said Senum, who has been tossing stones in the Kamloops Super League this season and has also attended a couple of cashspiels. "We didn't really mix it up with a whole lot of teams. We didn't miss much."

Senum moved to Kamloops in 1990 to take a job as an assistant golf professional at Rivershore Golf Course. These days, he's a commercial insurance broker for HUB International Barton.

With provincials on the horizon, Senum will now try to schedule some trips to Vernon so he can squeeze in some playing time with Herrick, Fillion and Wizniak. Senum said the four of them have every reason to believe they can be competitive at the B.C. finals. If they win, they will advance to the Tim Hortons Brier national championship, March 5-13 in London, Ont.

The fact provincials will be held in Vernon should benefit Team Herrick.

"The three of them curl with Jimmy Cotter in the Super League there so they're obviously familiar with the ice," Senum said. "They play at the Vernon Curling Club all winter."

The last time Senum was at a B.C. curling championship, he was a junior-aged player at the PGGCC.

"That was 20-something years ago," he said with a laugh. "This is the first time (at the men's provincials) for me. Aron has been there a couple of times with Cotter. I think he was the fifth man on Cotter's team when they went to the Brier a couple years ago so he has tasted the Brier thing."

The Darin Heath rink of Vernon also used the weekend bonspiel to move on to provincials. A second provincial qualifier will be held Jan. 14-16 in Prince George.