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Special Olympic curlers use Regina bonspiel as tune-up for provincials

WATCH: Curlers take to the ice in Regina as athletes compete at the 5th annual Curl Regina Special Olympics Bonspiel – a tune-up for provincials next month.

Camaraderie and competition are front and centre at the Callie Curling Club in Regina this weekend.

The rink is hosting more teams than ever during the 5th annual Curl Regina Special Olympics Bonspiel.

And for five years running, this date has been circled on Daniel Fiedelluck’s calendar.

“I love curling,” Fiedelluck said.

READ MORE: Lace them up: Waskimo hosting public skating on Wascana Lake in Regina

“[It’s] exciting, to meet new people and stuff like that — so yeah it’s good.”

Fiedelluck is the skip for Melfort.

“I mainly skip because I don’t have to do much, just sweep some. I kind of watch the lines and so on,” Fiedelluck said.

The event has grown to 13 teams this year — including seven from Manitoba.

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“Our top team had got beat by Manitoba and they thought that was just like winning the Grey Cup or the Super Bowl,” said Brian Kjelshus, the Melfort coach.

It’s a rivalry that has been taken quite seriously over the years.

“I had my Rider jersey on first thing this morning because it’s the Bombers vs. the Riders — that’s what they think,” said Darlene MacQuarrie, Special Olympics Sask. programs director.

This weekend’s bonspiel acts as a tune-up for next month’s provincials, which provide the chance to qualify for nationals.

READ MORE: 99-year-old curler sweeps away competition in Moose Jaw, Sask.

It’s a level Fiedelluck has had success at.

“Yeah, I got a gold medal from Corner Brook, N.L.,” Fiedelluck said.

And while a palpable competitive edge takes hold on the ice, a much stronger sense of camaraderie is felt off it.

“They make friends for life,” Kjelshus said.

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