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Coming January 27-29, 2023 Jim Osbakken Memorial Bonspiel

Submitted by Rick Osbakken

The Jim Osbakken Memorial Open Bonspiel has been going on since Jim’s passing in 2008.

For those that did not know Jim Osbakken we will share a few things:

Jim was one of the Original Founders of the THCC. The group decided to form a Curling Club in Two Harbors after curling in Duluth for a few years. They started by flooding an old warehouse down near the ore docks and taking up the game. Only a year or two later, Jim was instrumental in building the old 3 Sheet curling club on Hwy 2 and 20th Avenue in the late 60’s. He (and many other founders) put their blood, sweat and tears into that build- ing creating one of the coziest curling clubs in Northern Minnesota.

They hosted several events and had over a dozen teams come down from Canada to join the USA teams for the Two Harbors Men’s International Bonspiel. Curling was played around the clock as there were so many teams for every 3 day event with only 3 sheets of ice. In 1970 Jim was Vice Skip on the Halden Rink, which was first Two Harbors Curling Club team to represent Minnesota at Men’s National Curling Championship. They represented Minnesota again at Men’s Nationals in 1974.

Almost immediately after he started curling he got his wife, Val, into the sport where they teamed up with Ron and Carol Gervais in league play. Having the competitive side they even represented Minnesota at the Mixed National Championships 3 times thru the 70’s.

Aside of competitive curling, he spent many weekends bonspieling at other clubs. During those events he encouraged many teams from other clubs to support our THCC bonspiels. That was huge in keeping our club financially secure as he brought many teams up to Two Harbors which filled ALL our Bonspiels.

Honestly as much as he liked Competitive Curling and Bonspiels, league play was his passion. He brought in many new curlers to his team over the years and encouraged others to do the same as he felt it was another great way to grow the sport. Back in the day he curled 2-3 nights in Two Harbors the went to Duluth on Wednesday for the Competitive Pepsi Super League.

Unfortunately, during the 1991 Halloween snow storm we lost our little 3 sheet club to a fire. Due to the snow there was no saving it. Fortunately, our club was strong and between insurance and the members volunteering, a new state of the art facility was built at the golf course.

Jim continued to curl however his health started to fail. He went to one night a week and only did Bonspiels in Two Harbors and Grand Marais. When he was losing his eye- sight there still was no stopping him. He had bright DeWalt flashlight that replaced his skips broom to aim at. He slid out in the tuck at that light and continued to make great shots.

There is no question he was one of the most passionate players of the sport, he loved to teach the game and left a legacy behind. His children, grandchild and great grandchildren are curling leagues, bonspiels, and even competitive curling at the National Level. None of that would have been possible without the support of Jim, their Dad, Grandpa and Great Grandpa.

Long time curling friend who has attended the Jim Osbakken Memorial Open Bonspiel every year, Doug Cameron, spoke many good words during past Memorial Bonspiels. He has concluded by stating over all the years he curled, Jim was always a “class act” and nam- ing a Bonspiel after “Jim Osbakken” was not a surprise to him as it is well deserved.

We would like to thank the THCC for all their work to hold this Bonspiel and all the teams that show up every year. A special thanks to those from Duluth, Superior and Grand Marias that have had several teams EVERY year.

Registration is open at twoharborscurling.com for the event to be held January 27-29, 2023.

Bring your league team; your senior team; your competitive team; your family team; or just throw a team together, as that is the way Jim would have wanted it!

Thanks again! Good Curling!

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