Manitoba Scotties takes shape in Killarney

From the snow sculpting on the outside, to the ice on the inside, and everything in between, Killarney’s Shamrock Centre is ready for the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts thanks to a dedicated crew of volunteers…

Brothers sculpt a very big rock for Scotties


It took two brothers two days, and twenty cubic yards of packed snow, to create what is probably the biggest frozen curling rock in the province.

And this stunning piece of ephemeral art is serving as the welcoming icon for hundreds of curlers and players arriving at Killarney’s Shamrock Centre this week, for the similarly packed 2018 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts event, running January 10 to 14.

“It’s a fun job,” said freelance Winnipeg graphic designer Jacques Boulet, who came up with the plan of a logoed Scotties curling rock on a plinth, complete with the four hearts. “The sculpture is made of packed snow, not ice, which is what many people think it is. It’s not for touching, because it can melt, so we put a little fence around it. It’s to enjoy, just by looking at it.”

The glowing form is backdropped by ten Frasier firs, said Jacques’ younger brother Miguel Boulet, who lives locally, and has some impressive expertise in trees. He got started on the project over Christmas, preparing the site in advance for Jacques’ arrival.

“Miguel built a frame, using four-by-eight foot sheets of plywood, and braced them with two-by-sixes,” said Jacques Boulet. “It needs good bracing, because that is a lot of pressure we build up inside that wants to break out.”

Then it was time to fill the box with a massive amount of fresh snow, and squash it into a form.

“I picked up snow, using Pugh’s Sand and Gravel equipment that they loaned to us,” said Miguel Boulet, a company employee. “I got most of it out of the ditches nearby with a backhoe. There is probably 20 yards of cubic snow dropped in there. We packed it in with our boots, probably for an hour.”

And on Sunday morning, January 7, the duo got busy, taking apart the frame, and beginning to carve out and shape their form, using ice scrapers to finally reveal the rock shape.

“We worked yesterday until around 2 p.m., and got back here this morning at around 9:15 a.m.,” said Jacques Boulet on Monday. “We should finish it by the late afternoon, after we get the logo and the hearts on.”

Artist and designer Boulet has been carving out snow sculptures for 20 years at Winnipeg’s popular Festival du Voyageur, he said.

This is his second time doing one in Killarney, after being invited to create a masterpiece for the 2010 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, held at the same Shamrock Centre venue.

TAKING SHAPE – Snow sculpting brothers Miguel and Jacques Boulet started this amazing sculpture (above) on Sunday, and finished it up on Tuesday morning.

THE PERFECT ICE – Killarney Curling Club ice man Rick Johnson (below) runs over the sheets with rocks on Monday night, before several other local curlers took to the ice to test it out. All indications, as seen in the following photos, were that the Shamrock Centre ice was “A” okay and ready for the first draw of the Scotties this Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. The full Scotties draw is available below, after the pictures.


READY TO ROLL WITH THE SCOTTIES – The dynamic local Scotties committee has been working hard to prepare for this week’s Manitoba Women’s Curling Championship, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, taking place in Killarney’s Shamrock Centre from January 10 to 14. Back row (from left): Leonard Shackel, Craig McKinstry, Russell Shackel, Ron Stewart, Dwight King, Chris Hunt, Dan Dagg, Derek McGill, Jim Dowsett, Ian Witherspoon, Meghan Cuvelier-Klassen, and Deb Collyer. Middle row: Bonnie McKinstry, Debbie Jones, Shirley Highfield, Gail McFarlane, Laurie Campbell, Pat Hay, Wendy Johnston, Cherie High, Pat Gibson, and Kayla Urquhart. Front row: Marilyn Lamb, Linda Cox, Connie Krowchuk, Wendy Shackel, Carol Morrison, Lori Cuvelier, Ronalee Wood, and Becke McMullin. Seated: Co-chairs Donna Dowsett, Elaine Hunt, and Gwen Tripp. Missing are: Sheila Hagyard, Brett Skeoch, Jackie McGill, Bob Pineo, and Heather Hiebert.


Killarney Scotties Tournament of Hearts Draw: