Bonspiels are held just about year-round at curling clubs everywhere. Not only are they a great way to improve at curling, but one can truly experience the sportsmanship of the game. Bonspiels are as much about everything that happens outside the games, as playing the games themselves. They are a great way to meet new friends, often from different parts of the country. It is a great idea to attend a bonspiel, even for an inexperienced team. There are occasionally lopsided games where a newer team is outmatched — but these games are the best times to learn. The more experienced team, if asked, will always give the newer team pointers on how to improve their skills — often during the match!
Like tournaments in any sport, they vary in size and level of competition. They can be as small as 8 teams or have over one hundred entries. The Olympics, national championships and world championships are all bonspiels.
While many bonspiels are open to teams made up of any 4 players, many also categorize teams to balance competition. There are men’s, women’s, mixed, juniors and seniors teams. Some are specifically for college teams, stick users or even wheelchair curlers. When teams become really good, they may even enter cashspiels to compete for cash prizes.