Rannie MacLellan’s family members gather for a final photo after making the decision that the 16th Annual Rannie MacLellan Memorial bonspiel would be the last. Taking part in Saturday’s opening ceremony are, from left: Geraldine Gillis, Bernie MacLellan, Theresa MacLellan, Raymond MacLellan, Willena MacQuarrie, Kaye MacIsaac, Cameron MacLellan, Francis MacLellan, Donald MacLellan, Rose MacDonald, and Margie Wiswell.
-by Bill Dunphy
After 16 years as a spectator with a front row seat at the curling bonspiel that bears his name, Rannie MacLellan will have to find another way to keep tabs on his family and friends in March.
Friday and Saturday at the Dr. Bernie MacLean Cultural and Recreation Centre marked the end of an era with the 16th Annual Rannie MacLellan Memorial bonspiel being declared the last one.
The close-knit family made the decision together before planning the final event.
“It was a difficult decision to make...it wasn’t easy at all,” said Rannie’s brother Francis. “Donald getting hurt last year was a big factor (and) none of us are getting younger.”
Another brother, Donald slipped and fell at last year’s bonspiel, breaking his collarbone and missing half of the lobster-fishing season.
Also playing a role in the decision was the shutdown of the Inverness Curling Club in recent years.
“It was getting tougher and tougher to get teams,” said MacLellan, noting that some family members are now living out west and unable to make it every year.
MacLellan said even though the bonspiel has run its course, it will always be remembered as a source of good times at the end of a long winter.
“My memory will be the fun of it and the laughter. Every time, from the very beginning to now, it was all about the fun and the laughter.”
Rannie’s aunt, Kaye MacIsaac, was on hand to call the shot for the first rock during Saturday’s opening ceremony. Francis threw the rock and it was swept to the button by Cameron, Donald, and Raymond.
A moment of silence was held in memory of Rannie and the curlers sang O Canada.
And when the last rock was thrown on Saturday, March 17, 2018, the Edward Ryan rink laid claim to the 16th Annual Rannie MacLellan Memorial curling bonspiel.
Rumour has it that a toast or two might have been held in Rannie’s memory afterwards.
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