TRURO - It's been 19 years for Peter Burgess.
© Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News
Truro's Peter Burgess, front, mate Craig Burgess, second Jared Bent and lead Todd Burgess are competing at the Tankard provincial men's curling championship Wednesday to Sunday at Halifax Curling Club. The foursome, coached by Jim Burgess, feels it has a chance to earn a title and book a trip to the Brier national championship next month.
The Truro Curling Club skip has been chasing a Tankard provincial men's curling crown for nearly half his life and the desire to finally earn a trip to the Tim Horton's Brier national championship still burns as intense as ever.
"It's the competition of it," the 41-year-old Truro resident said. "Playing against the top teams and trying to make the shots and the strategy and the competition is what it's about."
And oh yeah, there's that chance to represent your province in one of the most popular sporting events in Canada on national television.
"It's always been a big prize but it's become more so as the sport has changed, as the Olympics have come in," Burgess said. "So to get there is really what every curler wants to do and it would be nice to get there someday."
The quest to do so for Burgess, along with his bothers Craig (mate) and Todd (lead) and second Jared Bent, starts Wednesday at Halifax Curling Club.
On the line at the five-day event is a trip to the Brier March 1 to 9 in Kamloops, B.C.
Craig, who has competed at the Brier four times, said it would be special to get back there with his brothers, with whom he's been playing with for the past five years, and his father Jim, who is coaching the foursome.
"They've been to a Brier to watch but playing in a Brier is certainly a different experience and a fun experience and it would be nice," Craig, a 45-year-old Hilden resident, said. "And bringing dad as coach would be special."
But first, there's a Tankard to win and there are seven other teams standing in the way, all of which want that Brier spot just as bad. Burgess will have to get through Mayflower's Mark Kehoe, Tom Sullivan, John Luckhurst, Mark Dacey and Chad Stevens and Lakeshore's Jamie Murphy, the 2012 champ, and Ian Fitzner-LeBlanc, who was mate on Paul Flemming's title-winning foursome a year ago in Truro.
"There's probably seven pretty good teams and a darkhorse and I would say depending on ice conditions, any of those seven would have a legitimate shot," Peter said. "If there's a lot of curl in the ice I think we have a better than decent shot but it's really wide open. If we're all playing well, we're going to be tough to beat but we have to go out and do that."
And the Truro foursome also has to make sure it capitalizes on the opportunities that arise and not let teams off the hook for their mistakes.
"You really have to clamp down and take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves," Craig said.
That lesson was learned at last year's Tankard on home ice when Burgess lost a game he had control of early in the event. In the end the loss ended up costing him a more favourable matchup in the playoff round which could have helped the group get further than a quarter-final loss to Dacey.
Burgess earned his Tankard spot at a last-chance qualifier earlier this month at Windsor Curling Club. Burgess started the three-day event with a pair of losses before reeling off three consecutive victories, edging Flemming 5-4 in the final.
Craig said the group feels good about the way it's playing heading into the Tankard.
"We played solid and there was still room for improvement so if we can continue that we will be a tough team to beat," he said.
On Twitter: @tdnmatt
Curling highlights: 2008 provincial mixed champion, 2008 Canadian mixed bronze medalist, 1991 N.S. Canada Games Representative.
Tankard experience: 19th Tankard appearance; two-time runner-up, four-time final four.
Curling highlights: 1985 Nova Scotia junior champion, 1987 New Brunswick junior champion and 1987 Canadian junior champion, 1988 World junior curling champion, 1990 New Brunswick mixed champion, 1990 and 2005 Brier runner-up.
Tankard experience: 24rd provincial men's championship appearance (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), four-time champion (1990 N.B., 1995, 2002, 2005 N.S.), six-time runner-up.
Curling highlights: 2003 Junior men's provincial champion, 2011 Tankard final four.
Tankard experience: Six appearances.
Curling highlights: 1985 provincial junior winner, B.C. provincial mixed finalist, 2006-07 Johnson Cup winner.
Tankard experience: Three N.B. Tankard appearances, six N.S. Tankard appearances