The Royal City Curling Club kids were more than all right at the B.C. men's provincial championships in Parksville.
Former provincial junior men's champion Andrew Bilesky won his first-ever trip to the men's Brier, knocking off former world champion and club-mate Brent Pierce 7-4 in the championship final on Sunday.
Leading 5-3 in the eighth end, the 29-year-old skip was faced with three Pierce rocks in the house and drew past the guards with perfect weight to sit shot rock.
"That was the shot we'd been playing all week. It's the shot you have to make," said Bilesky. "That was the end they were looking for - a momentum changer - and it set the tone we weren't going to let up."
The single in the eighth gave Bilesky a 6-3 lead. Both skips scored a further single with the hammer in the 10-ender.
"It's awesome. It's what you play for since you were a juvenile and junior curler," said Bilesky. "It takes a long time. I started when I was nine."
With the win, the first-time men's champion will head off to the Brier in Edmonton from March 2 to 10.
The Bilesky rink of 25year-old third Steve Kopf, second Derek Errington, 24, and lead Aaron Watson, the old man of the foursome at 32, has been together for two years and has been working hard to make a breakthrough.
"There is no other team in B.C. that works harder than us," Bilesky said, adding a provincial men's title to his resume is special.
"(A junior title) doesn't compare. It's huge, and the team is really happy," he said. Bilesky met 2009 B.C. champ Sean Geall in the A final, but gave up four in the eighth end.
In the B final and leading 6-4 against Pierce, Bilesky surrendered three in the 10th end.
He got a third shot at a qualifying spot in one of two C finals, hanging on for a 9-8 win over another clubmate Jay Wakefield to move on to the four-team playoff.
In the quarter-final, Bilesky defeated Tom Buchy of Kimberley 8-3, opening with steals in the second and third ends.
Bilesky then avenged his A final loss to Geall, scoring four in the second and two in the ninth to advance to the championship final with a 7-4 victory.
The Bilesky rink was solid in the semi-final and final, averaging in the high 80 per cent as a team.
"We played with confidence. We knew we could beat them. Going into it, we just went out and did what we know how to do, and the results came our way," said Bilesky.
"We got early leads, and our strengths are we're a good hitting team - keeping it simple and peeling away - giving up two shots at most," he added.
The Geall rink of third Jay Peachy, B.C. champion skip in 2004, second Sebastien Robillard and lead Mark Olson, raced to the A-event final with a 6-5 steal in the 11th end against Pierce.
The Pierce foursome, including third Jeff Richard, second Kevin Recksiedler and lead Grant Dezura, then defeated Geall in the playoff quarter-final 84, thanks to a four in the pivotal fifth end.
But the Brier is a bigger stage and one where B.C. champions have not had a lot of success.
In fact, B.C. teams have won on just four separate occasions since the Second World War cancelled the Canadian men's championships.
The last team from the West Coast to win a Brier was Greg McAuley, Pierce, Bryan Miki and Jody Sveistrup in 2000.
Bilesky and first-time Saskatchewan skip Brock Virtue will be up against a host of former championships at next month's Brier, including defending Canadian champion Glenn Howard of Ontario.
Jeff Stoughton of Manitoba - the 2011 Brier champ - and 2006 Olympic gold-medal champion Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador will be joined by three-time Brier titlist Kevin Martin of Alberta when the competition gets underway on March 2 at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
"We're going to take it one shot at a time and see what we can do," said Bilesky.
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