Wayne Tallon took a long-awaited step to the top level of the podium at a Canadian curling championship on Sunday.
A three-time national runner-up (2000 Brier, 2008 and 2009 seniors, all with Russ Howard), the 56-year-old Tallon and his New Brunswick teammates rolled to an 11-3 win over Ontario's Howard Rajala in the men's gold-medal game at the Canadian senior curling championships "I don't think it's sunk in yet, but it certainly feels good," said Tallon after the final. "To finally break the ice here is great. I'm no longer a national bridesmaid."
In the women's final, Nova Scotia's Colleen Pinkney claimed her second Canadian championship, scoring a four in the ninth end to beat Alberta's Deb Santos 7-6.
Tallon sailed through the round robin with a 10-1 record to clinch a berth in the final, and they didn't slow down in the gold-medal game.
New Brunswick opened the scoring with a deuce in the second, a steal of one in the third and a crushing steal of three in the fourth against the Ontario champs from the Rideau Curling Club in Ottawa.
"We really felt comfortable," Tallon said. "We had a good practice (on Saturday) and this morning, we came out and had a good pre-game practice, and I asked the boys, 'How are you feeling?' They all said they were feeling great, let's go. And my boys never missed a shot. They played great."
Tallon will represent Canada at the 2014 world senior curling championships.
Alberta's Wade White took the bronze medal.
Pinkney's victory wasn't assured until her team made a series of come-arounds behind a centre guard, eventually leaving the skip with a draw to score four in the ninth to turn around a game that she'd been trailing 5-3 after an Alberta deuce in the eighth end.
"I'm a little bit in shock but I really feel the curling gods were with us," said the 56-year-old Pinkney, whose team was 10-1 in the round robin to earn the bye to Sunday's final. "The first eight ends, we just weren't in our rhythm at all and the other teams was just playing super. To come back and win it in the last two ends, I'm still in shock. But we're absolutely thrilled and very excited."
Pinkney will get a chance to add to the 2010 world title she won in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
"We did it before, and we did manage to win the gold medal in Russia, she said. "So we have some experience with that feeling. We have a whole year to prepare, which I think is wonderful. We're just gobble up all the help and advice we can get." Manitoba's Lois Fowler won the bronze.
The 2014 Canadian Senior Championships are scheduled for March 22-30 in Yellowknife.