By Joel van der Veen
ELBOW — Their victories put Elbow on the map for a generation of curling fans.
A trio of brothers — Art, Elmer and Gay Knutson — and skip Doug Wankel made headlines in February 1967 when they claimed the provincial men’s curling title with a win over Harold Worth’s rink from Saskatoon.
Though Elbow was then in its boom years — its population had grown from 281 in 1956 to 470 a decade later, thanks to dam construction on the South Saskatchewan River — the Wankel rink was still widely seen as a long shot.
“They were the underdogs,” recalled Ernie Richardson, who skipped his own rink to four Brier wins between 1959 and 1963.
The Tankard win took Art Knutson and his teammates to the Brier, where they competed admirably, ultimately falling short of the national title.
But as friends and family recalled recently, that was merely one accomplishment in a life filled with them.
Art, who died in May at age 92, went from a Saskatchewan farm to the wartime skies over Europe, serving as a Lancaster tailgunner in the final months of the Second World War.
He was an accomplished curler who competed on the provincial and national stage for decades, as well as a dedicated husband and father.
“Anything he did, he excelled at,” said Art’s son Pat, who works for a printing company in Altona, Man.
Richardson, who grew up in Stoughton, said he met Art in the 1960s and felt a connection with the small-town curler. They remained in touch for decades, meeting up for an occasional round of golf.
“He was the kind of guy you couldn’t help but like,” Richardson told the Leader. “He never forgot where he came from.”
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