"It's a dream come true."
That is how Delores Syrota of Elfros reacted upon the question of how being a Canadian champion felt.
Syrota and her curling foursome of Bev Krasowski, Donna Liebrecht and Sylvia Broad won the Canadian Masters on April 9.
The club representing Wadena defeated Ontario 11-1 in the final to capture the event for curlers age 60 and over.
After going unbeaten in the round robin in pool play, the crossover started out slower for Syrota's rink, as they dropped their first two games.
It was their next game against Manitoba that counted the most and was the turning point.
"Even though we had such a good record, we were still on the bubble. If we lost that last game, we weren't in it, even though we carried over 5-0 from the pool, if we had lost that game, we would have been out of the playoffs."
They edged Manitoba 4-3 in that game to earn a semi-final rematch against the same team, which they won 9-3.
On Wednesday night, with around 100 people in attendance, Syrota and her rink were celebrated at the Wadena Curling Club.
In a statement she read to the crowd and repeated afterwards, Syrota says that small town Saskatchewan pulled through with support.
"When it's small communities, it really brings them together and everybody is interested in what you are doing," she noted. "In bigger centres, there is a lot more activity and different sports going on, but when it is happening in a small community, it is the event."
She added that they would go back to their hotel rooms each night and see all the support they had through messages.
The first welcome back celebration for the team was in Wynyard, where Syrota connected the dots from her time spent as a teacher.
"When I was teaching in Wynyard for years, I always told the kids, what sport can you go to a national when you are 60 years old," she explained. "When they had the welcome back in Wynyard, there was a few kids there that I had taught, and they said about being 60 in a national championship, 'you just proved it'."
Syrota has been curling with lead Sylvia Broad for 18 years, and added third Bev Krasowski around 11 years ago.
She says that although they have had much success together, winning provincial senior championships and now the national title, it is all about the friendships made.
"It's a lifelong sport and it is the people you meet along the way that is the reward," said Syrota. "It's great to win the game and the medals, but you can go into any small town in Saskatchewan and connect with somebody because you met them curling."
At the celebration on Wednesday in Wadena, Mayor Greg Linnen and MLA Hugh Nerlien shared their appreciation for the rink.
Dustin Mikush, a young curler from the community who has had his own success served as the MC for the event.
Syrota took the time to share that Mikush was accepted into the University of Alberta and will be curling on their 'A' team.