Call it a happy accident.
Don Neufeld was already in the process of organizing a week-long bonspiel when he realized the Steinbach Curling Club was about to hit a remarkable milestone.
“I had come up with the idea of having a huge bonspiel – probably the largest this town has ever had – but I didn’t realize it was the 75th anniversary of the club,” he says. “So, I wanted to attempt something big.”
The result – an all-ages tournament from Monday, February 6, thru Saturday, February 11. Stick curling will kick off the event, and the women’s and men’s sections will also begin on the Monday. Mixed and seniors curling will start February 8, and the juniors will get their chance over the weekend. Participation will be maxed at 96 teams. Neufeld, the club’s vice president, anticipates interest from the surrounding region as well.
“We have to think about our area,” he explains. “There doesn’t have to be a difference between St. Anne and Steinbach, or Niverville and Steinbach. We should be able to play this sport together.”
The 75-Year Anniversary Bonspiel will inevitably feature some top-quality foursomes, but Neufeld points out that teams of any and every ability are welcome to sign up. Initial games will separate the field into A and B divisions, so curlers will end up playing mostly against comparably-skilled opposition.
“We have a couple really strong teams in Steinbach, but the majority of the curling here is fun curling,” he says. “Socializing is the main thing.”
Naturally, the curling will look rather different than it did three-quarters of a century ago. Neufeld recalls his father’s teams bringing their own rocks to the corner, which they transported to the club in the trunks of their cars.
“Another thing that’s changed a lot is the brooms,” he adds. “We used to use those old straw brooms, and they’ve transformed so drastically through the years that it’s a totally different game.”
The enjoyment of coming together to play a sport, however, hasn’t changed a bit.
On the Friday, curlers will be invited for an evening dinner. Additionally, local sponsors have stepped up to provide $9,900 in prizes, and half the registration fee is being paid back to teams for each win.
Entry is $160 ($100 for stick curlers), and draws begin a 9 a.m., 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Curlers can register at the rink, or by contacting Neufeld directly at (204) 355-7357 and email@example.com. More information is available on the club website.
That happy accident, it turns out, will make for a fun, friendly – and big – curling celebration.
Steinbach Curling Club would like to thank the following sponsors for supporting the 75-Year Anniversary Bonspiel
- Golden West Radio
- Fast Brother LTD
- Canadian Tire
- The Carillon
- Creative Print All
- Crikside Enterprises LTD
- Solomon’s Furniture
- Janzen’s Paint
- Earl’s Meat Market
- Santa Lucia Pizza
- Prairie Oils & Vinegars
- Main Bread & Butter
- Sunshine Greenhouse
- Pic-N-Pay Shoes