Sundre Curling Club wraps up successful season

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The Sundre Curling Club is a great organization with a fantastic rink that makes available to the community an affordable and fun leisure activity for all ages, said the group’s president.

“I inherited a really strong board and a nice facility,” said Steven Brigden, who became club president for a two-year term following last year’s April annual general meeting.

“It’s a really great organization to be a part of,” he said.

Brigden told the Round Up last week his first year as president has gone really well, but took little credit for himself. Past president Kevin Humphrey has offered plenty of support along the way, and other volunteers also play crucial roles to ensure curling remains a Sundre staple. For example, the president said the club is very fortunate to have a committed caretaker, Dale Phillips.

“He’s been there about 24 years,” said Brigden, adding Phillips’s son Travis has also been involved in maintaining quality sheets for local as well as visiting curlers.

“We have some of the best ice.”

The numbers of leagues and curlers this year were relatively on par with recent seasons. However, the club is always looking to welcome new members, he said.

“Our leagues are all doing well, but we’ve always got room for more curlers.”

There are several active club leagues: women’s, men’s, seniors’, mixed as well as a junior curling program. Even the Sundre High School, through its physical education department, has an agreement to use the Sundre curling rink, he said.

“But we’re always looking for more teams.”

Aside from providing a physical activity that does not demand arduous exertion, curling also represents an affordable form of entertainment that won’t break the bank, he said.

Teams get the chance to play once a week until their league’s final bonspiel. The season ends with the annual open bonspiel, which was started during the last week in March and wrapped up on Sunday, April 2. This year, 30 teams participated in the family-friendly event, which has a capacity for 32 teams, he said.

“Almost full is pretty good!”

There were rinks that came to play from all over Alberta as well as neighbouring provinces. Some of the youngest players were in high school, while local veteran curler Vair Whitlow attended the bonspiel for his 57th year, said Brigden, adding the club was happy with this year’s turnout.

Looking to the horizon, Brigden said the club hopes to again host its annual Rockin’ the Rink season startup fundraiser in the fall, with league play resuming by early November.

In terms of major projects or renovations, the facility’s ice plant and lobby were redone about two years ago, so the club hopes to be finished with such big expenses for the foreseeable future. However, basic building maintenance is always ongoing, he said.

During the off-season, the curling rink is a venue that becomes available for rent to the public or other organizations, and the facility does not sit idly unused the whole summer. For example, the weekly Sundre Farmers’ Market will soon be resuming, he said.

“It’s nice to keep it (the building) open and being used.”

The more the facility is actively occupied, the easier it is to maintain, he said.

Visit www.sundrecurlingclub.com for additional information about the club, including contacts for the executive as well as upcoming events.

“It’s updated regularly.”

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Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel is the editor of the Sundre Round Up and a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.