Curlers have been playing out of the Bow Island rink for close to 70 years and now well into the 2019 season, have seen an increase in players with a strong feeder system from the junior program.
There are 82 members at the club this year, with 18 being after school junior curlers. The men’s league has 12 teams and the mixed has 10 teams.
“The general consensus is that of the smaller town clubs around, we’re happy with what we’ve got for teams,” said club vice-president Shane Lane, who has been on the board for 21 years.
“We could have a lot less. There are some smaller towns that have been losing curlers and in fact there are a few (curling rinks) that won’t be able to run because of cost. So far, we’ve been managing to work with the Ag Society in Bow Island.”
Lane’s wife, Tina, took over the junior program five years ago and through the word of mouth in the junior high and high schools were able to get kids to participate.
“They’ve said it’s a lot of fun. (They) come out after school on Thursdays and trying it,” said Lane.
“There’s only 18 kids but of the 18, a lot of them are new kids that are very interested and continue coming.”
A junior bonspiel will be held at the end of March, which attracted 90 players to last year’s event.
What has made the sport more affordable for the players to come out is the lower overhead costs compared to the cities for fees.
“Alot of our board members, they’re not from this area, they’re from Seven Persons,” he said.
“We attracted them from Seven Persons because we’re a tight club. We’re all like friends in there.”
What has worked for the over the last seven years has been pushing the start time from November to December due to attendance, to allow for the board to have more time to plan events and get the ice right.
“If you have good ice, people and a good atmosphere, that’s the whole key to the club,” he said.
Bonspiels are annual events at the curling club, but one thing the board hopes to get off the ground starting next year is doubles or couples curling, which has been tried but has not attracted enough players to make it a full on event yet.
Lane says “I should be able to see that curling club keep going until I can’t curl anymore.”
“I’d like to see it go until my kids can’t see it go.”