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Lacombe Curling Club gearing up for upcoming bonspiels

A busy schedule continues for the Lacombe Curling Club with several bonspiels slated to run over the next few months.

First up is the Farmers’ Bonspiel – Men’s and Ladies’ Division running from Jan. 9-14, followed by the Ladies’ Bonspiel Feb. 3-5 and the Rod Oberg Memorial Men’s Bonspiel from Feb. 24 to Feb. 26.

The Mixed Bonspiel runs March 10-12 followed by the Stick/Sturling Bonspiel on March 18.

The Farmers’ Bonspiel – Men’s and Ladies’ Division has a lengthy history in the community, going back 75 years, said Grant Kamps, president of the Club’s board of directors.

“We are trying to run 48 men’s teams and 12 ladies’ teams. Last year, with the restrictions, we had 32 men’s teams and eight ladies’ teams,” he said.

“So we are trying to get back to the 48 and 12 team numbers,” he said, adding that the event receives excellent community backing as well. Local business people are happy to offer support time and again, he said.

“Everybody wants to be a part of it,” he said. “There is really great support for it from the community.”

Other highlights over the course of the event include lunches, suppers plus a special banquet and dance to round out the event.

“It’s a great week and you just can’t go wrong to join in,” he said, adding that organizers are on the lookout for more individual entries, too. “We do need more players, and would invite them to contact us here at the Club,” he said, adding that you don’t have to be a pro to take part.

“It’s also about socializing with those that you do business with from the city – it’s about the camaraderie as well.”

As to the other weekend bonspiels, they typically attract between 24 and 32 teams.

The Rod Oberg Memorial Men’s Bonspiel was named in honour of a man who both managed the club and made the ice for the better part of a decade, said Kamps.

“He was our ice-maker, and he and his wife managed the club – they did everything,” said Kamps of the dedicated community member and volunteer, who passed away in 2012.

According to the Club’s website, curling has a long-standing and rich history in Lacombe.

In 1900, the first covered rink was built by T. Cummings.

“In 1903 a larger facility was built primarily for skating and hockey with a lean-to off the main ice to house two sheets of curling ice,” notes the website. “From the bleachers, spectators could watch hockey in one direction and simply turn around to watch the action on the curling ice in the other,” notes the website.

This facility burned down in 1911 and for two winters all ice activities took place on an open-air rink where the Lest-We-Forget park is located.

The Lacombe Curling Club was then founded in 1920 and built new quarters immediately south across 49th Ave. The first Lacombe Farmers Bonspiel was held there in 1944 and continues to be a curling highlight each year.

As the website also pointed out, curling has also helped to bring the community together through the years.

“It was a place to gather with friends and it gave light to the dark, cold winter months. Curling provided Lacombe with a sense of community and has a long tradition to uphold. “

For his part, Kamps has been on the Club’s board for at least 25 years.

“I was president for five or six years – then I was past-president, then it was back to being a director and now I’m back to being president and have been so for the past two seasons,” he explained.

Not surprisingly, he is also an avid curler, adding that he’s been curling for about 30 years now.

“It’s a great social time – it’s a team sport where you can get together with the guys and just have some fun and visiting,” he said, adding that the Club also runs what’s known as a Blindman’s League on Tuesday evenings that is geared to those wanting to further explore the sport.

“It’s sponsored in part by Blindman Brewing here in town. It goes for six weeks, and you only play six end games. Each week, they get a free mug of different Blindman beer after the game as well. It’s a really good way to learn the game – it’s just for fun.

“I think we are running six teams in that right now, and it goes until Christmas. In January, we will start a new league that will also go for another six weeks,” he said.

“It’s a really good learning experience.”

To register for the above bonspiels, or for more information about the Lacombe Curling Club, contact the office at 403-782-6277, visit www.lacombecurling.com or email lacombecurling@gmail.com. You can also find them on Facebook.

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