Published DateCONWAY — The Mount Washington Valley Curling Club is hosting its first ever bonspiel (curling tournament) this weekend, with 16 teams taking the ice at Ham Arena.
The tournament got under way Friday and continues through Sunday.
Read More”We’re really looking forward to it,” Pat Kittle, president of MWV Curling Club, said. “A lot of people have put in a lot of time and effort to make this happen.”
Read MoreThere are 16 teams competing: three from Woodstock, Vt.; two from Belfast, Maine; two from Cape Cod; one from Nashua; one from Norfolk, Conn.; one from Schenectady, N.Y.; one from Plainfield, N.J.; one combination team from Plainfield, Chicago, and Detroit; one from Rutland, Vt.; and three from the host MWV club. According to Kittle, one of the Cape Cod teams is a wheelchair team.
Curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice toward a target area. Two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding heavy (weighing between 38 to 44 pounds), polished granite stones, also called “rocks,” across the ice curling sheet toward the house, a circular target marked on the ice. Each team has eight stones. The goal is to accumulate the highest score for a game, points being scored for the stones resting closest to the center of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game may consist of eight to 10 ends.
The first draw of the bonspiel was Friday (a draw is like a round). Saturday there will be curling all day from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.; then on Sunday, the finals will start at 9 a.m. and end a little after 11 a.m.
Kittle said the club is planning on having a bagpiper pipe the finalists onto the ice Sunday morning, and will have the traditional curler’s toast with drambuie prior to the finals beginning.
Cost per team to participate is $360, and each team is guaranteed a minimum of three matches. There is a banquet Saturday night at the Red Jacket Resort for all of the players.
“We have a number of local businesses, besides the Red Jacket, that have helped to make this bonspiel possible,” Kittle said. “Almost There Tavern is donating food for the Friday evening meal at the Ham Arena; Varsity Beverage is donating soda and water; Hannaford is donating soda and other snacks; White Mountain Oil and the Tea Ticket Locksmith have sponsored the production of the bonspiel T-shirts; Sherman Farm is donating Kettle Korn; Settlers’ Green has donated coupon books; and Mt. Washington Graph FX donated logo bags for the team ‘goody bags’.
“It will take about 200 man-hours of volunteer time by our club members to pull off this bonspiel,” Kittle continued. “The volunteers will include three-man crews assigned to maintain and prep the ice for competition; greeters; two roving ambassadors to answer questions about curling and the bonspiel that any spectators may have.”
The sport has sizzled on the Ham Arena ice since its creation a little over a year and a half ago. Forty-four beginners took to the ice last year for the inaugural learn-to-curl night, and, while there was some initial slipping and sliding, all were hooked on the sport by the end of the evening.
This fall the club will be running two free open-house events to get people on the ice and exposed to the sport. The first is the weekend after the bonspiel, Saturday Sept. 29, at 6 and 7 p.m., to try to immediately capitalize on any interest generated by the bonspiel. The second is Saturday, Oct. 13, again at 6 and 7 p.m. (skipping Columbus Day and Fryeburg Fair weekend).
Cost for memberships to the MWV Curling Club varies. A full membership is $120 for people who want to curl weekly. A trial membership is $60, which entitles a player to curl the first half of the season to see if he or she likes it. A third option is a social membership, which costs $75 and allows a player to take to the sheet two times a month. A $15 fee is charged each week for ice time.
For updates, call the Ham Ice Arena at 447-5886 or go to the MWV Curling Club on Facebook.