Sparked by rumours and the folding of the Chetwynd curling club last year, there was potential for the curling rinks to get turned into a bowling alley here in Tumbler Ridge, if the curling club was hurting.
However, Jenna McQueen, board president for the curling club says, “It doesn’t seem like we’re going anywhere.”
She explains for the last five years or so the adult club has been at between 70-75 members and not getting any smaller. As for the juniors, participation is growing. McQueen says with a smile, “Our junior curling club has grown in the past five years. We went from seven to about eight or nine and then 12 and this year we have 17 members. We work with the school district and have about 70-75 kids from the elementary school come in and do a month of curling and then 80 kids from the secondary school do a month of curling.”
This exposure is sparking an interest in the younger generation and despite the rumours, the curling club lives on.
The club offers different leagues including men’s, ladies and mixed league, as well as junior programming.
“At the end of year last year we adopted a family bonspiel that turned out really good. We had about eight different families, so this year we will continue on with that. We also do two bonspiels a year where we invite Chetwynd, and all the surrounding areas to come out.”
This year, the club also partook in the Sweep and Swing event sponsored by the Tumbler Ridge golf course. A day filled with curling, golf and fun for anyone over 13 years old.
Mayor Wren comments, “Council heard different things and we had thought what would we do with this space if this fails. The Chetwynd curling club, they ceased. It is really encouraging and it sounds like it is picking up [in Tumbler Ridge].”
“We are getting more junior curlers every day, it’s promising,” adds McQueen.
Something really exciting is also in the works for the club – a visit from a decorated Canadian curler.
Wren explains, “At the UBCM, Councillor McPherson and I were doing a round together at the trade show. Fortis Energy had a booth it was all coincidental. We got introduced to this individual and her name is Georgina Wheatcroft. She was an Olympic medalist in curling in 1992 and a member of the world championship team. We talked to her, and she is willing to come to Tumbler Ridge to do a clinic with our curling club. We talked about this issue with the curling clubs, as it is something that is happening everywhere.”
Grasping her hands in front of her chest and smiling from ear to ear, McQueen answers, “We would be so excited for this!”
Wren says he will contact her and keep the ball rolling. “Get some exposure to the sport and hopefully it can continue to grow,” adds Wren.
McQueen concludes, “Thank you to the council for support over last 20 plus years of our committee being here. As many of you already know without our community support and our members we would not be a committee.”