Huxley Curling Club celebrates 70th Anniversary

Huxley 70 Curling

This past winter marks the 70th Anniversary of the Huxley Curling Club. We credit the dedicated volunteers from past to present for keeping the curling going. Today, we have the fourth generations of curlers investing their time and energy into the club.

Curling was getting popular in our area after WWII. Some local guys had been curling in Elnora. Other people had seen the game played. Inspired by the enthusiasm of a small group, the community of Huxley had a two-sheet curling rink built, paid for and ready to curl in by November of 1949 at a cost of $4575.00 - all done by volunteers. One hundred and twenty people came out to curl - men, women and children. Maybe 20 of those had curled before. Most of the curlers knew nothing about rocks, brooms, T-lines, hog lines, houses, ends and hacks or how to hang up the score. This is a time before television. People may have read about this new sport in the newspapers. There are two draws a night, six days a week. The rink was busy Sundays with challenge games. You went to curl whether it was 30 below and a wind blowing or good weather. No one ever missed a game. Everyone went because the other team would be there and you didn’t want to let them down. Or you didn’t want them getting in a little more curling practice that you got. The lunch counter was busy and the coffee was on.

Something unique to the first Huxley curling rink was the room upstairs which had a window looking over the ice. This room was at the top of the stairs. Some people called it the lounge or club room, others referred to it as the “snake pit”. This room had an atmosphere all its own. It was dark, dingy and always smoky. There was a low ceiling, open unfinished beams, nails sticking through and hard uncomfortable seating. Despite this description, many memorable and fun times were had. The atmosphere was friendly and inviting.

After the curling season of 1980 was over, the “old rink” was torn down and the ground was prepared to make way for the “new rink”. Community-minded Huxley people were building a new curling rink as the old one had done its time - 32 curling seasons. Some of the original guys who built the first rink were volunteering once more. They were joined by the enthusiastic second and third generation curlers. Volunteers spent the spring, summer and fall working on the rink. The new, three-sheet curling rink was ready for curling January 1981. The room upstairs was named the “snake pit”. The atmosphere was friendly and inviting at the spacious lounge overlooking the ice. The artificial ice plant was installed for the 1986 curling season. Again, volunteers came forward.

Since 1982, the Huxley All Nighter or Reuniter Bonspiel has been held on the third full weekend of January. In the early years, the maximum number of teams entering was 32. It would start early Friday evening with curling non-stop (24 hours) until late Sunday afternoon. As fewer teams entered, we were able to stop the curling Saturday evening, so that everyone could attend the dance. Next year’s costume theme is “The Roaring 20’s”.

Huxley is proud of their curling rink that was built by volunteers and continues to be run by volunteers. These are interested people in the community who want to continue curling and provide an opportunity for the youth to learn to curl. We have a mixed square draw, a couple of days a week, during January and February. Youth curling takes over on Monday evening. We have two fifth and several fourth generation curlers preserving their family tradition.

In 2008, we honoured two Huxley curlers with 50 years of curling in Huxley - Fred Weisenburger and Bill Ottosen. In 2018, Bill Ottosen was recognized for 60 years of curling.

Congratulations to the Trochu Boys High School Curling team who represented their school at Provincials. Team members included Adam Leischner, Connor Fetterley, Tristan Tetz and Ryley Schmidt, with Coach Mr. Louis Perreault. We are proud of their accomplishments. Congratulations to the Delburne Girls High School Curling team who won bronze. Our small communities acknowledge our volunteers.