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Kimberley Curling Club celebrates 100th birthday

The Kimberley Curling Club turned 100 this year and the momentous occasion was celebrated at the historic club on Saturday, Feb. 24 with a ceremony attended by over 100 people.

Bagpiper Mike Stephan piped in all of the curlers onto the ice and then past club vice president Gavin Sims, the emcee for the event, got the ceremony started.

Past president Gord Jenkins provided attendees with an overview of the rich history of curling in Kimberley, including the fact that at one point there was three separate curling clubs in the city, located in Townsite, near Centennial Hall and in Chapman Camp. The current building was built in the early 1960s.

READ MORE: Kimberley Heritage Museum exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Kimberley Curling Club

Current club manager Blair Jarvis said Jenkins touched on Curling Canada Hall of Fame inductee Ina Hansen’s rink winning national women’s championships in 1962 and 1964, through all of the many high school, men’s, women’s, mixed and senior provincial championships from the club’s history.

Mayor Don McCormick gave a speech congratulating the club on this milestone, before former presidents Glenn Hauptman and John McGillivray unveiled a plaque to commemorate the centenary.

“This club, and its 100 years of history are an important part of the Kimberley story,” McCormick said. “Ina Hansen’s success in the sport put Kimberley on a very large map. She was a true ambassador for Kimberley. History continues to be made with current ambassadors Tom Buchy and his team.

“We have a growing community, and with community growth comes new members, new leadership and continued good times. We just know that there will be a 200 year celebration!”

READ MORE: Kimberley’s Team Buchy takes sixth at Canadian Senior Curling Championships

Plans for this special event have been in the works for quite some time. Jarvis said the ceremony was attended by 88 curlers and another roughly 50 former club members.

“We have been planning our 100th Anniversary since spring 2023,” Jarvis explained. “Developing a special 100th Anniversary logo and merchandise, having special draw prizes for our members in addition to the event this weekend. This weekend’s event really took shape over the last six weeks as all the details were finalized.”

The 88 curlers comprised 22 teams to play a funspiel of two games each. The banquet that followed had around 120 people, and the club was decorated with historical memorabilia and displays of the club’s past.

“Everyone had rave reviews about how fun the day was and how great it was to catch up with people they haven’t seen in a while,” Jarvis said. “We had former members, longtime current members, and even a team of players who just started curling a few months ago.”

Jarvis has been with the club since 2020, but he first saw the club in 2019, before he and his family moved to Kimberley, while in town on a ski trip.

“We decided to drop in one night to check it out,” he said. “Immediately a longtime member came up to us and introduced himself. My experience has been a very welcoming group of people who not only enjoy curling but enjoy the social aspect as well. The second thing I noticed was the impressive number of championships the small town club has won in its history.

“The fact that Kimberley had three curling rinks at one point is pretty interesting. There are also a few championships that pre-date the banners on the wall, so we’ll have to look at properly honouring those accomplishments as well. I love history, so seeing old memorabilia and pictures, as well as talking to long time members and their families about different events and characters is so fascinating to me.

“So hearing stories like learning about a set of rocks that belonged to someone’s grandfather or father is something I can’t get enough of.”

In keeping with the spirit of the rich history of the Kimberley Curling Club, the ceremonial rock throw was done by former BC Mixed and Senior champion Tom Buchy, throwing a rock that is over 100 years old. Gord Jenkins held the broom in the house, and Buchy’s teammate Dave Toffolo, himself a BC Mixed and Senior Champion, and current Selkirk Secondary School team member Zack Pollock swept the rock right onto the button.

Jarvis said that curling, as a sport, has gone through numerous ups and downs, with the Kimberley Curling Club being no different.

“I think 10 to 20 years ago, the club was struggling for survival and I give a lot of credit to those who led the club during that time to get to where we are today,” he said. “I’m hopeful that I can be part of the club’s future as we go forward into our next century.

“We managed to come through COVID relatively well, have been able to maintain traditions like Snow Fiesta, and are also trying some new events and offerings that will help us grow and make this a place that is welcoming to the entire community and a place that people want to come to curl or take in some other event.”

Looking ahead to the club’s future, their next event is a Pride Curling night on Friday, Mar. 8, with registration available at The event is open to everyone.

Their annual club wind up and championship will take place on March 15 and 16. The club will also host the 2025 Provincial High School Championship.

The club had 250 members this past year. Jarvis said their Junior Program has grown to 35 kids, from 18 in 2021. Through the club’s school groups, over 500 kids will get to try the sport this year.

The club currently has members curling in the High School Boys Provincials in Kelowna, and members curling in the BC Mixed Provincials, BC Club Championships and the BC Senior Provincials in March.

If you’re interested in getting into curling, there are always ways to do so.

“While our season is wrapping up in mid-March, if anyone is interested in trying curling, we will have an open house, instructional league and other offerings for people to come out and try curling starting in October - and you don’t even need a team, we can help with that too.”

About the Author: Paul Rodgers

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