For 60 years, well actually 62 years, the Brownfield Curling rink has been busy.
The first bonspiel in February 1959 had 30 rinks entered and the 2020 bonspiel wrapped up on Sunday, Jan. 19 with 18 rinks entered.
The Ryan Schedlosky rink of Coronation won the first event, Justin Eldering of Alliance took the second event and Kolby Sieger of Coronation won the third event.
With curling seemingly dying in the small communities, it is a struggle to keep these rinks open, but not for Brownfield.
Although they celebrated their 60th year, this is actually their sixtysecond annual bonspiel. To celebrate, the club welcomed about 100 people to a $5 pancake supper Fri. Jan. 17, remembering that the very first fundraiser back in 1959 was a pancake supper for $5 a plate where they raised $103, according to the history book, Lengthening of the Shadows.
Memories folks reminisced about celebration held included curling when the weather got so warm that waves of water would go ahead of the rock when thrown.
Brownfield’s curling club did not have an ice plant until about 1975 so mother nature controlled the ice temperature.
The plaques on display showed only two years that the bonspiel did not finish because of warm weather.
Harvey Bargholz shared a 1961 memory when he was 13 years of age, when he spared for his mother, Jo Bargholz.
The weather was so warm during that bonspiel that they started their games at 10 p.m. and finished up in the early hours of the morning around 5 a.m.
His mother, being a teacher, could not curl all night and teach all day, so Harvey got to curl the entire bonspiel that year.
Archie Brown doesn’t remember if he was a shareholder back in 1958 but he does remember his curling days were three years in Castor, Alta. before the curling rink opened in Brownfield.
The idea of a curling rink for Brownfield had cropped up at a ‘stag’ party for Robert (Bob) Barnes in the spring of ’58.
They organized in the fall and a price of $50 was set for shares. Barnes later donated the land he owned north of the store for the rink for one share.
A second meeting with 14 supporters was held on Sept. 30 where contractor, Ken Tory quoted a price, including labour, of $7,000 – $7,500 to build the two sheet rink, kitchen and viewing area.
Many volunteers made the “impossible” idea at the stag party become possible.
The October meeting saw a board of directors elected and the name Parkland was favoured because of so many districts involved.
Parkland Curling Club was eventually changed to Brownfield Curling Club because there was confusion between another club called Parkland.
According to the history book, the first regular curling started on Feb. 11, 1959.
The first bonspiel on Feb. 23, 1959 was played on heavy ice and ran from 8 a.m. until 2 – 3 a.m. the next morning.
It took in about $1,000 including a calf raffle which was donated by Wilfred Sieger, for one share in the club.
The rink still stands today and now has an ice plant although the kitchen and viewing area has been remodelled a couple of times.
Brownfield still has a school, K – 9, Baptist church, community hall attached to the curling rink and a few residents but is whole-heartedly supported by the farmers in the district.