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history of curling in High River

Curling has been popular in High River since the Curling Society was formed in 1906 with a lofty annual fee of $10.

The first draws were held in the “Big Skating Rink”. Within a few years the club built its own facility on Centre Street and the sport flourished. In 1916 Bert Poile of High River was elected president of the Alberta Branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club. As well, several early High River curling enthusiasts are Life Members of the Alberta Curling Federation.

Following World War II, a new 4 sheet cement block curling rink, complete with lunch counter and viewing lounge, was constructed on the same street. In 1953 an artificial ice plant was installed and local curling no longer depended for its ice on the whims of Alberta winters and their Chinook heat waves. No longer was it necessary to slide, deliver and sweep rocks in several inches of water or slush.

Fifty rinks were entered in the 1955 Green Spiel and an equally popular event was the Foothills bonspiel which was hosted each year by a rotation of six curling clubs in surrounding foothills towns.
The present curling club was established in 1981 with the completion of the “Recplex” and it was around this time that the name was changed to Highwood Curling Club. Over the years the club has sent many rinks to provincial and national playdowns. Competitive men's, ladies', high school, Legion, and farmers' rinks have all been a credit to the Highwood Club.

Today, the Highwood Club has strong programs in all age categories for both men and ladies', juniors, mixed and seniors. Our oldest member is Orin Lyman who in January celebrated his 97th birthday, and who is still very active in senior's mixed curling. The club has seen a number of district playdowns held on its ice, and has proudly played host to many Alberta championships:
Senior Men's in 1981
Mixed in 1987 and 2008,
Tournament of Hearts Ladies'
in 1989,
Senior Ladies' in 1989,
Masters Men's and Ladies' in 1995,2009 and 2010.
In 2011, the club successfully hosted the Provincial Men's Brier
which was staged on arena ice in High River. It was, without a doubt, the most prestigious curling event ever held here and was a real crowd pleaser and financial success. Among the rinks competing were the Canadian and World Curling Champions (Kevin Koe), and the Olympic Champions (Kevin Martin).
--
Bill Holmes
I


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