The field is set, the ice is keen, and the Trail Curling Club is ready to host the BC Senior Curling Championships starting on Tuesday.
Co-chairs Richard Faunt and Sandra Stadjuhar, with the aid of a robust team of volunteers, have been interfacing with Curl BC to make sure all is ready for the Feb. 19-24 event.
“This isn’t run by just one person or two or three,” said Faunt. “There’s a lot of committee heads, a lot of behind the scenes work, and all our volunteers have stepped up and done a great job, and also the city has come in and helped a lot.”
Faunt, Stadjuhar, and Treasurer Penny Fennell formed the committee to organize the event a year ago, and have since recruited a dedicated group of volunteers that organize everything from the opening and closing ceremonies, security, transportation, to serving it right at the bar.
Trail’s organizing official, Dave Hogg, has enlisted and trained a core group of time-keepers and observers, which will be needed for 56 games in the round-robin alone.
“He has done a lot of work in trying to organize volunteers,” said Faunt. “That’s where our biggest challenge was to get people to commit to and be there to do the timing and observing. It’s a sanctioned event so it has to go under the rules of Curl BC.”
In preparation for the provincial event, the City of Trail also stepped up. The city put in a divider for the men and women in the downstairs dressing room and spruced up the room with a new coat of paint.
City employees, and the curling club’s ice maker Mike Williams and his team of volunteers have been working long and hard hours to make sure the lights are bright, the scoreboards intact, and eight sheets are in perfect condition for B.C.’s premier curlers. Except for one draw on Tuesday night, the event will see two draws every day until the semifinal and final on Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s always a challenge,” said Williams. “Because the ice depends on the weather, the humidity outside, the temperature outside, all that plays into it. Then you get all the extra bodies in here that’s going to change the dynamics in the room as well. So I’ll have to be on the ball making sure everything stays with the parameters to keep the ice consistent.”
The Rossland native has been the ice maker in Trail for the past two years and strives continuously to build on his skill set. Williams was an ice technician at the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton and is headed to the World Men’s Championships in Lethbridge Mar. 30-Apr. 7. He brings that experience to the Trail club and the same quality ice.
“We’ve had a few challenges but for the most part it’s been pretty consistent,” said Williams. “And the city guys, Dave Rugg and his crew, they’re fantastic to work with. If it wasn’t for those guys helping me, I’d be pulling out my hair.”
As for logistics, with teams coming from across B.C., flying may not be the most reliable, but only a couple of teams are testing Mother Nature, with most of the 16 teams driving in.
Eight women’s and eight men’s teams will compete in the event, including Faunt, who plays lead for the Bill van Yzerloo rink, one of two Kootenay men’s teams to qualify.
“My wife is looking at me, she’s surprised I’m not stressed out already,” said Faunt. “By Friday, I’m going to relinquish everything to do with the organizing. Sandra Stadjuhar the co-chair will take over, because I have to concentrate on the curling, and it may not seem fair if I’m making decisions and I’m actually in the event.”
The players are expected to arrive Monday with each team practicing Tuesday during the day, and the first draw Tuesday night at 7 p.m., with all 16 teams in action.
The competitors are poised to get into the hack, but like every event, it wouldn’t be a success without the contributions of Greater Trail volunteers.
“It depends first and foremost on all the volunteers that are helping us, because if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be able to host the event,” said Williams. “If I didn’t have anyone to help me, or organize the event, or run the bar, or run the vacuums in here, it just wouldn’t happen.”
The Opening Ceremonies are planned for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. with Draws 2 and 3 going at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
See more on the BC senior curling teams and their draws in Tuesday’s Trail Times.