Regina’s Callie Curling Club is sweeping in a century of success this season.
The Caledonian Curling Club officially came into existence on October 14, 1915, becoming the second curling club in Regina.
Kenda Richards is a long-time board member and co-chair of the Callie 100 Committee. She says there have been many trials and tribulations to overcome in the past 100 years.
“We’ve actually been in five different buildings. We started on the exhibition grounds in the old implement building, then we moved to the new brick stable building, then the move to the cow barns, then the grain show, then back to the cow barns and finally we built our own building in the late 70s,” she said.
Richards can only imagine what it would be like to curl on the original sheets of dark ice, before the introduction of artificial ice in the 1950s.
“If you took any of the Olympic curlers that exist today and put them on that kind of ice, they would never get a rock down the sheet,” she laughed. “They just wouldn’t because conditions now are so, so different than what they were 100 years ago.”
Club members are celebrating 100 years with a variety of events including a fun bonspiel this weekend and a 100 end curling game on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day then ending with a Centennial Gala in April.
“It’s pretty impressive, we’ve had a lot of people put a lot of work into the Callie to keep it going and keep it vibrant,” Richards said. “We’ve actually got quite a few young people curling in the club now.”
Women have always played a big part in the Callie Curling Club, starting in 1915 when they were invited to play on men’s teams as a way to increase membership. A few years later, a women’s team won a club bonspiel. At that point the women were told they couldn’t compete with the men and advised to form their own club in 1921. The attitudes have changed quite a bit since then.
“There’s 66 titles, men’s and women’s,” said Richards with a laugh. “Women have most of them which is kind of good.”
The Callie was also the home club of the 1998 Women’s Olympic Gold Medal team skipped by Sandra Schmirler.
For Richards, the true success of the Callie Curling Club lies on the social side of the sport.
“A lot of us here we met our husbands at curling rinks or wives because it’s a great social activity and you have something in common that you like to do,” she said. “It’s a great way to spend a long, cold and miserable winter.”
She says they’re aiming for the next 100 years.