The weather may still be frigid, but things are heating up at the Cranbrook Curling Club.
This weekend, the club is holding its second annual ‘Shades of Green’ women’s bonspiel, a competitive cash-prize tournament which will also include a special clinic on doubles curling.
The bonspiel features 14 teams from Cranbrook and the surrounding area and kicks off on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. with a pair of draws, and continues at 9 a.m. on Saturday and runs all day.
From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, the women will have a chance to learn how to play doubles curling before attending a banquet and returning for 7:30 p.m. draws.
The tournament concludes on Sunday with two draws beginning at 9 a.m and then the championship game.
According to organizer Sue Trombley, ‘Shades of Green’ will be an even bigger event in its sophomore year.
“We’re going to involve vendors and have our curling club’s clothing and equipment line on sale,” Trombley said. “We’re also demonstrating doubles curling, and next year we will run a ladies doubles tournament.”
The doubles demonstration will be co-run by Tracey Amy — a competitive curler who participated in the Kimberley Wall Grain Mixed Doubles Classic in November, among other competitions— who is excited to share the burgeoning two-person variation on curling.
“Mixed-doubles will be an Olympic sport next year in Pyeongchang [and] it’s been taking off in the Eastern provinces and also Europe,” Amy explained. “It’s easy because you only need two people — a man and a woman — and it’s a shorter game.”
“The full-time working moms love it,” Trombley added. “They can still get their curling in but they don’t have to stay for two hours.”
According to Trombley, the idea of holding a clinic to learn the game came from discussions during her visits to a recent bonspiel in Elkford and Creston.
“We were saying that we were going to introduce ladies doubles next year and they said ‘why don’t you do a demonstration this year for all the teams that are coming?’” Trombley said. “The Creston team didn’t know how to do doubles, so I said that was a good idea.”
Although the clinic is mostly geared towards those participating in the tournament, it’s open to anyone who wants to come by. Same goes for those who just want to watch the bonspiel.
“There’s farmer’s market vendors, a DJ at night, plus volunteers who are bringing lunches and soups, so it’s really [going to be] a nice weekend,” Trombley said. “If we can get you there, we can keep you entertained.
“Whether it’s food, shopping, winning or losing at curling, [there’s something for everyone].”
In addition to cash-prizes for winners, there will also be a small gift of jewelry made by river rocks for participants in the bonspiel.
‘Shades of Green’ is a revival of the Shamrock bonspiel, a legendary Cranbrook women’s curling tournament that was held for over 50 consecutive years before ending 15 years ago.
Trombley and Amy hope that this year’s edition will continue to grow the sport of curling in the area and, with the addition of doubles, inject new life into it.
“We have our junior girls team [participating] in our bonspiel to make sure we encourage them to keep curling,” Trombley said. “That was one of my goals, to involve the juniors and make them feel welcome.”
Two weeks after ‘Shades of Green’, the Curling Club will be hosting the 2017 BC Men’s Masters Curling Championships from March 7 to 12.