Montana’s Brier And The Love Of The Game

Curling, once a beloved winter sport in small towns across the country, is now facing a decline in popularity as local rinks sit empty and unused. The traditional sport, which involves sliding stones on ice towards a target area, has been a staple of community recreation for generations. However, changing demographics and shifting interests have led to a decrease in participation and a lack of interest in maintaining these historic rinks.

I remember going to the curling rink was the focal point of our small town Broadview during the winter months. The place was always packed with locals and curlers from the surrounding communities and it was always a huge social event. When times were good and the place was booming I recall you couldn’t hear a thing on the ice because those old corn brooms were smacking the ice so hard that the echo chamber was deafening. Add to that everybody screaming “Haaaaaard…..Hurry” and you needed hand signals to communicate. Periodically we had to open the end doors to let out all of the smoke from everyone puffing on cigarettes. In fact you were sweeping the ice to remove the ash off of it….lol. If you were not on one of the sheets curling you were probably upstairs in lobby at our diner like kitchen sitting on one of the old spinning stools having hot chocolate with a piece of Mrs. Nelsons’ raisin pie. Once I got a little older we were welcomed downstairs into the lair of cards/crib/booze and heavy smoke. Good times.

Many small towns are struggling to keep their curling facilities open due to a lack of funding and dwindling interest from residents. Without the necessary support and resources, these rinks are falling into disrepair and becoming obsolete. This trend is concerning for those who value the tradition and camaraderie that curling brings to their communities.

Efforts are being made to revitalize the sport and attract new participants, but it may be an uphill battle to regain the appeal that curling once had in small town rinks. It is important to recognize the cultural significance of curling and find ways to preserve and promote this beloved winter pastime for future generations to enjoy. One way to do that is get involved in the Montana’s Brier. It all starts today at 6pm with draw #1.

Check out the info I supplied For this years Montana’s Brier at the Brandt Center

In my travels I have come across many curling rinks. Some dilapidated, others in full function. There are hundreds in Saskatchewan and these are only a few of them I have come across. I can imagine the life and memories that have and will continue to come from them. If you would like to share an image of yours, please post it in the comment section. I would love to see it….. Colin Lovequist.

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