When Red Deer was awarded the 1996 World Junior Curling Championships, the curling club was asking members to sign up and volunteer. I decided to get on board and attended the meetings, picking up my accreditation and clothing at the Westerner Grounds and being assigned to Security under Lloyd Coates. The games were held in March and I remember a break in the cold snowy weather and the bright shining sun heading into my first shift at the rink.
It all went smooth that first night although, we had a little trouble from the Scottish lads wanting to take their ‘Ales’ out into the stands to cheer on their teams! Other than that all good! What a wonderful experience to be able to meet people from all over the world, gathered for this friendliest of competitions with a draw to the button!
Friday night was a lot of fun and I met a young lady, a fellow volunteer. I was quite taken up with Cheryl, but had to remember my volunteer responsibilities. I asked her if she was able to get together for a drink after our shift but she was going out with her sister, also volunteering, and her brother in law was picking them up.
Saturday was very busy as a special Opening Ceremony was planned with dignitaries and former Champions being honored. I was a roamer and would relieve other security positions. We were all manned with two-way radios and I got a call from Cheryl at the lounge doors. I made my way up to the entrance of the lounge and Cheryl explained to me, she had held this gentleman from re-entering the lounge as he didn’t have a pass or credentials and he claims he is ‘Paul Gowsell!!’ I expected his hair to be a lot longer but I asked to see some ID to prove his story and sure enough Paul Gowsell…okay guy you are in!!
What an amazing experience we had, even though we were both members of the club at the time we curled on different nights and our paths may never have crossed! This year Cheryl and I have been married twenty five years and have returned to the club as Sturling Members! I’ll never forget that experience and the great times we had that week volunteering. Thanks to this great sport of curling and the amzing rewards of volunteering!