This is a speech but with a story told. Photo is from the opening ceremonies of the 75th Bonspiel.

Speech for 75th Curling Bonspiel
By Tess Hayward

On behalf of the Bonspiel Committee I would like to welcome the curlers, life members and guests to the 75th Annual Ladies Curling Bonspiel.

It is so wonderful to see so many familiar faces from the past and present participating in this milestone event. From the smiles and laughing I see there are no regrets. I wish I could listen to all of the stories, I’m sure you are remembering and sharing with family and friends. I can only imagine the tales being told as I too have a few. My first bonspiel was in 1993, celebrating 50 years at the time. I have participated in everyone since, making this my 25th Spiel.

Now, if everyone could picture it, it’s 1943 the ladies in the community are ready to start their inaugural bonspiel in the Red Lake District….

  • It is probably -35 with the wind like it is today
  • The ladies have on their wool socks, wool pants, parkas and corn brooms in hand
  • The wind is whistling thru the cracks in the walls of the Red Lake Curling Rink
  • The natural ice has been scraped and cleaned by the volunteer husbands in the community
  • The first rock of the first draw has been thrown and every women out there has a smile on their face oblivious to the cold
  • 10 ends, not 8 have been curled with everyone being winners knowing they have made history
  • The curlers head back to the clubhouse to shed their layers. They are feeling the pain in their fingers and toes as they thaw, probably enjoying a hot toddy or two
  • As the bonspiel continues friendships are being made, stories are being told and the gratification of this inaugural bonspiel being a success
  • The finals are over and Mrs. Currie’s team has won the 1st Annual Red Lake Ladies Bonspiel
  • There are cheers and congratulations to her team and to all the curlers
  • The ladies are already thinking of ideas for next year.

Now picture it, it is 2018, 75 years later, there are 188 ladies in the room……

  • Some ladies are nodding, thinking I remember those days of curling in the cold
  • Other ladies can’t even fathom the thought of curling in -30 weather
  • We are all together celebrating history in this great community of ours and we are beaming with pride
  • We too are making friends, telling stories and having a hot toddy or two
  • Our first rock was thrown by Margaret Gall, a curler for over 45 years and a member for over 40
  • We don’t have to bundle in wool layers, we don’t have to thaw our fingers and toes
  • Our artificial ice is being taken care of by our ice master and crew and what a great job they are doing!
  • We are playing 8 ends not 10
  • We are continuing to make history
  • We will be watching the finals tomorrow at 3:00
  • A winner will be crowned, cheers and congratulations will be heard
  • The celebrations will end, we will be exhausted but our hearts warmed
  • The only difference in 75 years is the curling conditions

I was asked by CBC radio how has this bonspiel been able to thrive for 75 years. My response was THE VOLUNTEERS & THE COMMUNITY’S SUPPORT. The countless hours organizing, the prizes and money being donated. This is what keeps it going. The Red Lake District is one of a kind and I am proud to be a part of it.

Please stand up and join me in a toast:

  • To the ladies in 1943 who started something we will never stop
  • To all the volunteers over the last 75 years who have pitched in to make each bonspiel unique and successful
  • To every business, individual who have been so generous in their donation to each bonspiel
  • To every organization that has made our job easier
  • and most importantly, to each of you, the curlers, who have participated in the bonspiel making it a success every year.

Thank you!