Steve Laycock and his men’s curling team have won numerous honours over the years, but it was the people of Carnduff, Sask. who were the big winners when the provincial champs recently paid them a visit.
Laycock and his two-time defending SaskTel Tankard-winning rink visited the southeast Saskatchewan town on Jan. 23 as part of the Decisive Farming CurlingTown tour. The tour, which is presented in conjunction with Crescent Point Energy, visits communities in Western Canada each year to promote the sport and encourage youth involvement.
Now in its fourth year, CurlingTown made stops in five Saskatchewan communities throughout the month of January including Tisdale, Outlook, Yorkton, Rosetown and Carnduff, which hosted the Grand Finale event that included a junior clinic, a friendly game between a local championship rink and Team Laycock, and a community luncheon.
Kelly Thompson, president of the Carnduff Curling Club, says club officials were delighted with the results of the event and that it was a great fit for the rink’s 50th anniversary celebrations this season.
Nearly 50 youngsters participated in the morning’s junior clinic while it was standing room only in the clubhouse for the luncheon and subsequent friendly match between Team Laycock and the local rink.
Thompson says the benefits of hosting an event like CurlingTown are immeasurable, especially when it comes to generating interest among young curlers.
“This will create some added interest and hopefully keep them in it longer and help them with their skills,” she says.
“It’s like ‘We’ve seen these people on TV and now they’re showing me how to curl.’ It has a wow factor. It will have a lasting effect on the youth here. They’re still talking about it at school even now.”
Thompson adds that having Decisive Farming as the title sponsor for the event was a natural fit since nearly three-quarters of area families are involved in farming.
Laycock and his team of lead Dallan Muyres, second Colton Flasch and third Kirk Muyres came up with the idea for CurlingTown following a discussion with Decisive Farming CEO Remi Schmaltz about what they could do to thank sponsors while helping grow the sport.
“It was basically a way for us to give back to the communities while chasing our dream of one day playing in the Olympics,” says third Kirk Muyres, a former Decisive Farming employee who now curls full-time.
Communities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba must apply to be part of the tour and are required to submit an essay on why they should be chosen. The essays are then reviewed by each member of Team Laycock, bronze medalists at the 2015 Tim Horton’s Brier who curl out of the Nutana Curling Club in Saskatoon.
Muyres says the ultimate goal of the tour is to get kids pumped up about curling and what it has to offer them both on and off the ice.
“What I like to think is that hopefully this will get them more excited about the sport so that in four or five years they’ll support the local rink in their town,” he says. “Hopefully it will also help them to grow some confidence in themselves as well.”
Decisive Farming is a proud sponsor of Team Laycock and of Curling everywhere.