MELFORT — A rejuvenated curling club in Melfort hosted 28 teams in their first Synergy AG Annual Farmers and Friends Bonspiel.
Nick Fagnou, local community member and lead planner of the bonspiel, said he was excited to see 28 teams registered for the event.
Fagnou said that Kimberley Marting with Synergy AgEnergy approached the curling club about sponsorship opportunities with the curling rink and thought a farmers bonspiel would be great. SynergyAG is out of St. Brieux and is currently building a Melfort location as part of a retail chain of crop input stores focused seed genetics, crop protection, crop nutrition and agronomy services.
Fagnou said he wanted to acknowledge all of the community sponsors, adding that they made the event very successful financially for the curling rink.
Kerrie Degooijer, curling club volunteer, said it was coined the 'Farmers & Friends' bonspiel because they have lots of young people curling in our rink that aren't necessarily primary producers.
“Since nobody on the planning committee had actually ever planned a bonspiel before, we got to start fresh. We got a whole new group of people involved both with volunteering and curling, with many people coming out that hadn't curled in years,” she said.
“It's interesting to note that we have 40 brand new members in our leagues curling this year, most from the 25-35 age group, and we wanted to plan a bonspiel that targeted them, as well as farmers in the area that haven't curled in a long time.”
The curling club said that Penny Baker, the curling rink’s new kitchen operator and who also operates Penny's Soup & Sandwich, did a great job serving all the fans and curlers all weekend. She just moved to the curling rink location this year and catered her first bonspiel.
Curlers came from Archerwill (where the oldest curler playing, an 82-year-old, came from), Rose Valley, Humboldt, St. Brieux, Naicam, Star City, Rosthern, Saskatoon, Kinistino, Prince Albert, Tisdale, Pathlow and Ethelton
Proceeds from the various fundraisers, lounge proceeds and sponsorship is expected to net the curling rink around $25,000.
“This is our whole goal as a club – to make curling a thing, to grow interest in the sport and entice those that don't curl [yet], to give it a try,” Degoojier said. “They distributed $2,800 in cash to the winners and runner-ups of each event. While there was an element of competition, our main focus was on having fun.”
The Melfort curling club has been fundraising in phases for their revitalization project that includes replacing the roof, updating the mechanical room and all the important components in making good curling ice, and doing lots of interior renovations on the inside of the building,
Fagnou also said the fan support and spectators made the weekend special too.
Degooijer had some opening remarks and gave everyone an update on the rink. She explained that their club is independent from the city, and how the city does not subsidize our club. She said the Melfort Curling Club is continuing to be innovative and are trying new things in order to keep the interest in the sport high. She also announced and recognized a $50,000 donation from the Sefton and Wankel families for the revitalization project.