Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Trading Cards

Curlers like to collect things. Some examples which have appeared on the Curling History blog before, are here (spoons), here (mugs), and a two part article on curling lighters, here and here.

Within the large area of 'paper ephemera' one can collect 'trade cards' - for example cigarette cards, and the like. Collecting 'trading cards' is a different thing. A 'trading card' is a small card, usually made out of cardboard, which contains an image of a person, place or thing, and a short description of the picture, along with other text. Most will have heard of baseball cards, for example. There is a wide variation of different types of cards. Modern cards even go as far as to include swatches of game clothing (really!).

I have a small collection of curling 'trading cards'.

 
This is one of the earliest in my collection, showing the Bud Somerville team, and dates from 1992.

Here's the reverse of the card. It is Number 21 from the first-issue of the International Card Collection of Athletes set. Note that this card features the Somerville team that competed at the Albertville Olympics in 1992, when curling was a demonstration sport, not the great Somerville team, that oldies like me remember, which won the Scotch Cup in 1965.

 
In 1993, Ice Hot International published a set of 66 'Premier Edition' curling cards. That's Number 18 above, of Canada's Rod Hunter. The whole collection comprised:

1. Bryan Wood, Canada
2. Don Walchuk, Canada
3. Jim Ursel, Canada
4. Ray Turnbull, Canada
5. Warren Hanson, Canada
6. Al Hackner, Canada
7. Rick Folk, Canada
8. Randy Ferbey, Canada
9. Markus Eggler, Switzerland
10. Dan Carey, Canada

11. David Smith is the only Scottish curler to be featured among the 66 cards in the first set issued in 1993.

Here's the reverse of the card. I wonder what happened that David's playing percentage in 1990 has been omitted? I like the sentence, "In 1991 he finally captured the elusive World Curling crown in an exciting final against Canada." 'Exciting' is not the adjective that I would have used if just looking at the linescore. But it certainly was exciting for all Scots that were there in the stadium at Winnipeg, as I was! Lots of controversy too, but that's a story for another time.

12. Kerry Burtnyk, Canada
13. Terry Braunstein, Canada
14. Don Bartlett, Canada
15. Urs Dick, Switzerland
16. Lyall Dagg, Canada
17. Ernie Richardson, Canada
18. Rod Hunter, Canada
19. Jack MacDuff, Canada
20. Chris Neufeld, Canada
21. Pat Perroud, Canada
22. Vic Peters, Canada
23. Dan Petryk, Canada
24. Jim Pettapiece, Canada
25. Bill Tetley, Canada
26. Arnold Richardson, Canada
27. Jim Armstrong, British Columbia
28. Bo Bakke, Norway
29. John Ferguson, Canada
30. Glenn Howard WC Canada
31. Sjur Loen, Norway
32. Ed Lukowich, Canada
33. Russ Howard, Canada
34. Morten Sogaard, Norway
35. Pierre Charette, Quebec

 
36. Great pic this of a young Andrea Schopp, Germany.
37. Pat Ryan, Canada
38. Eugene Hritzuk, Saskatchewan
39. Don Rudd, Canada
40. Don McKenzie, Canada
41. John Kawaja, Canada
42. Marilyn Bodogh, Canada
43. Kathy McEdwards, Canada
44. Lindsay Sparks, Canada
45. Heather Houston, Canada
46. Lorraine Lang, Canada
47. Connie Laliberte, Canada
48. Paul Savage, Canada
49. Eigil Ramsfjell, Norway
50. Kevin Martin, Canada
51. Bob LaBonte, USA
52. Anne Jotun, Norway
53. Mette Halvorsen, Norway
54. Hanne Pettersen, Norway
55. Dordi Nordby, Norway
56. Don Duguid, Canada
57. Garnet Richardson, Canada
58. Wes Richardson, Canada
59. Ed Werenich, Canada
60. Linda Moore, Canada
61. Hec Gervais WC Canada
62. Mayumi Seguchi, Japan
63. Frederic Jean, Switzerland
64. Colleen Jones, Canada
65. Ian Tetley, Canada
66. Sjur Loen, Norway

All of the 1993 Ice Hot International cards are illustrated in the Trading Card Database, here

The above list does not appear to be ordered in any way, eg alphabetically, or by date, or even by 'importance'. It is Canada-centric of course, but does give an idea of what those putting the collection together thought that a 'Hall of Fame' might look in 1993. It must have provided a great source of argument at the time. Does it really reflect 'international' curling in 1993? Who's been missed out? There's no mention of the first World Women's Champions, skipped by Gaby Casanova, in 1979. And where's the great Bud Somerville, USA, on this list? 

In 1994, a second set of 50 cards was produced, as an extension to the 1993 set. The omission of Bud Somerville is rectified in this second set. And two more Scottish curlers are represented. It is interesting to reflect that - in the minds of those putting these sets of trading cards together in 1993 and 1994 - only three Scottish curlers deserved mention.

67. This was a checklist of all the cards in the set.
68. Rick Lang, Canada
69. Paul Gowsell, Canada
70. Neil Houston, Canada
71. Ed Lukovich, Canada
72. Sean Morris, Canada
73. Scott Pfeifer, Canada
74. Kelly Mittelstadt, Canada
75. Colin Davison, Canada
76. Larry McGrath, Canada
77. Kim Gellard, Canada
78. Corie Beveridge, Canada
79. Lisa Savage, Canada
80. Sandy Graham, Canada
81. Russ Howard, Canada
82. Glenn Howard, Canada
83. Wayne Middaugh, Canada
84. Peter Corner, Canada
85. Gordon Sparkes, Canada
86. Bill Carey, Canada
87. Barry Fry, Canada
88. Sandra Peterson, Canada
89. Jan Betker, Canada
90. Joan McCusker, Canada
91. Marcia Gudereit, Canada

92. Here's the card featuring Kirsty Hay, Scotland. My goodness, that's a creepy looking expression on her face in this photo!

 
93. And here's the card with Craig Wilson, Scotland.
94. Neil Harrison, Canada
95. Trevor Alexander, Yukon/NWT, Canada
96. Mark Noseworthy, Newfoundland, Canada
97. Gerry Richard, Canada
98. Bert Gretzinger
99. Pat Ryan, Canada
100. Rick Folk, Canada
101. Ron Mills, Canada
102. Tom Wilson, Canada
103. Jim Wilson, Canada
104. Maureen Bonar, Manitoba, Canada
105. Garnet Campbell, Canada
106. Dave Smith, Manitoba, Canada
107. Brent Giles, British Columbia
108. Scott Baird, USA
109. Dave Iverson, Manitoba
110. Robert Andrews, Yukon/NWT, Canada
111. Bud Somerville, USA
112. Erika Brown, USA
113. Steve Brown, USA
114. Anders Loof, Sweden
115. Jan-Olov Nassen, Sweden
116. Brier Bear.

Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that Glenn Howard and Pat Ryan appear in both sets. I wonder why. All of the cards in the 1994 Ice Hot International Sequel set are illustrated here.

The two Ice Hot International curling card sets appear to be the only trading card sets devoted exclusively to curling. But curling does appear on other trading cards within other sets.

 
Here's an example. This card is one of a series of Canadian Winter Olympic Medal Winners, published in 1992. Julie with Jodie Sutton, Melissa Soligo and Karri Willms won the bronze medals in 1992 when curling was a demonstration sport at the Albertville Olympics, at the rink at Pralognan. The other members of the team are depicted on their own cards.

Cards from more recent years can be collected, see below.

The Topps Company, Inc, manufactures chewing gum, sweets (candy), and collectibles. Topps is best known as a leading publisher of trading cards depicting various sports, such as that above of Jessica Schultz. The card with the metallic logo in the bottom right can be found in bronze silver and gold! It was published in 2014. Jessica was a member of Erika Brown's team at the 2014 Olympics, finishing bottom of the table.

 
Here is another Topps card, depicting the Olympic curling venue at Sochi, 2014.

Upper Deck, whose headquarters are in California, is a well established publisher of trading cards, of high quality. This is one of a 25th Anniversary edition depicting curling 'legend' Rachel Homan, from 2014. It is indeed a high quality card.

The curling cards illustrated in this article are just examples of what is 'out there' and waiting to be collected.
 
Finally, I should mention the writer of The Shlabotnik Report who came up with the idea of 'virtual' trading cards ('because someone had to do it'), see here. The above of Eve Muirhead is an example.

Images are of cards in the author's collection, other than those of Kirsty Hay and Craig Wilson which are screenshots from here, and that of Eve Muirhead's virtual card, from here.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Curling Image Project (Week 8)

CIP-50. Outdoor curling in Switzerland. This is, I believe, the Carlton Hotel rink in St Moritz, in 1957. I do not know the names of the players in the photo. But there are lots of stones in play, and a 'dolly'! (3.5x5in print, photographer unknown.)

CIP-51. An early photo of wheelchair curling! It dates from 2000, and shows Jim Sellar at the East Kilbride rink. Jim was a keen bowler, took up wheelchair curling and became a founding member of the South Lanarkshire Wheelchair Curling Club. He has gone on to play for Scotland and Great Britain at World Championships and Paralympics. I picked this photo to show that there was a time when wheelchair curlers were playing without the delivery stick, the introduction of which revolutionised wheelchair curling. (5x7in print, photographer unknown.)

CIP-52. There are lots of stones in play in this end at the Ayr Ice Rink. Can anyone date this pic, and say who is playing? (6x4in colour print, photographer unknown.)

CIP-53. They would go on to represent Scotland in the years ahead, but here the Alex Torrance rink had just won the Sandy Miller trophy, an evening competition at the Scottish Ice Rink, Crossmyloof, Glasgow. The trophy was donated by Connie Miller in memory of her late husband, in 1961. Back L-R: Bobby Kirkland, Jim Waddell. Front L-R: Alex Torrance (aka 'Big Alex'), Alex F Torrance (aka 'Wee Alex'). (6x8in print, Hamilton Advertiser photo.)

CIP-54. This is a Michael Burns photo of Laura Scott, competing in the Goodrich World Junior Women's Championship, Portage La Prairie, in 1990. Laura was the lead on Kirsty Addison's Scottish team. Karen Addison and Joanna Pegg are the sweepers. Remember, these were the days before digital cameras, so to capture such a shot as a single image on a film camera was expert work! Why was such a great photo never published? I guess it was because lead players were not considered 'newsworthy' as far as editors were concerned, photos of the skips always receiving prominence. (4.5x6.5 colour print by Michael Burns Photography.)

CIP-55. Another eight-end, this one from the Coca-Cola World Junior Championships in Karuizawa, Japan, in 1997. The Junior Worlds was the test event for the Olympic competition in the stadium the following year. I could see the big end developing from my spot on the press bench, and made my way to the side of the ice with my camera, and captured the shot above after the last stone of the end had been played. I had not seen many eight-ends before. The photo was never used, as I was asked (nicely) by the organisers not to use it, as they did not want any embarassment for the young team which had conceded the large end. I was happy to go along with this request, and even now I'll not give the details. Incidentally, the World Curling Federation's data on this event (here) does not have linescores, only final results, so the eight-ender is not officially recorded! (6x4in colour print, Bob Cowan.)

CIP-56. This photo is from the Coupar Angus and Kettins CC's 250th anniversary bonspiel in 1999 at the Central Scotland Ice Rink, Perth. When it was published in the April/May 1999 issue of the Scottish Curler magazine it was with the caption 'Sorry, no names were supplied with this picture'! Can anyone supply now? (See below.)

Note the four wonderful old 'channel stanes' which were just for 'colour' in the pic, and they were not played with in 1999. Much too valuable! They date from the seventeenth century. (6x4in colour print, photographer unknown.)

ADDED LATER: Thanks to those who contributed via Facebook, this is the lineup: Back L-R: Alex Gatt, Alistair McAskill, Rhys Stanwix, Lindsey Paterson, Alistair Lyburn. Front: L-R Anna (or Anne) Shaw, Barbara Lyburn, Margaret (now) Stark, Trish (nee Stanwix). Please let me know if this is still not correct.

Photos are as credited where the photographer is known. Check the archive (on the right) for previous Curling Image Project posts. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Curling Image Project (Week 7)

CIP-43. In the early 1980s, White Horse Distillers was just one of many companies which sought to promote their brand by sponsoring curling competitions. Here is a photo of the winners of the White Horse Scotch Whisky bonspiel at Ayr Ice Rink in October, 1982. L-R: Annie Kennedy, Willie Anderson, Stan Crawford (representing the sponsor), Sadie Anderson, Matt Brown (President, Ayr Curling Club) and Jack Kennedy. As White Horse sponsored bonspiels at Lockerbie, Gogar Park, Kirkcaldy and Stranraer, as well as Ayr, in the 1982-83 season, the horse in the picture would have been well travelled! Read about the company here. (8x6in print, by Ron Vavasour, Photographer, Ayr)

CIP-44. The 'Scottish Pride Coit' was a junior competition at the Greenacres rink in the 1980s. David Aitken (front) and Douglas Dryburgh are in this pic which was published in the November 1985 issue of Curling. (8.5x6.5in print, by John Elder.)

CIP-45. I consider this to be the most beautiful curling trophy of them all! It was presented for play in 1958 by R B Dick for the 'Ladies Worlds' at the Scottish Ice Rink, Crossmyloof, Glasgow. This is the winning team in 1972. I find it interesting that the photo is captioned as follows, L-R: Mrs M Dickson (3rd), Mrs B Lindsay (skip), Mrs H Hamilton and Mrs M Bankier. There is no mention of first names with the photo or in the accompanying article in the April 1972 Scottish Curler magazine! I know that it was Margaret Dickson and Beth Lindsay, but can anyone supply first names for Mrs Hamilton and Mrs Bankier? (ADDED LATER: Thanks to Ali Taylor we now know that it was Helen Hamilton, and Margaret Bankier, both of whom were members of Lesmahagow Ladies CC.)

Two other things to note about this competition in 1972. The final rounds were played through power cuts (during the miners' strike of 1972), with the Crossmyloof rink improvising lighting with its own generator. And the losing finalists were a team from the Glasgow Young Curlers Club skipped by Maureen Horton. This competition pre-dated by twenty years the first 'official' women's world championship in 1979. (10x8in print, by Elmer Fromberg, Cameracraft, Clarkston Road, Glasgow.)

CIP-46. The caption written on the back of this photo says, "Robert Mirtle, Jim Asher and Eric Brown puzzling last shot of the tournament." So, which competition is it, where, and when? (6x8in print, by Blair Urquart.)

ADDED LATER: Thanks to Ali Asher and Harold Forrester for the information that the pic dates to 1976, and was from the first 'Inverness Invitation' competition, sponsored by Grouse Whisky. There is a short report in the January 1977 Scottish Curler magazine. Twenty invited teams from all over Scotland took part, but the final was between two 'Highland' rinks. Eric Brown, with Robert Mirtle, Jim Asher and Graeme Kerr, beat Billy MacLeod's Aviemore side. The magazine has a 'presention pic' of the winners. Back then 'action pics' of curling in Scotland in print were really quite rare.
 
CIP-47. I have absolutely no idea what's going on in this pic. Suggestions please! (7x5in print, photographer unknown.)

CIP-48. This is a scene from the final of the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Ladies' Championship at Perth in 1989. Christine Allison, on the right, has been directing her front end of Kimmie Brown and Carol Dawson (on 3rd player Margaret Scott's stone). Opposition skip Lorna Bain looks ready to sweep. Was it an attempted freeze that has curled too much? The Allison team won the championship that year. Lorna, with Julie Hepburn, Vicky Ross and Liz Moffat were runners-up. (7x5in colour print, by Louis Flood, Perth.)
 
CIP-49. The presentation after the East of Scotland Men's Open Championship at Gogar Park in the 1984-85 season. This pic appeared in the January 1985 issue of the Scottish Curler magazine. L-R: Eddie Cobb (President, Gogar Park Club), Bill Shrive (representing the sponsor Queen Anne whisky), Willie Jamieson (skip), Martin Smyth (Queen Anne Sales Manager), Lindsay Scotland (3rd), Brian Clark (2nd), and Mike Wood (lead). (8.5x6.5in print, photographer unknown.)

(Note to self - must keep a note of all the different 'alcohol sponsors' that come up in these twentieth century pix!)

Photos are as credited where the photographer is known. Check the archive (on the right) for previous Curling Image Project posts. Thanks to Alison Taylor for supplying missing names for the Ladies Worlds pic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The 'fung in the mouth' and other stories

Curling is generally associated with good behaviour, on and off the ice. There are few incidences recorded when this was not the case. John Orr, playing for Lochwinnoch in the year 1798, is an early example of a bad loser!

In that year, two rinks travelled from Dalry to play against two from Lochwinnoch. The winner would be the first side to reach 51 shots scored. It was the tightest of matches, the score across the two rinks was 50-50. Dalry was the first to make the extra shot needed for the win.

Such matches attracted a considerable number of spectators. One of these, described in John Cairnie's 1833 book 'Essay in Curling, and Artificial Pond Making' as 'a son of old Gomery Skeoch', had travelled from nearby Kilbirnie to watch the match. When the Dalry curlers were declared the victors by the one shot, 'he took off his bonnet and huzzaed in favour of Dalry'.

At that, John Orr came up to him and gave him a 'fung in the mouth', which knocked him down. The Dictionary of the Scots Language describes a 'fung' as 'a blow from the hand or the foot' (see here), as we can tell from the context!

Cairnie describes what happened next. Skeoch got up much surprised, saying, "What's that for?" Orr said, "Just hurra again, an' if tu dis, I'll let thee ken what it's for, if I sud hunt thee to Kilbirnie!"

I wonder if there are any present day examples of curlers at major championships becoming violent with the fans in the stands?

Writing in 1911 about the history of the Morton Curling Club, Dr RB Thomson of Thornhill records that the parish bonspiels between Morton and Sanquhar were 'in the olden days' noted for the extreme rivalry between the parishes. Thomson writes, "It is recorded on one occasion, when Morton was successful at Sanquhar, the carriage windows of the Thornhill conveyances were smashed in, and the curlers just managed to get out of the town without serious injury."

Who would have believed it!

The Sanquhar home support made its presence felt during games. Thomson writes, "The old wives who used to attend the matches threw snowballs in front of the Morton stones." Not surprisingly, one of the Morton players was somewhat annoyed with this, and approached the women. But perhaps he did not chose his words very carefully when he said to them that 'they might be better employed at home darning socks'. Apparently this Morton player 'received a rather rough handling'!

Reading through old curling club minute books it seems that occasionally an individual club member could cause trouble. The records of the Coupar Angus and Kettins Curling Club (or the 'Society of Curlers in the United Parishes of Coupar and Kettins' when it was formed in 1749) had problems with one of their members, as described in a minute dated December 30, 1783. It was one of the rules of the club that swearing was not countenanced on the ice. Some of the members reported that John Crockatt, a new member of the club, had been guilty of swearing several times. He had also apparently 'lost one sixpence at play' (whatever this means, presumably a wager). He was asked several times to appear before the Society to pay the fine for his misdemeanours, and when he failed to do so, four members of the club were sent to his house. He pointed a gun at them and threatened to shoot the first person that attempted to lay hands on him. He then struck one of the party, Charles Ducatt, on the chest!

It is not surprising to read that Crockatt was dismissed from the club and the other members were debarred from curling on the ice with him 'until he shall in a full meeting hereafter acknowledge his faults and make such compensation to the Society as they shall think the nature of the crimes above requires'.

Two years later Crockatt must have provided satisfaction, as he was readmitted to the Society. However, he was immediately fined two shillings for not having his curling stones ready on the ice, as required to do so by one of the other Society regulations.

No-one ever swears on the ice these days, do they!

John Crockatt's story is told in an article in the September 1963 Scottish Curler, and the details confirmed in a copy of the Coupar Angus and Kettins CC minute book, in David Smith's research collection of papers now in the care of the Scottish Curling Trust. The RB Thomson's 'History of the Morton Curling Club' appeared in the Dumfries and Galloway Standard in 1911. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Curling Image Project (Week 6)

CIP-36. Outdoor curling on Lindores Loch. Don't know the date, but likely 1960s. (5x3in print, photographer unknown)

CIP-37. Here's a photo which reminds me of one of the most interesting and unusual curling events I've ever attended. It's of round robin play in the World Junior Championships in 1994 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Scottish men's squad was Craig Wilson, Neil Murdoch, Ricky Burnett, Craig Strawhorn, and Euan Byers. The women were Gillian Howard, Kirsty Hynd, Alison Kinghorn, Sandra Hynd, and Fiona Brown. That's Craig and Ricky in the foreground. Gillian can be seen on the sheet behind. (6x4in colour print, Bob Cowan)

CIP-38. Robin Brechin watches nervously as Glasgow's Lord Provost, Robert Gray, prepares to throw the ceremonial 'opening stone' at the Summit Centre, Glasgow, on February 13, 1986. (8x6in print, by Dick Brothers of Clarkston)

CIP-39. The Attinger team from Switzerland, in action in 1984. But where? Kurt, Werner, Bernhard and Peter Attinger were Swiss Champions in 1984 and were runners-up to Eigil Ramsfjell's Norwegian team at the Silver Broom in Duluth. (6x4in print, by Erwin Sautter)

CIP-40. I think this is a wonderful photo. It shows the Ernie Richardson team in action, but where? Great to have all four of the Richardson team in the one shot. I suspected this must be a Brier Championship and think it is 1962 at Kitchener-Waterloo. Wes Richardson is on the far left, encouraging Arnie Richardson who is sweeping the stone in the house. Ernie (third left) has turned away to walk back to the other end. Sam Richardson is on the right. But who are the other two players in the picture, with the big 'As' on their jumpers? I am convinced they are two members of Hec Gervais' Alberta team - Ron Anton in the centre, and 2nd player, Ray Werner, second left. Can anyone confirm all this? Wally Ursuliak was the Alberta lead. The film of the 1962 Brier can be watched here. (8x6in print, Michael Burns Photography)

CIP-41. The crowning of the 'Queen of Curlers' (Miss Estelle Cote) at Quebec City in 1955. The occasion was the Quebec Winter Carnival, which had an international bonspiel at its centre. Here's part of an article in the February 1955 Scottish Curler. "The crowning of the Queen of Curlers took place at the Quebec Winter Club. Led by a Scottish piper, Mr J Innes, the procession entered in this order: two pages, the ladies in waiting, the Queen, Mr Weyman, Mr G MacWilliam (the Chamberlain) and Mr C Scribner (the Prime Minister). The escorts consisted of the presidents of five curling clubs. A TV camera, ten photographers and several hundred spectators watched page MacWilliam present the crown to Mr Weyman, know as Canada's Mr Curler, who crowned the Queen and gave her a sceptre in the shape of a curling broom. Page Chaput presented the Queen with a bouquet, then Mr A F Sissons, President of the Quebec International Bonspiel, pinned the international jewel on the Queen's dress. He also presented her with a pearl necklace and ear-rings - a gift from the curling fraternity." Estelle Cote was a curler, a member of the Ladies Section of the Club de Curling Jacques-Cartier of Quebec City. (8x10in print, photography by Canadian Pacific Railway)

CIP-42. I have lots of photos of this team, one of the most successful rinks of women curlers in Scotland. (Or THE most successful over the years!) Here is Judy Mackenzie, Anne McDougall, Kirsty Letton (skip) and Pat Orr, with Gayle Lyburn after winning the Low Road of the Lyburn Trophy competition at Stranraer. But what year? (10x8in print, by F H McCarlie, Stranraer)

Image credits are as indicated, where the photographer is known. Check the archive (on the right) for previous Curling Image Project posts.

Friday, October 05, 2018

The Curling Image Project (Week 5)

CIP-29. Graeme Adam is in the hack with Bob Cowan and Robin Copland ready to sweep. Brian Alderman would have been holding the broom at the far end. No, don't ask about the trousers. Just be grateful the pic is in black and white. That's Liz Smith behind, on the right. Probably 1978. (7x5in black and white print, photographer unknown, but likely to have been Sandy Smith.)

CIP-30. In 1983, the community of Creelman, Saskatchewan, was the host of Scottish visitors and the team for the Air Canada Silver Broom in Regina. A lot of friendships were made over the week. This is the Creelman float for a parade, in association with the curling event. All ten competing countries were 'adopted' by local communities. (6x4in colour print, photographer unknown.)

CIP-31. Scottish Junior Champions in 2001. L-R: Graham Sloan (lead), Kenny Edwards (2nd), Callum Allison (3rd), David Edwards (skip), Kelly Wood (skip), Lorna Vevers (3rd), Jacqui Reid (2nd), Lyndsay Wood (lead). (7x5 in colour print, photographer unknown, probably Louis Flood, Perth)

CIP-32. This is a photo of the first Japanese team to compete in a World Curling Championship - at Vasteras in Sweden, in 1990. According to the WCF historical results (here) the team members were Midori Kudoh, Kaori Tatezaki, Etsuko Ito, Mayumi Abe, and Mayumi Seguchi. Can anyone confirm who is on the ice? (6x4in colour print, by Erwin Sautter).

CIP-33. The caption on the back of this photo just says 'Edinburgh University v Glasgow University'. I believe it was taken at the Aviemore Rink, but when? And who can you identify? Hint - David Smith (without his beard) and Hazel Smith are in the pic. (8.5x6.5in print, Strathspey Photography.)

CIP-34. Here is a pic of the winners of the World Junior Championships at Portage La Prairie in 1990. (Switzerland) L-R: Roland Müggler, Markus Widmer, Andreas Östreich, Stefan Traub (skip); (Scotland) L-R: Kirsty Addison (skip), Karen Addison, Joanna Pegg, and Laura Scott. Kirsty's team were the first winners from Scotland of the women's event, in the third time that there had been a world junior women's title on offer. But this was the last year that the World Juniors were sponsored by Uniroyal and Goodrich. (8x5in print, photographer not stated, but probably Michael Burns.)

CIP-35. We haven't had an eight-ender photo yet, so here's one which was scored at the Moray Leisure Centre Ice Rink, Elgin, in the 1998-99 season. It was the first ever eight-ender to be recorded at the Elgin Rink, which had opened in 1993. (L-R) Morag Cumming, Marlyn McKenzie, Douglas Howie (skip) and Helen Downie. It was scored in the last end of the Elgin Curling Club League. Down 4-12, Howie made a double takeout with his last stone, and lay for the eight, to tie the game! The story is recorded in the February 1999 Scottish Curler magazine. (10x7in print, Hester Photography, Forres.)

Photos are as credited where the photographer is known. Check the archive (on the right) for previous Curling Image Project posts.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Curling in Africa

Did you notice that the World Curling Federation, at its recent Annual General Assembly, voted to accept Nigeria as a provisional member? The country was described as 'the first African Member Association'. Nigeria became the sixty-first member of the World Curling family.

However, I think it is necessary to point out that, when the International Curling Federation (as the World Curling Federation used to be called) was just a youngster in the 1970s, curling was already firmly established in Africa, at Abidjan in the Ivory Coast.

First, the geography lesson. Cote d'Ivoire (the 'Ivory Coast' in English) is in green on this map of Africa. Abidjan is on the coast of the country. Cote d'Ivoire obtained independence from France in 1960, and for a good number of years thereafter enjoyed economic and political stability. You can read all about the country here.

The Hotel Ivoire was built in 1963. According to this article, it was the first President of Cote d'Ivoire, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who had the idea for an ice rink, for skating, in 1970.

Curling was played at the hotel ice rink from its early days. In 1973 the Abidjan curling club was accepted into the Royal Caledonian Curling Club.

  
Abidjan curlers travelled abroad to compete. Here is a photo showing the rink which played in a bonspiel in Paris in May, 1973. (L-R) A Emery, Samuel Kouame, M Duchastel (Canadian Ambassador), Dominique Mascolo, Guy Chiasson (Air Canada), Sodogodo Tidiani, and JP Voutat.

The 'First Bonspiel in Africa' was held in the rink in Abidjan in the 1972-73 season. The January 1973 issue of the Scottish Curler magazine has the following report, "An International Curling Tournament was held for the first time on the new indoor rink of the 'Ivoire Inter-Continental Hotel', Abidjan, on the Ivory Coast. Two teams from St Moritz, one from Paris, and two from Abidjan (which included several Canadians) took part in this first tournament on African soil. There were a great number of spectators, who, as a result of good publicity, were astonishingly well versed.

The interest shown in curling is so considerable that through the success of this tournament, the foundation stone for curling has been laid in Abidjan. The chief initiators were Edwin Kilcher, a member of the Curling Club Engiadina, St Moritz, an exporter who has owned a plantation on the Ivory Coast for more than thirty-five years; D Pasquier, Director of Swissair, Abidjan; Mr and Mrs Moshe Meier, and Mr Carpentier, the General Manager of the Hotel Ivoire.

This very attractive sports event was perfected by the official appearance of members of the Ministry of Culture, the Minister for Tourism, and by representatives from television and radio. The following were present at the prizegiving: the Minister for Tourism and his wife, the Swiss Ambassador
and the big new Curling Family of Abidjan."

The event was won by this St Moritz team (L-R) Roby Kohler, Rita Kilcher, Bobby zen Ruffinen (skip), and Erwin Degiacomi.

Although the first international tournament only involved five teams (mostly ex-pats and visitors), the second bonspiel in November 1973 was well supported with sixteen teams involved. Edinburgh travel agent Robert Sibbald had tried to get a Scottish team to travel to Africa, but without success. We can learn a lot about the event from an article written by Robert O Young, and American curler living in Monrovia, Liberia, at the time, as he sent the following to Robin Welsh, the Editor of the Scottish Curler. "I have never seen anything carried off so well and smoothly. There are only 26 members of the Abidjan Curling Club and they have been organised less than two years. It seems that when their large Ice Rink was installed, curling stones and brooms were also supplied. A banana planter, Ed Kilcher, a Swiss, got people interested and now they curl every Thursday evening and Saturday morning.

They have some excellent teams and have sent curlers to Canada and Europe. They will be at the big men's week-long tournament at Quebec next winter and will have some members at the 'Silver Broom' in Berne in March. Who ever goes to Quebec should look up the Abidjan team, especially Dominique Moscolo, a Canadian located here, who was Chairman of the Tournament.

Last year, they had their first bonspiel and had five entries, from Switzerland and Abidjan. This year there were 16 - ten rinks from Switzerland, one from France, four from Abidjan, and one from the USA (us). A Swiss jeweller gave the Piaget Trophy, the second prize was a large ivory tusk, and carved art was given to other prize winners. Over 60 people came from Switzerland on an 8-day excursion.

Abidjan is a beautiful city with a wonderful hotel with swimming pools. It was interesting to see curlers leaving the ice, eating bananas, and diving into a pool or lagoon.

We made many friends. I am full of enthusiasm but it is warranted. The Club is off to a good start. It seems strange to think that you are facing cold weather while we are having to stand a very hot sun!"

The winners were a team from Thun, Switzerland: Frannz Marti (skip), with Waldemar Kilcheer, Fritz Buttner and Hansrudolph Immer. Abidjan CC teams took second and fourth places in the competition.

 
By 1974 Curling Club Abidjan had 40 members according to the entry in the 1974-75 Annual. Unfortunately, the members are not named in this Annual, nor in any thereafter. It would be interesting to know how many of the members were ex-pats, and how many were Ivorians. The last entry for the Abidjan CC was in the 1984-85 Annual. Roger Pasquier was the club's secretary for the twelve years that the club was affiliated to the RCCC.

As well as travelling to the competitions mentioned in Robert Young's article (above), teams from Abidjan competed in the Johnnie Walker Highland Week of International Curling, at Aviemore, in 1974 and again in 1976. The Scotsman reported that, "Skip Jean Gobeil agreed that the steamy heat of equatorial Africa was a far cry from the snow and wind of the Highlands."

I have looked everywhere for a photo of curling at the Abidjan rink. The only one I've found so far is this from c1982. You can find the story behind it in this article.

The only Scot that I know of who curled in Abidjan was Bob Martin, from Edinburgh. There may be others! Hopefully this blog post will reach Bob and he might be able to tell us more of the Abidjan story.

ADDED LATER. John Brown has sent this image of an Abidjan CC pin badge! Thanks John.

So does that cover curling in Africa? It does not. The Annual for 1982-83 has a record of a curling club in Johannesburg, South Africa, above, and this club was included in the RCCC Annual every year thereafter, until the 1995-96 issue. So, there's more African research to be done!

And in case anyone thinks I've forgotten, there is of course the 'Sub-Zero Sweepers', a spoof African curling team sponsored by Nando's. Possibly the most unusual ad campaign ever! YouTube still has this introduction, and also the clip of the cheerleaders, here. Unforgettable.

The pic of the Abidjan team in Paris was taken by Roger de Backer and appeared in the September 1973 Scottish Curler. The photo of the winners of the first African Bonspiel is from the January 1973 Scottish Curler. The photo of a player on the Abidjan rink is from here.