Origins of the Ilderton Curling Club

The first curling in Ilderton took place one cold night when some 60 or 70 people gathered at the hockey rink to participate in the game of curling. It was about the middle of December in 1960. While everyone was dressed warmly and wore rubber-soled footwear, many, if not most, had little or no knowledge of the game. They were there to find out and to take part and what resulted was more a “Curling Party” than an organization meeting for a new sport club.

A few brash individuals set themselves up as coaches. Anyone who admitted to any familiarity with the game became a skip. Teams were formed and before the evening was over everyone had the chance to play an actual game. The games were not more than six ends to allow everyone a chance to play. Curling conditions were less than ideal and delivery techniques were varied and sometimes remarkable. But the competition was keen. One game was decided by the last stone and the reaction of the winning team was not unlike that of the victors in the Silver Broom. The “Curling Bug” had bitten.

If there was one person most responsible for beginning the Ilderton Curling Club, it would probably be Roy Gropp, who, at the time, was a Manager of the local Bank of Commerce. He led a group that included Murray Roberts, Principal of Oxbow Public School, Rev. Bruce Guy, of the United Church, Bill Beadle, Keith Bice, Odin Olsen, and Lloyd Thorsley. Somehow curling stones, hacks and brooms were acquired and the natural ice in the hockey rink was laid out with four sheets of curling ice.

The enthusiasm that began to show that first night carried on and the Ilderton Curling Club has been a continuing operation ever since. The efforts of Roy Gropp and his group were more than fully rewarded. No one at the time could have visualized the present Ilderton Curling Club but when opportunity is provided, the Ilderton community makes things happen. The “Community Spirit” was there; curling was an attractive recreation. The result was another facility and another activity for Ilderton.

Taken from the November 1984 issue of the ICC Courier
by Lloyd Thorsley

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