The International Curling Fellowship of Rotarians
The International Curling Fellowship of Rotarians was formed by Rotarians who had a love for the sport of curling. Curling’s inclusion into the Olympics has made it a much more recognized sport worldwide.
Although it is not known exactly where curling began, the term curling was first recorded in Scotland. Indications are that the sport developed around Perth, Scotland and spread out from there. The original stones used were uneven and not rounded. Uniformity of stones came around 1839. Today all stones are made to very detailed specifications, from granite obtained from the island, Ailsa Craig off the west coast of Scotland.
Beginning of Fellowship
The Curling Fellowship of Rotarians received its status from R.I. in 1972, but its origin came out of a group of Rotarians representative of Scotland, Canada and the U.S.A., that had organized a Rotary curling tour to Scotland in 1956. In 1957 Rotarians from Scotland returned to curl in Canada, (Quebec and Ontario) and in the U.S.A., in the area of Utica and Schenectady, in New York. The U.S.A withdrew from the curling tour after the 1957 trip. Since 1958 the curling tour has taken place every two years with Scotland and Canada alternating as hosts. The tour now involves 22 Rotarians who are home hosted during the 3 week curling tour.
The individuals that developed the Curling tour were Aubrey Legge, a P.D.G from Montreal, and Bob MacKintosh of Scotland
In 1972, Aubrey Legge turned his efforts to having a curling fellowship approved by R.I. Within two months he had the backing of District Governors in Canada, Scotland, U.S.A., and Sweden. This was followed by a formal application to R.I. In May of 1972 the International Curling Fellowship of Rotarians was recognized.
The objects of the Curling Fellowship are to promote international fellowship between curling Rotarians and to hold every two years a curling competition to determine the champion of the Curling Fellowship.
The first competition took place in Lachute, Quebec with teams from Scotland, Canada and the U.S.A., and being won by a team from Montreal. Since then the championship has been won 8 times by Canada, 7 times by Scotland and once by the U.S.A. The winner receives the coveted silver bell with a Rotary Wheel on top. The winners of the first and second place team receive Gold and Silver Medals. The third place team receives a Bronze Medal.
Scotland and USA are each allowed 3 teams in the Championship Event along with Eastern Canada 2, Western Canada 2, and England 1. Those spots are hotly contested by many Rotary clubs.
Besides Canada, the U.S.A., and Scotland, Sweden sent a team to compete in 1990. Since 1994 a team from Berwick-Upon-Tweed representing England has entered the championship.
In 1996, Peterborough, Canada introduced a friendship competition comprising of Rotarians who had played in or had hosted previous world championships, so that Rotary friendships created could continue to grow.
The last championship was held in Grande Prairie, Alberta Canada in April 2016 where Niagara Falls Ontario won the Gold in Championship Event and Guelph Ontario brought home the Gold in Friendship Event.
The 2018 event will be held in Hamilton, Scotland with up to 11 teams competing in the championship event and up to 16 teams in the friendship event. The curling competition involves a round robin with two games per day. At the conclusion of the round robin the top 4 teams compete in a semifinal and a final in both events.
Aside from the curling, the fellowship events include an opening reception, home hospitality, attendance at a Rotary meeting and finally the closing banquet with presentation of trophy and awards.
The week also includes a meeting of the fellowship’s executive. The venues for the upcoming championships are: Hamilton Scotland in 2018 and USA in 2020
The many traditions and customs associated with the sport of curling, including its camaraderie, fit like a hand in a glove with Rotary fellowship. The 150 plus Rotarians and spouses look forward to a great week of fellowship at the curling championships.
- Vernon Boyd, President – Grande Prairie, Alberta Canada. Sunrise Sunrise Rotary Club of Grande Prairie. District 5370
- Alison(Alay) Milne, Vice-President – Methven Perth Scotland. Perth Rotary Club
- Joe Kapron Sec-Treas. – Peterborough, Ontario. Rotary Club of Peterborough