Bonspiel attracts keen curlers
Mon, 09 Jul 2012 6:33p.m.
Temperatures of minus 7degC couldn't put off hardy curlers from heading to Oturehua this morning.
Low hanging fog meant players had to focus to see the other end, and bright yellow jackets helped curlers keep track of their teammates.
The call went out to players across the country on Saturday, with the Idaburn Dam frozen up to 12cm deep - the thick ice layer is needed to support the weight of the 250 players here, and the 250 20kg stones as well
Nearly every curling club in the country is here, at what is just the fifth national bonspiel since 1995.
“I think what makes it so exciting is that it's not held very often, and when it's held it's something special,” says icemaster Stewart McKnight.
There are a few celebratory drinks to help warm up the bodies and plenty of other activities for those not keen on curling and for the a hearty hot lunch refuels the players, many who've taken a few days off work for the event.
And even the region's mayor downed tools for the day.
“I had to clear my desk to get out here today,” says Central Otago District Mayor Tony Lepper. “But I think it's accepted, if you say you've been called to the bonspiel, I think you're allowed to lock the doors.”
Each game takes around four hours, with teams playing twice the number of ends they would in an indoor curling match.
“You have to be a bit stronger on this because it's harder to throw the stone from one end to the other,” says veteran curler Peter Becker.
Teams have two more games as the tournament continues tomorrow, with a bit of sun expected to ease the chilly conditions.
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