2014 DIY Bonspiel a Success!

The second annual DIY Bonspiel was held at the Evergreen Curling Club Jan 17-19, 2014. If you weren’t able to attend, you didn’t miss much…..other than the good ice, good curling, good friends, good times and great food!! A hearty thank you go out to Peren and his Ice-Ops crew for taking such good care of the ice, and to all of the curlers who brought so many great dishes for the Saturday potluck. The food was excellent!
I was particularly pleased to see so many people that I’d never met. I think there were more new faces at this bonspiel than any other ECC bonspiel. It’s a great indication that ECC’s membership is continuing to grow, and it was exciting to see.

— posted by Steve Liske

Congratulations to the 2014 DIY Bonspiel winners:

A Bracket: Doug Schaak, Steve Liske, Matt McVicar (not shown) and Thomas Poon
B Bracket: Brian Kuns, Karissa Kuns, Erica Jankowski and Neal Oliver
C Bracket (not shown): Arnie Iwanick, Eleanor Robertson, Craig Webster and David Milne

2014 DIY Bonspiel

January 17-19, 2014 at Evergreen Curling Club

Registration Link — CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Register now for a fun, informal bonspiel at Evergreen Curling Club in Portland, OR.

The DIY bonspiel will be open format, welcoming teams with any combination of men, women, young, old, able-bodied or wheelchair curlers.   This bonspiel is designed to be “do it yourself” with potluck meals and no prizes for winners.   As such it’s entry fee is much lower than other bonspiels.    For only $100 per team your team gets at least three games of great competition.

First games on Friday January 17, 2014 begin at 6pm, 8pm and 10:15pm PT.

The spiel will use a traditional ABC bracket so that you are guaranteed at least three games during the weekend.   We will accept only 18 teams into the DIY spiel, so get your entry in soon.   Or enter as an individual and we will try to find a team for you.

Registration is open to all ECC curlers.

Refunds will not be given for cancellations less than one week prior to the event.

Registration Link — CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

January 17-19 at Evergreen Curling Club

Sweet Site in Ft Wayne, Indiana

I smiled a big smile when I saw the latest blog post at the Ft Wayne Curling Club blog:  link

Craig Fischer and a group of volunteers signed a lease for an unused building, and they plan to turn it into a new dedicated three-sheet curling facility.   This is exciting stuff, and we wish them well.   Ft Wayne CC has not been around for a long time, but already they have established themselves as successful and industrious.   For the past few years they have run a successful summer bonspiel, and this year they hosted the first ever USA arena curling championships.

Now they have a plan to go dedicated.   We called this plan the “Honda Model“, and Craig calls it “Legal Ice”.   The idea is that a fledgling curling club needs just two things:  (1) frozen water and (2) a certificate of occupancy.   Everything else is secondary.   Of course, we can and do want more, much more, but by keeping our sights set on the bare minimum we are much more likely to quell disputes about extra frills and we are much more likely to do what we love, curling.

Please consider supporting Ft. Wayne CC, Coyotes CC, Triangle CC, Denver CC, Pittsburgh CC, Charlotte CC or one of the other USA curling clubs currently making a push to transition from arena curling to dedicated curling ice.   These groups are taking big risks, and all curlers benefit from their successes.



Curling Stones Return Home

1-IMG_4174 After spending summer in Winnipeg, Evergreen Curling Club’s reconditioned stones returned home to Portland last week.   A crack team of volunteers unboxed, dusted, cleaned, printed, re-handled and weighed all of the stones before replacing back into the ice shed.

Thanks to Scott Klinkhammer, Dave Bueerrman, Nancy Bueerrman, Bruce Joncas, Steve Liske and of course icemaker Peren Bjork for spending quality time with ECC’s granite on Saturday.Cleaning the stone


Three hours of hard labor and tender care returned the dusty stones to magnificent shape.   Printing of the stones will help us to track future degradation of the running surfaces and helps us to see how much the stones changed as a result of the re-conditioning.   For example, here is a scanned image of a running surface print prior to reconditioning.  Click on the image to see the full details.

Blueprint of curling stone before reconditioning

Notice the many white areas which indicate small pits and other imperfections where the running surface was not fully touching the ice. After re-conditioning each running surface is smoother and more consistent as shown in the second  scanned image below.   In the second image, the dark areas are more uniform which indicate a smooth consistent surface of granite.      The prints look good, but of course we need to put the stones to the real test on the ice in early October when Evergreen CC opens for Fall leagues, bonspiels and playdowns.

blueprint of stone after reconditioning

This project is part of Evergreen CC’s Competitive Curling Initiative and was made possible by a grant from the Washington County Visitors Association.

New Measurement Tools

1-IMG_41461-IMG_4144Behold Evergreen CC icemaker Peren Bjork showing off two new curling measurement tools.   This summer we acquired a new competition measurement tool which will help us to compare stones’ proximity to the center of the house.    We also picked up a new biter measure tool which helps to determine whether a stone is in or out of the house.

Last year we used an old, imprecise stone measurement tool, and our biter measure was constructed out of PVC pipe by Peren himself.   Ahhhh, the good ole days…


The acquisition of these tools, like the re-conditioning of Evergreen CC’s stones, is part of Evergreen CC’s Competitive Curling Initiative and was made possible by a grant from the Washington County Visitors Association.    Thanks to ECC’s grants committee (Cecile Baril, Elena Pratt, Eann Rains and Dana Watson) for writing the grant proposal, and thanks to Craig Webster and Peren Bjork for researching and acquiring the two measurement tools.

The new measurement tools will help you to have more fun curling this year and will make ECC’s facility even more attractive for competitive events such as MoPac playdowns which demand precise measurements to help determine who will represent the MoPac region (California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Oregon) at US national-level championships.

UPDATE:  see the new blog post providing  information about using these tools.

Stone Reconditioning

Dave and Wayne Removing Stone HandlesEvergreen CC’s curling stones will look and play like new starting this Fall thanks to a summertime reconditioning program. In early June a crew of 7 (Peren Bjork, Ron Fairley, Wayne Brock, Dave Bueermann, Nancy Bueermann, Alex Irvin and Bruce Irvin) removed the stones’ handles, packed the stones into boxes, stacked them on a freight pallet and sent them to Thompson’s Rink Equipment, Ltd. in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Thompson’s then reconditioned all 64  of ECC’s Blue Trefor stones (4 sets). This includes reconditioning the running surface of each stone (both sides) and reconditioning the strike bands. The reconditioning will make each running surface like new as well as making the whole set uniform (as much as imperfections in the existing granite allow).  Reconditioning of the strike bands makes them more convex (less flat), prevents damage caused by collisions and narrows the area of impact, making the stones more lively in collisions.

The stones are due to return to ECC during the last week of August.    We also sent the Nipper blades and one Ice King blade to Winnipeg to be sharpened.   Together, the work cost approximately $10,000.   This project is part of Evergreen CC’s Competitive Curling Initiative and was made possible by a grant from the Washingtonwcvalogo County Visitors Association.    Thanks to ECC’s grants committee (Cecile Baril, Elena Pratt, Eann Rains and Dana Watson) for writing another successful grant proposal.

Reconditioned stones will help you to have more fun curling this year and will make ECC’s facility even more attractive for competitive events such as MoPac playdowns which demand consistent, high quality curling stones to help determine which curlers will represent the MoPac region (California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Oregon) at US national-level championships.

DIY Bonspiel Results

Everybody had a great time curling this past weekend (Feb. 22-24, 2013) in Evergreen CC’s DIY Bonspiel!    The field included veteran teams, league teams, pickup teams,  juniors, seniors, and everything in between.    Good curling and great times all around.

My favorite final was the B Event in which Jason Hill’s team won it in the 8th end against a team consisting of Steve Liske and three brand new curlers fresh out of Novice League.   Jason told me later that he was afraid that it was going to go down to a single-draw tie-breaker, and his draw weight was not smelling sweet.   He was considering getting his third (Eric Hanson) to throw it, but thankfully didn’t need to after winning the game outright.   Meanwhile, Ryan, Steve’s third, made a memorable double-takeout in the fifth end that sent the warm room crowd into a delirious celebration.    Fantastic shot, Ryan!

Here are the 2013 Evergreen Curling Club DIY Bonspiel A, B and C event Champions:

A Event

Doug Schaak and his  team sailed through the draw unscathed to win it all.  Congratulations to Doug, Jim Smoltz, Dan Sorensen and Jason “this makes the drive from Corvallis so much sweeter” Clifford.   Team Schaak had a momentary scare when the Whirlies stole two on them Friday night, and they needed to curl well to overcome Adam Harris’ Van Lightning team in the final.

B Event

Jason Hill’s team looked down and out after being shellacked on Friday night, but they regrouped on Saturday, picked up steam on Sunday morning and eked out victory Sunday afternoon.   Cheers to Jason, Eric Hanson, Steve Ellis and George “thank goodness we caught the Whirlies napping” Middleton for the victory.

C Event

Wayne Brock’s hastily assembled Dream Team prevailed over Matt “what, we have to curl again??” Starr’s exhausted squad in the C Event final.   Both teams played well and entertained the warm room crowd with exciting ends and expert shotmaking.   Congratulations to Wayne, Eleanor Robertson, Ron Fairley and Kristy Schnabel.

Many, many thanks to the bonspiel committee (Art Placek, Joe Maser, Kris Klinkhammer and Doug Schaak) for organizing the event, especially to Art for creating and coordinating the draw and to Joe Maser for organizing the potluck.   Thanks to all of the curlers for bringing food to share.    My favorite dish was Smoltz’s pulled pork.   Delicious.    Thanks too to all of the bartenders and video personnel for keeping things well-lubricated and well-documented.

If any of you took photos of the event, then send them to me, and I will add them to this blog post for all to see.


Get a Good Real Estate Agent

A curler from Houston recently asked me, “Did Evergreen CC search on their own for a warehouse building or did you use a real estate agent?” Really good question.

We tried a couple of real estate agents and settled on Jon Rubey in Portland, OR.  Jon was able to learn the unique constraints of curling, he had good relationships with many building owners, and he worked hard to complete the deal. For example, he used a personal connection with a specific building owner to not only find the right building but to also convince the building owner to make some crucial modifications that were necessary for the curling use.

So I recommend that you find a good real estate agent in your area, be completely honest and up front about what you need and what you can afford, and then work with them patiently to find the right building and get the deal in place.

You have to be patient for two reasons.   First, curling has some unique constraints (see the DIY blog articles like this one and this one for more details about this).  Second, there are many not-so-great real estate agents in the world (they ain’t all Jon Rubey), and you need to be ready to move on if you find yourself with an agent who is not working well for you.
Recently Jon himself tried curling, and I had a chance to ask him for his perspective about the role of the agent and the club in finding the right building.   He said, “The sport of curling presents a unique requirement but not impossible. In my opinion your key to success will be: 1) Being able to tell a good story on your use and the limited impact curling will have on any building. How your use is communicated to the city and building owners is very important. 2) Work with an agent that is a creative thinker. You will never find the ideal space….just something that may work better than the ‘other space’.  3) An agent that has good relationships with landlords and understands what landlords like and dislike will save you time and energy.”
BTW, we did search on our own too.   We frequented loopnet, and we asked all of our curlers to be on the lookout for prospect buildings.   Whenever they brought something to me that looked promising I notified Jon.   He then investigated and worked with me to evaluate it.   This system worked pretty well.   But ultimately our final resting place came about when Jon utilized a relationship that he had with a specific building owner and convinced the owner to make a couple of crucial modifications that enabled us to fit 3 sheets of curling ice.