The Memorial Family Classic Non-Curlers Bonspiel: Giving Back to the Community

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by Jim Dolan

For the past 29 years, the “Memorial Family Classic” has raised money every year for residents of our community, providing financial support to those who have been diagnosed with a debilitating disease. The Classic is an annual fundraising ball tournament that is held at the South Gower Ball Park on the second Saturday in June. It will be played June 13 this year. It has consistently attracted 20-plus teams.

To help achieve its ambitious annual fundraising goals, the Memorial Family Classic Committee began holding a Non-Curlers Bonspiel at the North Grenville Curling Club a few years back. The event has become so popular that it took only two days to attract 40 teams to the 2020 event held on February 1.

The team names are not household names like Koe, Jacobs, Gushue, Howard, Homan or Jones, and the four members on each team are not the elite players that we watch almost every week on TV during the curling season. Instead, they go by more unique names like Mr. Potato Head & the Spuds, Stone Cold Curlers, Vintage Vibes and Little Giants. Names that sound like the characters on each team should be on a reality TV show, or members of a 4-person tag-team in the WWE. The incredible thing about this event is that most of the teams have only one “actual” curler on each team.

To help level the playing field, the organizers have teams play only two four-end games during the day. The first and third ends of each game are scored like a regular curling game. The second and fourth ends are where the fun begins. Teams don’t know until the final rock is thrown and a dice is rolled, how the score will be determined for that end. There are six different scenarios. For example, sometimes it is how many rocks your team has closer to the hog line than your opposition. The next roll might result in the score being determined by how many more rocks your team has behind the backline relative to your opposition. It makes for a lot of fun and keeps everyone in the game until the final stone is delivered.

You can be sure that the winning team members on Team J.A. #1, Michelle MacGillivery, Jenna Brenno, Shane Cliff and Trevor Hill, will never appear on the Cover of Curling News. However, the families who benefit from the funds raised by this great event and the summer lob ball tournament will always remember the generosity of the normal everyday people who play in these events.

This year’s event was, once again, a huge success. The 160 participants and guests enjoyed a day of curling, a pizza lunch, a chili supper, and a couple of well deserved “soda pops” between games. After the supper, there were numerous draws for door prizes, a live auction, and a few presentations.

Rob Leatham won $465 in the 50-50 draw and promptly donated it back to the Memorial Family Classic Fund. Owen Henry won the Toonie Toss. For his effort, he won a rather large bottle of something that should be shared with friends, rather than consumed alone.

A live auction was also held which raised a considerable sum of money, with many of the items being claimed for much higher than their face values, including a 1-night stay at the Calabogie Lodge, two General Admission Kemptville Live Event Passes, a cooler that included several bottles of high-test refreshments donated by the Memorial Classic committee members, a cooler with a single large bottle of Appleton Rum and a Molson Cooler with 36 cans of ice-cold refreshments. Other auction items included a Canada Olympic Hockey jersey coupled with a basket of chocolates, a Paint Kit, and Sens Tickets.

Chad Valcour and the rest of the organizing committee want to thank the far-too-many-to-name sponsors, businesses and individuals plus the North Grenville Curling Club for their generous cash donations to the Classic Fund. The committee also sends a Big THANK YOU to all the curlers for their continued support of this event. The organizing committee held a moment’s silence in memory of Amy Pitchers. Amy was a friend to so many of the participants and a strong supporter the Memorial Classic fundraising events. Amy passed away in early January.

The final tally will not be known for a few days, but the organizers expect the event to raise roughly $7,000 for the Memorial Family Classic Fund. Thank you Chad and the organizing committee. Your dedication to this fundraising event and the proceeds it generates assists members of our community in a most positive and heartfelt way.

Check out the Facebook page @memorialfamilyclassic for updates on upcoming events and the Mission Statement.

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