Sturling, also referred to as stick curling, continues to grow in popularity for good reason. A case and point is the sold-out Joey Hyde-Wilson Cochrane Sturling Bonspiel on Feb. 18.
Twenty-four teams of two participated in the funspiel, says Chair Myrna Fink. Half came from Lethbridge, Calgary, and Airdrie.
A local league of 13 teams plays Friday afternoon. Fink says they are hoping to add a second time slot in the fall. Local teams also travel to bonspiels outside of the community, particularly in Airdrie, where there are over 50 teams in league play.
Sturling allows people to continue to enjoy curling when they are no longer able to get out of the hack. It's particularly popular with older people or those with ailments.
Don't let that fool you. It continues to challenge your curling skills.
At each end, one team member delivers six rocks. It amounts to 18 rocks per game, about the same as regular curling.
Because sweeping is limited, it requires accurate delivery. Sweeping is only allowed after the rock passes the hog line on the opposite end of the rink, so there's no time for a major correction. Each member of the team must stay on their end of the rink for the duration of the game. So, one person is delivering the rocks while the other calls the shot and is left alone to sweep.
Fink points out younger curlers also play, and some of them were in the bonspiel, including acclaimed curler Morgan Muise.
"We've got young people out there today because it's a good place to practice your skipping and your delivery as well," she explains.
When the tournament returned from hiatus last March, it was renamed in honour of Joey Hyde-Wilson, who founded the sturling league in Cochrane and was a long-time advocate and instructor of the sport.
"It keeps you in the game," she told Cochrane Now in 2018. "I will continue to organize this league as long as I can get one person away from sitting in front of the TV. If I can get that person on the ice, I've done my job."
She passed away on Sept. 2, 2021, at age 80.
Fink says they would like to thank their sponsors for their generous support in making the bonspiel a success.