This season the USWCA sponsored Five Year & Under Bonspiels are scheduled for ALL five Areas. Geographically located from east to west, the Areas are East, Central, Wisconsin, West I, and West II. Curling clubs across the country have recognized the importance of these events in providing new curlers with the opportunity to experience curling in other clubs, with curlers having the same skill levels, in positions they normally would not play. What an excellent way to promote curling. Pins for the winners and runners-up are provided by the USWCA, as is a traveling plaque that goes to the winning team. The plaque is engraved and passed on to the next host club. Curlers who have curled five years or less should take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and sign up to curl either as an individual or as a team in their area or in any of the other four areas for a more broadening experience. New curlers may choose to curl in one of two events; the Five Year & Under Open Challenge, which is open to both men and women, or the Five Year & Under Women's Challenge, which is for women only. Either one provides a great opportunity for 5 or less year curlers to enjoy the bonspiel experience on an entirely new level. Check below to see which club is hosting a 5 Year & Under Bonspiel in your area and sign up NOW!
- The West I Area 5 & Under was held at the Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, Minnesota on December 12 - 13, 2015. It was a 16 team Open bonspiel.
- Last season St. Paul Curling Club hosted 16 teams for their 5 & Under Open Challenge Bonspiel on February 7 - 8, 2015. The theme was The Heart of Curling. A composite team (Pryor) from Detroit/Ardsley won the first event. The other out of town team (Gangi) from Mankato, Minnesota was runner up in the fourth event. Some members of this team had never curled before this weekend but seemed to quickly grasp the skills required to be in the medal round! The other teams from the Twin Cities represented the Frogtown, Four Seasons, and St. Paul Curling Clubs. Great food, fun, and raves from these players confirmed the event was truly a success. They especially appreciated the USWCA 5 & Under pins. Congratulations to the First Event Winners - skip Will Pryor, vice Ann Gabhart, second Barbara Gabhart, and lead Patrick Cannon.
- This season the 5 & Under Open Challenge will be hosted by the Denver Curling Club. The dates are March 18 - 20, 2016.
In the West II Region, the newly dedicated Coyote Curling Club hosted its first USWCA sponsored 5 & Under Challenge. Three games were guarantee. A continental breakfast was served on Saturday and Sunday with a Pot Luck Dinner on Saturday evening. There were raffle prizes, a Halloween Costume Contest, and a 50/50 raffle. Congratulations to the First Event Winners from the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club - skip Reggie Wilcox, third Zevi Altus, second Shir Aharon, and lead Amanda Chang. The Coyote Curling Club enjoyed hosting this event so much that they are running a club 5 & Under Bonspiel this season. New curlers will have the opportunity to curl in two 5 & Under bonspiels in their area.
- This season the Racine Curling Club will host the 5 Year & Under Open Challenge. The dates are January 15 - 17, 2016.
- Last season the Madison Curling Club hosted the Wisconsin Area 5 & Under Open Challenge Bonspiel. It took place on January 16 - 18, 2015 at their six sheet facility in McFarland, WI. The 40 teams that were entered had an exciting weekend of curling, food, and fun. Congratulations to the First Event Winners from the Milwaukee Curling Club - skip Nick McLellan, vice Chris Apel, second Bob Sorheim, and lead Greg Bell. Go to the Madison CC 5 and Under page for photographs of all the event winners. To see the Slide Show of their 2015 bonspiel, go to YouTube.
- There are two 5 & Under bonspiels scheduled in the Central Area. The 5 & Under Open Challenge will be hosted by the Midland Curling Club on January 23 - 24, 2016. It will be on Saturday/Sunday with a 3 game guarantee and finals. The plan is to run it with 16 teams at a cost of $240 per team.
- The Cleveland Skating Club will be hosting the 5 & Under Women's Challenge on March 18 - 20, 2016.
- The 5 & Under Open Challenge was hosted by the Fort Wayne Curling Club last season on January 23 - 25, 2015. Their club has three sheets of ice where 18 teams played in the event. Congratulations to the First event winners from the Fort Wayne Curling Club: skip Craig Wickman, vice Stephen Imes, second Marina Rozzell, and lead Chris Keller.
- Last season the Mayfield Curling Club hosted the 5 Year & Under Women's Challenge. It was the last USWCA sponsored 5 & Under bonspiel of the season. Twelve teams from all over the area participated in the Women's 5 Year and Under Challenge on March 14 - 15, 2015. A great committee made sure the two days went smoothly. At the house party on Saturday night, teams in the finals and the consolation rounds were announced. Even though the club had to give up their ice for the weekend, seeing what a great experience it was for the ladies made it worthwhile. The club agreed that the USWCA sponsored 5 & Under program is wonderful for new curlers, and Mayfield would be willing to host another one in the future. The first event winner, from the Detroit Curling Club, was the Garrity Team: Jill Garrity, Ann Gabbhart, Julie Benson, and Kristine Rathke.
- The Ardsley Curling Club hosted the first USWCA sponsored 5 Year & Under Bonspiel for the season, aka the "Cool Duck", on the weekend of November 6 - 8, 2015. Twenty-four teams representing thirteen different clubs descended upon their three-sheet club for three full days of fun on and off the ice. A rubber ducky theme was spread throughout the club in decorations, giveaways, and even participants in costume on and off the ice. In an interesting twist of fate, all three games of the final draw went to a ninth end - a first in Ardsley history, according to the elder statesmen of the club. Congratulations to the First Event Winners from the Nutmeg Curling Club - Skip Craig Doucette, Vice Mike McCarthy, Second Larry Bocchiere, and Lead Andrew Hancock. Nutmeg 1 - Doucette, put up a riveting fight over team Ardsley 1 - Beaton for the Cool Duck Trophy. Team Beaton should be very proud of their efforts, as they put on the most entertaining show possible, coming back from being down four to tie the game and take it to an extra end. Craig Doucette made an amazing shot with the hammer in the ninth to secure the win. Replays of every game can be found on the Ardsley YouTube page.
- Last season, the Norfolk Curling Club was pleased to be the first club in the East to host the 5 & Under Open Challenge on November 14 - 16, 2014. This was a 4 event bonspiel with 12 teams participating. The teams were from Ardsley, Bucks County, Cape Cod, Nutmeg, Rutland, and Schenectady Curling Clubs. The main event was curling, curling, and more curling. Between draws, teams enjoyed watching their friends and new acquaintances compete with many hours of plate-glass skipping, good food, good conversation, and keeping up with their favorite non-curling sporting event on TV in the warm room. Everyone was highly complementary of the Norfolk club, the food, and the atmosphere. Congratulations to the First Event Winners from the Bucks County Curling Club - skip Greg Danks, vice Zac Gery, second Justin Lehmann, and lead Christi Freeman.
These popular bonspiels began in the GNCC. The first Women's Challenge event was held at Norfolk, CT in 1991 and was an official GNCC event. In 1993 the USWCA adopted the plan for a Women's Challenge to be held in each region/area of the United States. These events have become so popular that the USWCA now sponsors an Open Five Year and Under Bonspiel along with the Five Year and Under Women's Challenge.
In addition to being a terrific opportunity for newer curlers, the goal of these events is to give newer curlers a chance to experience a bonspiel, along with other clubs' participants with similar skill levels, meet other new curlers, and play positions they normally wouldn't play. It is felt that the curlers will feel less concern about attending regular bonspiels after they have played against others with the same experience.
There are beautiful traveling award plaques provided by the USWCA for the winning rinks in each bonspiel. Special pins are presented to winners and runners-up in all events.
All curlers with five years or less curling experience are eligible to participate. Membership in the USWCA is not necessary but in order to host one of the events, the host club must be a member. The Women's Challenge is made up of women's teams, but the Open Event may have teams made up of any combination. Team members do not have to all belong to the same curling club.
An Eligibility Form must accompany the Event Entry. The Eligibility Form must be signed by a Curling Club Officer, and verifies that each team member meets the criteria for under five years of curling.