This season the USWCA sponsored Five Year & Under Bonspiels are again 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.
For the first time, new curlers may choose to curl in more than one area and in either or BOTH events; the Five Year & Under Open Challenge, which is open to both men and women, and/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. Choose to curl in the host club in your area, or broaden your horizons by curling in one of the other four areas. Host clubs have the option of giving teams from their area priority over teams coming from other areas, but in most instances teams from other areas are most welcome. Check below to see which clubs are hosting 5 Year & Under Bonspiels this season and sign up NOW!
- This season the Duluth Curling Club hosted the Five and Under Open Challenge on January 20 - 22, 2017. They had an impressive turnout with 24 teams participating in the event. The winning team was from Eau Claire, Wisconsin with skip Zach Oliphant, vice Spencer Eklund, second Tyler Ronstad, and lead Nathan Oster. As new curlers, they were very excited to get pins and a TROPHY. The runners-up were skip Lars Benson, vice Nate Lehman, second Rob Anderson, and lead Neil Olsen. Congratulations!
This was Duluth's first time hosting a Five and Under bonspiel and they had a blast! They are looking forward to hosting more in the future and anticipate having even more teams sign up to curl in what turned out to be a very popular bonspiel. Their club also hosted the "Mens's Scot Tour" on the same day as their Five and Under finals, so it was pretty hectic for awhile. But, it turned out to be a wonderful experience for all those involved. Thank you, Duluth, for a job well done. Your organizational skills are to be admired.
- Last season the Four Seasons Curling Club from Blaine, Minnesota hosted the 5 & Under Open Bonspiel on December 12 - 13, 2015. They had 16 teams participate in this fun event. Congratulations go to the 1st Event Winners from the Four Seasons Curling Club: skip Craig Nicko, vice Cyndy Jerde, second Curt Crego, and lead Carrie Crego and the 1st Event Runners-up from Frogtown Curling Club: skip Brian Agre, vice Kate Momsen, second Max Currie, and lead Emily Rhode. This relatively new curling club did an excellent job making their new curlers feel welcome.
- The last 5 & Under for this season was hosted in the West II Area by the Evergreen Curling Club on March 24 - 25, 2017. They were thrilled to get sixteen teams from across the country to participate in their bonspiel. Teams from Bend, OR, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, Seattle, WA, Madison, WI, Hollywood, CA, and San Francisco, CA, came to curl and check out Portland, OR. There was even a player from Anchorage, AK who joined in the fun on an Evergreen team. The 1st Event Winners were from the Granite Curling Club in Seattle, Washington with skip Stephen Grant, vice Aaron Thompson, second Derek Ristau, and lead Gina Triolo. They were very excited to win the 5 & Under Plaque and looked forward to hanging it in their club. The 1st Event Runners-Up flew in from the Madison Curling Club in Wisconsin with Lauren Leckwee, Brad Orego, Allan Veler, and Nate Schwante. Congratulations to all. This was the first time the Evergreen Curling Club hosted a USWCA sponsored 5 & Under bonspiel. Many of their members participated in their very first bonspiel and found it to be a very rewarding experience. With their warmth and enthusiasm, they made it a rewarding experience for all the teams that participated as well.
- Last season the 5 & Under Open Challenge was hosted by the Denver Curling Club on March 18 - 20, 2016. They had 8 teams participate with three out of state teams: the Coyotes Curling Club from Arizona, the Curling Club of Houston from Texas and the Four Seasons Curling Club from Minnesota. Congratulations went to the 1st Event Winners from the Four Seasons Curling Club: skip Craig Nicko, vice Cyndy Jerred, second Curt Crego, and lead Carrie Crego. The 1st Event Runners Up From the Denver Curling Club: skip Derek Anderson, vice Sara Cai, second Brian Brown, and lead Judy Brown. The Denver Curling Club had such a blast running their USWCA sponsored Sham-ROCK 5 & Under, that they are eager to host again. New curlers will again have the opportunity to curl at this great club.
- Wisconsin is hosting two 5 & Under Bonspiels this season.
- The 5 & Under Open Challenge was hosted by the Centerville Curling Club on December 2 - 4, 2016. Sixteen teams participated from ten different clubs. The 16 team draw included a playback for the losers of the third game in the 1st and 2nd events. Congratulations go to the 1st Event Winners, the Friedrichsen Rink from the Marshfield Curling Club with skip Dennis Friedrichsen, vice Rachel Krentz, second Tony Krentz, and lead Jordan Munger. The 1st Event Runners-Up were the Hewes Rink from the Milwaukee Curling Club with skip Evan Hewes, vice Ken Bowman, second Craig Biggio, and lead Marc Sundquist. All the teams participating enjoyed Centerville's hospitality by hanging out at their club both nights and developing the camaraderie that make curling a very special sport. The highlight of the weekend was the banquet on Saturday night, which consisted of great food followed by an acoustic guitar duo who entertained the crowd. Many thanks go to the Centerville Curling Club for making their bonspiel a very memorable experience for all who attended.
- The Blackhawk Curling Club in Janesville, Wisconsin, hosted the USWCA sponsored 5 & Under Women's Challenge on February 24-25, 2017. This was the first time the Wisconsin Area hosted a Women's 5 & Under Bonspiel in almost twenty years. It was only fitting that the Blackhawk Curling Club should step up to the challenge of reintroducing this women's event to Wisconsin. They are passionate about curling and are true advocates of promoting women's curling. (They even start their season with a women's bonspiel called the First Chance.) Although they only had ten teams participate, the numbers are sure to grow in the future as more women discover what a great opportunity the 5 & Under Women's Bonspiel provides for women to hone their curling skills and have a great time doing it. The winners of the 1st Event were from the Madison Curling Club with skip Mandy Hampton, vice Stephanie Sears, second Kim Slininger, and lead Jaquee Blaz. The runners-up were also from the Madison Curling Club with skip Andie McDonald, vice Andrianna Crawford, second Emily Wood, and lead Josie Greve. Congratulations to all the finalists and a big thank you to all the participants that joined the Blackhawk Curling Club for a great weekend of women's curling.
- Last season the club 21st Annual USWCA sponsored 5 Year and Under Open Challenge Bonspiel took place at the Racine Curling Club January 15 - 17, 2016. Sixteen teams competed on two sheets of ice in non-stop action. New friendships were born and a great time was had by all. Congratulations go to the winners of the 1st Event, the Lundbohm Rink from the Wauwatosa Curling Club with skip Nick Lundbohm, vice Phil Hansen, second Jeremy Rynders, and lead Tony Just. The 1st Event Runners-Up were the McGlynn Rink from Madison Curling Club with skip Bill McGlynn, vice Lauren Leckwee, second Ben Brewer, and lead Allan Veler. Because of the popularity of this event, it was a challenge limiting the number of teams to only sixteen. The Racine Curling Club did a great job with their two sheets of ice. Looking ahead, we will try to make sure that this popular bonspiel will be at clubs with MORE sheets of ice. Look forward to seeing this Club host a 5 & Under Women's Challenge in the future.
- This season's 5 & Under Open Challenge was held on January 21-22, 2017 at the Detroit Curling Club. The Detroit Curling Club is one of the oldest curling clubs in the United States and the oldest athletic club in Michigan. The Central Area was well represented with sixteen teams participating from the following curling clubs: Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Fort Wayne, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Mayfield, Midland, Traverse, and Troy. Saturday games were played in two team divisions with the winning teams from each division playing in the semi-finals Sunday morning. The Detroit Curling Club made the afternoon finals extra special by having the teams piped out on the ice. Their new curlers were thrilled to be able to experience this time honored curling tradition. They were also very appreciative to be awarded USWCA 5 & Under pins and winning plaque. The winner of the 1st Event was the Lopez Team from Detroit with skip Josh Lopez, vice Ken German, second Chris Golec, and lead Denis Metty. Runners-up were the Mann Team from the Mayfield Curling Club with skip Michael Mann, vice Jeff Ostrander, second Paul Tecco, and lead Ed Ostrander. Congratulations! Thank you to the Detroit Curling Club for providing their new curlers with a truly memorable experience.
- There were two 5 & Under bonspiels hosted by clubs in the Central Area last season.
- The 5 & Under Open Challenge was hosted by the Midland Curling Club on January 23 - 24, 2016. The 16 team bonspiel filled up so quickly that teams had to be turned away. The Midland Curling Club was impressed to have six different clubs from the Central Area represented in their finals. The first event winners were Team Lothamer from the Midland Curling Club - skip Doug Lothamer, vice Evan Bergman, second Brian Czech, and lead Josh Lauderman. Congratulations to the winning teams and a thank you to all the teams that participated. Everyone appreciated the Midland Curling Club for all their hard work hosting the event.
- On March 19 - 20, 2016, the Cleveland Skating Club in Cleveland, Ohio, hosted the 5 & Under Women's Challenge; the USWCA Central Shamrock Challenge for lady curlers. The club had six teams participating, all of whom were from Ohio: one team from the Cleveland Skating Club, one team from the Bowling Green Curling Club, and four teams from the Columbus Curling Club. The games were all close, the food was great, the laughs were plenty, and the camaraderie was wonderful! Congratulations to the winning team from Columbus: skip Lisa Kluchorsky, vice Kara Gustavson, second Leeanne Chandler, and lead Mary Kay Rohrkemper. Good Curling!
- The first USWCA sponsored 5 & Under Open Challenge Bonspiel this season was held at the Cape Cod Curling Club on October 28 - 29, 2016. They are a charming three sheet club located in Falmouth, Massachusetts. All agreed that Halloween was a great time to hold this event. It was a fun and successful spiel with twelve teams participating. In addition to the Cape Cod teams, there were two wheelchair curlers from Long Island and Connecticut, a team from Buck County and from Nashua, two South Shore teams, and a composite team from Norfolk/Nutmeg. The winning team was a Cape Cod team called the Boo Rocks with skip Mark Wilson, vice Will Gerlach, second Bill Waite, and lead Carolyn Wurm. The runners-up in the first event were the Cape Cod Booregards with skip Courtney Lee Beauregard, vice Carrie Gentile, second Suzanne LaValle, and lead Patty Oakley. A big 'Thank You' to the Cape Cod Curling Club and their terrific bonspiel committee for making this such an enjoyable spiel for the new curlers in their East Area.
- The Ardsley Curling Club hosted the first USWCA sponsored 5 Year & Under Bonspiel last 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. This bonspiel is a MUST for all new curlers.
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 four 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. New curlers may curl in more than one Area and in either or both the USWCA sponsored 5 & Under Women's Challenge and the 5 & Under Open Challenge. Support the 5 & Under bonspiels in your Area but be aware of the opportunities to also curl in 5 & Under bonspiels across the country.
Host clubs may welcome curlers from all 5 Areas, but should give priority to teams from their Area.