Fandemonium in Tillsonburg

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The popularity of the Toronto Maple Leafs was apparent at the Tillsonburg Curling Club Saturday during the 20th annual Curl for Kids Sake.

“We always have a theme attached to all of our events and this year – for bowling and curling – it is Fandemonium,” said said Deb Landon, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area. “So it’s your favourite sports teams. If you look around, everyone’s got their favourite jersey on, they’ve got their favourite teams.”

The first day of the curling fundraiser happened in Ingersoll on Feb. 2 with eight teams playing in one ‘draw.’ Another eight teams played at the Tillsonburg Curling Club Saturday, Feb. 9.

“We’re down a bit (in teams) but the enthusiasm and the energy is still there,” said Landon.

Scotiabanks in Tillsonburg and Dorchester were both major sponsors financially and provided teams, including ‘skip’ David Abrams, branch manager of Scotiabank Tillsonburg, a former in-school mentor.

“Dave was one of the first in-school mentors in Tillsonburg,” said Landon. “I did a presentation to his staff – I think it was in 2002 he tells me – and we had seven volunteers that came out of that presentation. Two of them still volunteer to this day and Dave continues to be very involved with the organization’s activities.”

Approximately $16,000 was raised in the two-day event this year.

“It is a little bit below our goal of $20,000, but we are down two draws so that does have an impact. Hopefully next time we host it we’ll have some more teams, but there are always ups and downs, ebbs and flows with any event.”

Teams enjoyed two six-end games of curling, Tim Hortons coffee, donuts and muffins in the morning, and a hot lunch after their first game.

“We have wonderful prizes for the top fundraising team and then everyone gets a door prize. So it’s a great day… and luckily the weather was great – everyone was able to make it in.”

Saturday’s event in Tillsonburg, which saw fans wearing various NHL hockey jerseys including Ottawa and Chicago, the overwhelming majority Toronto, as well as the Quebec Nordiques and Team Canada, along with football and baseball jerseys – and even local Tillsonburg Twisters ringette.

“It’s nice to see some of the returning teams, and I think there are three or four new teams out today,” said Landon. “They’re experiencing curling for the first time, so it is a great way to be introduced to the sport. They said they’re having a lot of fun learning curling.”

Two of the teams could not provide participants Saturday but wanted to support the event, so their on-ice positions were filled by Big Brother matches and Big Sister matches. It was something fun to do as a match, said Landon, and they had an opportunity to learn a new sport.

Unlike a traditional bonspiel, it’s not about earning the top score at Curl for Kids Sake.

“It’s about having fun,” said Landon. “And raising funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s a great way for people to learn more about the organization and to meet other people that are supporting us.”

Funds raised in Ingersoll and Tillsonburg support the organization’s mentoring programs and services.

“We service about 250 children a year through our different programs.”