The Hogs & Hoppers, Holiday Spiel – North Hill CC in Calgary

Twenty years ago, our board of directors, were brainstorming on hosting a bonspiel prior to the Christmas season, raise sponsorship funds for our junior program and revitalize the participation at the club. The general manager and the Board at the time, decided to work with Big Rock Brewery to create a product promotion of Big Rock beer and incorporate it into the format of the spiel. This also was designed to raise funds for our elite junior team (Thomas Usselman, Darren Moulding, Ryan Inaba & Matt Taylor) completing at the 2000 Junior Provincial & Canadian championships.

In partnership with Big Rock Brewery, we formatted the overall event to align to two of their signature products, Warthog and Grasshopper beer. This created our spiel namesake, ‘The Hogs & Hoppers, Holiday Spiel’.

The uniqueness of this spiel is our format is similar to the Continental Cup. There are two competing sides: ‘Hogs’ vs. ‘Hoppers’ and each fielding 12 teams. Over 3 evenings a week prior to Christmas, we have a different curling format. For example, the first night, is called ‘Hey Curl Friend!’ After each end, each team moves over to another sheet for new introductions and continuing the game with current score on sheet.

The second evening’s format is, ‘Steal or Hammer’. Alternating between early draw and late, each side has an opportunity to have the hammer throughout the entire game and try to catch up to the team stealing. The catch is, the team stealing is spotted 6 points to start the game. The final night is a ‘Skins’ format. Overall, the side, Hogs or Hoppers with the most points, wins their entry fee back and bragging rights for the year.

We also incorporate free food/appetizers and a Santa gift for all participants. We were successful in creating a fun, open and family oriented event. A curling tidbit is, a 17 year old Darren Moulding was the facilitator of this event from inception and for the first 3 years.

Why are we submitting this story? This event is so successful, we normally sell-out within hours of registration opening. We feel this event epitomizes not only the social and family aspect of curling but our commitment in promoting and sustaining the future of curling.