It wasn’t long ago that the Kitscoty Curling Club found itself at a crossroads.
“We had a meeting, and it was either to close the doors or to go ahead - and we had enough money left in the account to put the roof on - but if we put that roof on, we’d have no money to operate it for the year,” said Landon Franson, one of the club’s committee members.
The curling club has been slowly falling apart for years, in large part, due to leakage problems with the roof of the building.
In one final major push to save their rink, the curling club’s committee organized the Raise The Roof Steak and Shrimp Fry fundraiser on Aug. 20, and found a country music star and former Juno Award nominee to headline it.
“Chris Cummings was coming on tour through this area so we contacted his management and it worked out that he could come out on a Thursday night and play for us out here,” said Franson.
The event, which takes place at the Kitscoty Hall, has already sold around 300 tickets out of the approximately 400 available.
The roof, meanwhile, figures to cost the club about $50,000 to repair. Thus far, ticket sales have brought in about $10,000, and a live and silent auction during the event should increase that number drastically.
Prizes up for grabs include a trip for two to Mexico to an all-inclusive resort for one week, 10 hours of combining from Tingley’s Harvest Center, an autographed Andrew Ference Edmonton Oilers jersey and an autographed John Chick Saskatchewan Roughriders jersey.
“I’m blown away by the support we have,” said Franson. “Just a ton of community support as far as the auction goes, I never saw that coming.”
With the money from the fundraiser, along with the funds already set aside by the committee, the curling club will be able to both repair the roof and operate the building. The committee will then be able to use money from future bonspiels and other events to maintain the club.
“That’s huge, because the elementary school in Kitscoty uses it, the high school kids use it, it’s something that we need to keep in the community because once it’s gone, there’s no way we’re going to put up a new curling rink in Kitscoty,” said Franson. “The cost would be just astronomical.”
Although Franson described curling as somewhat of a dying sport, especially in smaller communities, he says it remains a staple of the culture in Kitscoty. And if all goes well, Franson says the steak and shrimp fry fundraiser could become one, too.
“As years go on, if we can continue something like this, we might be able to turn that rink around,” he said.
Franson says he expects tickets to sell out well before Aug. 20. Tickets may be purchased at John Mason Agencies in Kitscoty, Crop Production Services in Marwayne and Tunes Music and Audio in Lloydminster.