An Armstrong duo is at the top of their game.
John Campbell and Tim Smith recently won the Canadian Open Two-Person Stick Curling Championship in St. Albert, Alta., making them the first team to ever win the title twice in the Canadian Open’s history.
“It was pretty fine,” said Smith, who, along with Campbell, also won the national honour in 2011 in Maple Ridge.
In stick curling, the rocks are directed by a curling stick from a standing or sitting position, such as a wheelchair. The action is skipped from both ends of the ice.
The sport’s popularity is growing as demonstrated by the competitive field in St. Albert.
“With 48 teams, the chance of winning is not good,” said Smith.
But that’s what the members of the Armstrong Curling Club did, and in the final, they beat Ryan Meyer and Dennis Fitzgerald, of Morinville, Alta. 4-3.
“During the last game, we were two rocks down and I didn’t think we’d win but we pulled it off,” said Smith.
Stick curling is being embraced by athletes of all ages but it’s found a niche with those traditional curlers who can no longer get down into the hack because of knee, back, heart, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, ankle or foot problems.
“People are curling now that haven’t for years and they are having a good time,” said Campbell.
There are about 100 stick curlers at the Armstrong Curling Club.
“It’s just a lot of fun. It keeps people in the game,” said Campbell.
With the season over, Campbell, 66, and Smith, 74, aren’t sure if they will pursue the national championship in Winnipeg next year. But they are looking ahead to 2015, when the Canadian Open Two-Person Stick Curling Championship makes its way to Vernon.
“We just play it year by year and we will see what happens,” said Campbell.