Saturday, November 25, 2006

Here Come the Rocks (Part II)

Earlier this week, Alan wrote about the start of the new curling season. But the title of his posting foreshadowed this piece in the Trono/Trahnah Sun [with thanks to Brian Ferguson, who blogs at Canadian Econoview].
Watching the sport on TV is one thing. But to start up a club means getting a set of the stones that are usually sculpted from granite boulders that fall from a Scottish island called the Ailsa Craig.

And there weren't enough to go around.

So 40 new sets, each with 16 of the 42-pound stones, set sail from Scotland for Rotterdam aboard the Feederlink 3. From there, it's on to Montreal on the Maersk Palermo and ultimately to Stevens Point, Wis., the home of the national governing body. (The U.S. Curling Association itself was unable to store 13 tons of granite in its small basement office, so a local publisher offered to hold onto it until they're distributed.)

The sets are earmarked for clubs in Minnesota, Arizona, Tennessee, Michigan, Colorado, Indianapolis, Wyoming, California, New York and Nebraska. Through the World Curling Federation's loan-to-purchase program, clubs can use the stones while they get started without the having to shell out as much as $7,600 US for a set.
It looks to me as if some clubs in some areas might be folding, especially smaller rural areas with declining populations. What happens to the rocks from these clubs? Does anyone know if there is an active market in used curling stones? There are a few really old ones available on e-bay, but I would think that new clubs should be able to find supplies from the clubs that are fading.


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