Ready to Play in a Bonspiel?
Spring league may be over but there’s still plenty of opportunities to curl! If you want to curl in the off-season, signing up for an out-of-town bonspiel is the way to go. Bonspiels are a ton of fun and your skills will significantly improve simply by playing in one. You also get exposure to the wider curling community by playing at other facilities against curlers from Orlando to Ontario.
Bonspiels typically run 2 – 4 days, frequently have a guaranteed 3 game minimum (mostly played on Friday and Saturday), and generally cost $95 – $110 per person.
No Experience Needed:
The Atlanta Curling Club is doing a big push to encourage all members to attend their first out-of-town bonspiel — especially if this is your first season or two. In fact, we believe it’s so important for members to attend their first tournament that we now automatically reserve spots for popular bonspiels specifically to take new members. (Last year we took at least 7 people to their first tournament – two were in their first season curling!)
So How Do Bonspiels Work?
To really get the full curling experience, you need to attend a bonspiel. Below are some common things you’ll find at each ‘spiel.
Broomstacking: After each game, the teams put their equipment away and meet up at the broomstacking table reserved for their sheet. The winning team members offer to buy the first round of beverages for their counterparts on the other team. (Winning Skip buys the losing Skip a drink, winning Lead buys the losing Lead a drink, etc.) Frequently the losing team returns the favor for the second round.
Pin Exchange: In the US, collecting and exchanging club pins is extremely popular. At the broomstacking table, players exchange pins with their counterparts from the other team. People display their pins in all different ways — attached to a jacket or hat, pinned to their duffle bags, arranged by tournament and framed in a shadow box, etc.
This tradition is falling out of favor in some parts of Canada. It’s always good to offer your club’s pin even if you don’t get one in return — either because you already have that club’s pin, or because the opposing team didn’t bring any pins to exchange.
When you sign up for a bonspiel, remember to buy a few pins to take with you (at least 3). If it’s the off season, email us and we’ll get them to you before you leave: ATLcurling@gmail.com
Most bonspiels feature a raffle to raise money for the club. People donate gift baskets which get raffled off Saturday night. It’s always a nice gesture for your club or team to donate a basket. Booze or a basket of items matching the theme of the bonspiel is fairly typical.
If there’s a warm room overlooking the ice, at some point someone will usually get a game of Left, Right Center, or Shut the Box going. Both are a fun way to part with $3.00.
Crokinole is hugely popular in the curling community. If you see a 24” round wooden game board with a circle of pegs in the center, ask someone to show you how to play. Crokinole is fun and addicting – just like curling!
Most bonspiels follow a bracket format for determining which teams play against each other. Games are typically played Thursday – Saturday, with the bracket finals on Sunday morning. Those playing in the finals are led onto the ice by a bagpipe player and take a (small) shot of Drambuie. Making it to the finals usually means you get a special pin or medal to take home (aka hardware).
Upcoming Bonspiels – Sign up Now!
Ready to play? Secure your spot by signing up below. The sooner you sign up the better, so that your teammates can coordinate travel and hotel rooms.
If the ‘spiel you want to play in is full, scroll to the end and fill out the form. We frequently have multiple teams going and one or two of them usually needs extra players. You can also email us at ATLcurling@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to get you on a team.
1st Annual Glitter Bombspiel – October 6 – 8
Potomac Curling Club – Laurel, MD (Just outside Washington DC)
Canada has been holding LGBTQ bonspiels for years and now Potomac plans to host the first ever LGBTQ-and-friends bonspiel in the US. Details are posted on Potomac’s website including hotel info. Approximately a 10 hour drive although flying is your best bet here. $105 per person.
2017 Grits & Granite – November 9 – 12
Charlotte Curling Association – 6525 Old Statesville RD, Charlotte, NC 28269
Charlotte Curling Association’s big fall bonspiel is Grits & Granite. Saturday night typically features professional comedians. Approximately 4 hour drive. $110 per person – 3 game minimum – includes lunch and dinner. More Info: 2017 Grits & Granite Info
Sold Out? Fill Out This Form:
Fill out the form and we’ll try to get you on a team. Atlanta usually has multiple teams going and usually one or two are looking for additional players. Or, if we get 4 or more requests we may be able to register another team.
I'm Interested in a Sold Out Bonspiel
Drop us a line and we'll see what we can do.
Have any questions? Bonspiel sold out? Want to go to one not listed above?
Drop us a line at ATLcurling@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to answer questions and get you on a team.