Featured Player -Alan Roe

Alan is playing third in Callum Harvey’s team Iona and has been responsible, along with Alex Dickson, for all the arrangements to do with the tour kit.  He has also managed the travel arrangements to and from the USA and is deserving of a heap of praise for making all that work so smoothly.  img_6584Relating a bit about himself – “My home city is Glasgow. I am 53, a Financial Adviser and Company Director. I have three children, Alana, Lisa and William, and five grandchildren.
My three clubs are Cadder, Wishaw and Reform. I am Development Officer for my Cadder club.
Braehead Curling, on the banks of the river Clyde west of central Glasgow, is my main curling rink.
Having qualified (by the inevitable progress of the clock!) for the Scottish Seniors, I have played in the playdowns.
My aims are to have fun on the tour and to win back the trophy.
I enjoy golf, gym-work and kite surfing.”

Featured Player – Ian Young

Ian is skip of team Islay and is our tour photographer. The unfortunate thing about that is he is invariably on the wrong side of the camera to feature in the photographs.  On the other hand, he is invariably on the right side of the camera to not feature in any photographs.  So, all we have is this rare action shot and what he tells us. img_7012“I am 60 years old, from Letham, in the county of Angus.
I am a civil servant, married to Janice for 28 years. We have a son Murray 25 and a daughter Lesley 22, both of whom curl.
Most of my curling is done at Forfar Indoor Sports playing for Suttieside Curling Club and Dundee Civil Service.
I am Match Secretary of the Suttieside club, and Chairman of the Development Group of Forfar Curling Centre.
In 2016 I was proud to have been part of the Forfar Curling Centre Team who won the Maxwell Trophy, a competition for three teams of curlers from any of the Scottish Ice Rinks.
Most of all, on tour I’m looking forward to making lasting friendships with other tourists and to bringing the Herries Maxwell trophy back to Scotland.
I enjoy golf, walking and cycling.”

Day 9

John Muir, the Scots-born explorer and environmentalist has schools named in his honour in this part of the world. The badge of one school is the bunneted head of a ‘typical’ Scot.
The welcome at Wausau was as big as the eight-sheeter building with fifty members, brooms aloft and giving us high-fives. Wow! The funding of this entirely new rink, which replaces a cowshed nearby, was a big project for the community of Wausau. As well as raising US$6.3m in cash the Club got some good land deals, one for an area surplus to the needs of the owners of the local cemetery. Clearly there are lots of good-living folks in Wausau.
The clergyman who was to bless the match said if he’d known so many people there he’d have brought a tray for a collection! Steve O’Keefe, Board member, formally welcomed us to the Wausau rink. Membership costs US$380 per year including ice, beer and wine. The 200-seater clubroom with bar lies along the length of the sheet and at the same level, with the spectator gallery ay one end behind glass but still audible when spectators see a good shot.
Our results at Wausau might/could/should have been better but we’re still learning how to adjust twice a day to different rinks and sheets.
The Wausau Daily Herald carried pictures of some of our star players (they know who they are).
After lunch Alan Roe gave our thanks, in rhyme, to Wausau and had the eyes and ears of everyone: well done Alan.
The afternoon session saw us Scots reduce a bit of the deficit of the morning. Ian Young stood between the US and Scottish flags to assure our hosts how much we’d enjoyed the ice and the games. Ian handed a tour banner to Wausau on behalf of Tour Captain Clive and all of us.
The full steak dinner was as generous as the friendship and good company around us. Clarke Perry, standing on the hearth in front of a big fire [significant or symbolic??] told us an elaborate ‘story’ in which he had us believe that his mistakes were funnier than the story itself. Is he a younger version of Ronnie Corbett – or is he just Clarke?
The Scots choir sang three songs and this time we got an encore: maybe, just maybe, it’s down to all the training we’re doing…….hmmmm…..

Live coverage at Duluth Sunday 22nd & Mon 23rd

Today at 2:00 and tomorrow morning we will enjoy live coverage of the draws between Tourists and Duluth  CC.

http://www.duluthcurlingclub.org

click Webcam tab;

Watch DCC webcam.

We will be playing on both left and right channels. Good curling.

Virtual Tourists – Ian Sands & Frank Ross

Today seems a nice time to acknowledge the contribution from a couple of guys to the tour.  They were with us on the journey through the preparations and practices but regrettably had to withdraw from the trip.

img_1931Ian is a farmer from Balbeggie in Perthshire.  He was our original Choirmaster and Entertainments guru who prepared the songbook and also had a hand in the development of the tour logo and badge. Ian curls with Glendoick Curling Club.

 

img_1880

Frank joined in the fun and the building excitement at tour practices. He is  from Edinburgh where he is a Chartered Accountant by profession and a business turnround specialist. He is also a Councillor, City of Edinburgh, and Deputy Council Leader. Frank curls with Athelstaneford Curling Club in East Lothian.

Suffice to say they are in our thoughts as we wend our way across the States.  Best wishes to you both.

DAY 8

DAY 8
The Grey, damp weather made us think of home but it didn’t take long for us to realise how lucky we are to be on this Scottish Men’s Tour of USA.
Centerville, Wisconsin was ahead of us and clad in three inches of old snow. The rivers are frozen, although overall this is an unusually mid winter period.
The Centerville rink is a four-sheeter and its club is very proud of the successes of its members in national competitions. The Thomson, Harvey , Dixon and Young played in the 10 am session: team Rutherford had a time-out. Alan Arnot was interviewed by the Lacrosse Tribune and a 7 o’clock the next morning we read the article alongside a good action photo. Trempealeau TV had a team on site and will do a 45 minute program of our visit including an interview with Gary Rutherford.
The suite of spacious rooms at Centerville are used throughout the year by other organisations. Thom Kieffer chaired the committee, with a great team including wife Robyn, Ice Man Dan Lilla and a dozen or more volunteers who fed and watered (?) us most generously at lunch, dinner and whenever necessary. Centreville membership typically takes in three generations, and all three played against us.
Malcom MacAskill corralled all twenty of us, allegedly adults, in the clubroom to provide a bit of musical entertainment. All went well until Highland Cathedral when it a took three attempts to start. On the third attempt we finally got it right. Most of thought it was the acoustics, but maybe new just need more practice.
John Good, who had limited himself to what he thought was the right amount of hospitality including porter, whisky and one glass of locally-made ‘Apple Pie’ gave Chairman Thom and everyone at Centerville a big Thank You for good ice, good company and the complete package that “bring us a’ thegither”
Robert Burns put his appreciation of such good hospitality:
“Ye whom social pleasure warms Whose Heart the tide of kindness charms”.
The day finished with more fun time back at our hotel, courtesy of a gift from the Ale Asylum earlier in the week.

The return of the Coo

Well we were heading for Portage and having a grand time when the bus was pulled over by Portage’s finest.  The bus driver was all a quiver as we drew to a stop and they came on  board.  Information is a wonderful thing in this day and age and they knew.  They immediately  called on our courier,  to step forward. img_03123056 A quick search of his jacket revealed the missing  mascot. With Russ screamin’ its a fit-up, they headed downtown to the jailhouse to get things sorted out.  Turns out Sandy had been off having a grand time, cavorting with other cuddly toys on the conveyor belt img_03103058of life.   The wee bugger had had such a great time he wasn’t so sure he wanted to be back on the bus but anyway he’s been kept in the cattle crush of Kenny’s arms since then and is going nowhere else soon.  Loads of fun with  that and some grateful appreciation to the  Portage Police department for making it all seem so real.  Superb!

Featured Player – John Hodge

John plays second in Ian Young’s team Islay and took on the tour role of assisting with entertainments. (Well that was a pretty iffy job description and one that many gave a body-swerve).  In any case, he has now taken on the very onerous role of assisting with the morning class dispensary.  img_6571“My home is in Coldstream in the Scottish Borders where I am currently trying to get to the point at which I can retire from farming.  I am 68 years old and Janet and I have been married for 44 years. We have a son and two daughters and two grandchildren.
My clubs are Duns, my home club and Swinton. We curl at Border Ice Rink in Kelso where I am currently President of Border Province.
I have been privileged to represent my club at open and national competitions.
On tour what I’ll enjoy most is the friendly games, played with a competitive spirit, good fun and making new friends both with fellow-tourists and our USA hosts.
I enjoy golf and travel.”

DAY 7

Proof reading had been restricted so far due to several factors, so please accept apologies for the need for a further ‘correction’.

The Report on Day 5 should be amended by deleting the paragraphs starting “The Alex Dickson team finished….” And “Then on to Milwaukee ..” should be deleted.

We were delivered by our home hosts – these wonderful people – to Madison Curling Club to travel to Arlington and Poynette. The thirty- minute journey was relieved by the Morning Class service by Bill A and John H.

At 10 am teams Thomson, Rutherford and Young took the ice at Arlington, and teams Dickson and Young were at the two-sheeter at Poynete where they were welcomed by a sixteen-piece high school band. Even at this early stage all the Scots have been impressed and better by the enthusiasm of everyone at every rink we’ve visited: the welcome at the door, the stacking-of-brooms drinks of amazing ingenuity and effect, the food. Altogether there is a ‘brightness’  even a sparkle in every rink.

As the coach approached Portage, Russ Brown, our tireless US courier took up the microphone to report that there was a police car behind which had signalled to our driver to pull over. The officers came into the coach and ‘cuffed’ Ross on the grounds that he had attempted to conceal evidence of carrying amphetamines. Russ denied this straight away and demanded to see any primary evidence. This the officer duly presented: it was ‘Sandy’ a Highland Bull – standing about six inches high at the shoulder – which someone on the US side had pinched back in Chicago. We had our mascot back to much cheering from the Scots and a chorus of an animal noises from a bunch of US players who’d come along for the ride. It would be hard to beat this scam for ingenuity and effect: well done -grudgingly! – to the US guys who masterminded it.

The morning Votes of Thanks were called for by Alan Arnot and Alex Dickson, and in the afternoon by Clarke Perry, each with a humour that was distinctive and just right for the moment.

After another couple of zip-of-a-trip journeys to and  from our home hosts we arrived at Traill’s Lounge in Portage to another fine dinner, great company and a powerpoint presentation of mascot Sandy and the friends he made while on holiday. Once again a duo of delightfully musical ladies upstaged our choir, but…..we got our first encore. Maybe this means we’ve got out ladder in place and can now start climbing to chart success. Mmmmm?

Bill Byers, in his typically laidback way hit the right spots and key people – and there were many -in thanking the good folks who had made us feel so much part of the wider curling world. Then back to our home hosts, with some more curling stories going both ways, and nightcap or two.

Note

CORRECTIONS: The writer apologises for earlier errors and expects our Judge and his acolytes will duly present them as evidence.

 

  1. The leader of our music school is Malcolm MacAskill. It’s the job of all other nineteen to smile when Malcolm stands up in front of us with his songbook. He says our smiles are a good start and wishes we’d make our singing a bit more entertaining.
  2. The team sit-out on Day 4 were – morning, Ian Young; and afternoon Alex Dickson.

Thanks to everyone who reported these facts.

‘twynholm’

 

 

DAY FIVE

On the coach we had the usual Morning Class arranged by Bill Arnot and John Hodge. They may not be the first images we want to see first thing in the morning but they make up for that by the refreshment they bring up the coach.

Milwaukie Curling Club, founded in 1845 makes it the oldest in the US. They combined with Wauwatosa CC to play all five Scots Teams. Watching play was Marjorie Knitter who was on the 2006 US ladies team visiting Scotland, and later a courier for the Scottish Ladies in US.

The Alex Dickson team finished four up with 9 shots, having been an impressive 9:1 ahead at one point.

Gary Rutherford gave the Vote of Thanks to our host club and its players, ice many and the many volunteers who had fed and watered us.

Fifty more minutes by coach, seeing scarcely a living soul, we arrived in Kettle Moraine to find that everyone in the neighbourhood was at the rink to greet us. The Welcome Party at Kettle Moraine was a platoon of eight pipes and drums, with a Honour Guard of twenty or more holding brookms aloft – and beyond that even more handshakes.

The Alex Dickson team finished four up with a total of four up, having been an impressive 9:1 up at one point. Gary Rutherford gave the Vote of Thanks to Barret Straub and his management and many volunteers wo had fed and watered us.

Then on to Milwaukee Curling Club: their teams combined with Wauwatosa to play all five Tourist teams. At Madison the ice was good but slower than for the previous two matches, and some us struggled to match length with draw – which was there with exact weight. Kenny Spence thanked our hosts.

 

The Dinner was at the Delafield Brewhaus was yet another ‘occasion’ in excellent company. This venue is well known to Robert Flemming who, among many other US players we have met, is a true curler in every respect. A choir sang several songs with intricate harmonies. There was several speakers invited and MC’d by Bob Dixon, USA. David Sillito entertained the 100 or so guests with stories which by this time we were prepared to believe might be true – but didn’t need to as they were off-beat and entertaining : that’ s David!

Home hosting after that was yet another time to sit and chat about curling.

A long and busy day with more to come.

 

 

DAY SIX

We were onto the coach by 8.30 and started to Madison, a journey of about an hour. Weather disappointing to everyone before all five Scots teams played Madison. Lunch then a further game with Madison. In between we lunched well having had our palates improved (?) by generous drinks from generous hosts. Votes of thanks were given by John Hodge and Malcolm MacAskill. The variation in speed and draw between the rinks we play on in the US is very much par for the course: we got to grips with each -eventually.

The evening meal was at the Ale Asylum, hosted by Madison CC.  This, as the name suggests, is a brewery where the speciality, reserved just for us was draft Sticky McDougall. That may give some idea of the ingenuity of Americans when it comes to doing things differently. The buffet dinner was generous and we got to speak to even more Madison Curlers. Clive was presented with a cheese hat ( polystyrene)  by the cheesemakers of Wisconsin. David McIntyre gave the Vote of Thanks to our hosts for yet another successful gathering and entertainment which included a duo of a girl and a young man whose tunefulness may have exceeded that of our group on this occasion.

Then off to another night with home hosts to all of whom we are hugely grateful for the warmth of their welcome and the generosity all round.