Day 19

It is that time again: 06.45am. We’re already rolling out of Mayfield towards Utica, upper New York State, a journey of around six hours. Some snow on the road but progress ok.
D-S- and B-A- had a snowball fight after lunch: you can take the boys out of Scotland but you can’t take Scotland out of the boys.
At Utica curling club there are six sheets managed and prepared by a team of trained member volunteers. The quality and condition of the ice was good with good finish for light weights.
The greeting Utica gave us was very friendly. Organising chair Jim Rishel later said he and his members had “anxiously awaited” our tour: be assured Jim and all Utica members that you made us relax with our new curling friends. The Declaration by the local Authority Executive with innumerable “Whereas-es” that 31 January would hereafter and in all time coming be known in Utica as Scottish Men’s Curling Tour day was impressive.
Utica teams were made up of men who had often competed against each other but had seldom or never curled together as a team. We had seen this earlier in the tour too, and while it sometimes gives rise to vocal exchanges between head and hack, it gives local players a different experience and we got to play against a lot of high grade opponents.
Tourists and hosts enjoyed the excellent dinner, time to swap stories and generally “talk curling”. Our choir was in fine voice, so good in fact we sang an extra song.
Utica members who this blogger knows have curled in Scotland are Bill Rotton (1992), Bob Hurd, Arthur Cobb Snr, Tom Garber, Carl Thomas, the every busy Jacqueline R Schmidt and a’body’s friend Peggy Rotton.

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