Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tartan Club: Hip to be cool

So how do curling clubs attract potential new players to the game? If you're the age-old Tartan Club in Regina, you open the doors up to rockers according to this story on

The club, in a strategic location, has opened its doors to a regular Friday night event called The Blender. Most of those attending are part of the local live music scene including the organizer, Piper Burns, a drummer who worked at the club as a teenager. He's put together a pretty good deal. 

Many are more comfortable playing rock music than throwing rocks, but all of them have shown up to learn a new sport, drink a few beer, and hear some good music. Ten bucks gets you a drink, two hours of curling and a local band. No experience is needed, no special equipment required, and you don't need to find a team to play. 

Not only has the event brought some money into the club, but it's also an opening to some potential new members, many who've never thrown a rock before.

Many of the young people had never tried curling until they started coming to the monthly Blender events. That makes Manager Alan Bratt a happy man. Bratt has spent the better part of 37 years hanging out at the club. He's seen a lot of changes over the years, but never anything like this.  "I'm fascinated by it. This is a different crowd. Curling's been in a kind of decline. The regular league curling that's been dominant in this province for 100 years seems to be not as successful."
The Tartan is not alone in getting the cool kids into the club. I was curling in an event at Toronto's High Park a few years back and finished up around 11 pm. We came off the ice and the lounge was jammed with 20somethings, many of whom were well into their beers, others who were well into some other kind of, um, stuff. Music was blaring on the ice and the kids just couldn't wait to get out and toss a few boulders.

The lesson here is if you make it hip and cool, then you have the potential to attract a different clientele, one that just might save your facility.

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