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Lone Star Curling Club History

The Lone Star Curling Club in Austin, Texas grew out of the success of the U.S. Olympic Curling Team in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

On Feb 15, 2006, Stephen Thorne helped members of the Curling Club of Houston put on a curling open house at San Antonio’s Ice Center at Northwoods. Stephen had been commuting from the Austin area to curl with the Houston club since 2001. The response from the open house was very enthusiastic and allowed Stephen to establish contacts with the rink owners, who were the primary organizers of the curling club in San Antonio. The open house experience convinced Stephen that establishing a curling club in Austin was a realistic goal.

On Feb 26, 2006, Austin resident Dennis Dunn attended the Dallas-Ft. Worth Curling Club Open House and was provided with a contact number for Stephen Thorne. Dennis also contacted Leslie Martine, General Manager of Austin’s Chaparral Ice Rink, who was impressed with the enthusiasm for curling generated by the Olympics. She stated that the rink would be happy to support curling, but the club must be independent for liability reasons.

Dennis shared this information with Stephen and since he had some experience in this area, Stephen suggested he take the lead in organizing the curling club. On March 31st, Stephen announced the first open house scheduled for April 23, 2006 at Austin’s Northcross Mall ice rink. Leslie provided a list of interested parties from Chaparral Ice contacts.

A generous loan of one set of stones each from the Curling Club of Houston and San Antonio’s Ice Center at Northwoods was secured. The Houston club provided brooms, sliders, hacks, pebblers and a scribe to draw houses on the ice. Volunteers from the Houston club also came to help with set up, instruction and teardown at the open house. The first Austin Curling Open House was a success with over 200 visitors and 90+ sign ups.

The first organizational meeting was held on May 6, 2006 at the Chaparral Ice I-35 location. Stephen introduced a modified version of the D/FW Curling Club By-Laws for review and nominations were taken for the first executive committee. Elections were scheduled for May 20, 2006.

At the second meeting on May 20, 2006 several options for club name were presented and “Lone Star Curling Club” was selected. The meeting agenda included price quotes from different curling supply companies for curling stones and equipment, along with ideas for raising funds for the purchase. Uly Suchil stated that his boss, Chuy’s owner Mike Young, was considering donating some money to the club to help purchase equipment, including rocks.

For the executive, no positions were contested and the positions were filled by the following:

President – Stephen Thorne

Vice President – Dennis Dunn

Treasurer – Dave Bratberg

Secretary – Michelle Thorne

Membership Director – Megan Bratberg

Tom Wilbur volunteered to fill the unofficial position of Web Master.

A second open house was scheduled for June 25, 2006. This time, two sets of stones and other equipment were borrowed from the Curling Club of Houston and volunteers to help instruct came from both Houston and the Armadillo Curling Club – the newly named curling club in San Antonio.

After a successful second open house, Mike Young contacted the club on June 30th with a commitment to purchase 2 sets of stones. Also at this time, Stephen, Dennis and Dave registered the Lone Star Curling Club name with the Travis County Clerk and opened a bank account for the club at Bank of America.

Stephen began investigating sources of equipment as early as March 2006 when he met the owner of Dakota Curling Supplies at the 2006 USCA Mixed Curling Championship in Fairbanks, Alaska. Other sources investigated were Steve’s Curling Supplies, the Canada Curling Stone Company and Thompson Curling Supplies.

In late July (or early August) 2006, Stephen and Dennis met with Ray Thompson from Thompson Curling Supplies at the San Antonio ice rink. The quote was $8600 for two sets of stones with handles. Due to the lower price and timeline in which the equipment could be delivered, the club chose to place an order with Thompson Curling Supplies. On the return trip from San Antonio, Stephen informed Dennis that he and Michelle would be moving back to Canada in the near future.

Dennis negotiated the order with Thompson Curling Supplies to include 2 sets of stones and the necessary additional curling equipment. With the additional equipment the club was still in need of almost $2000 to finance the order. Anita Dunn, Centex Realty, agreed to sponsor the club for the balance. The purchase was completed on September 6th and everything arrived at Chaparral Ice on October 6, 2006.

After the departure of Stephen and Michelle back to Canada, a general membership meeting was held on September 10, 2006 and the election to fill the vacancies on the board resulted in the following:

President – Dennis Dunn

Vice President – Alex Legault

Treasurer – Dave Bratberg

Membership Director – Megan Bratberg

Secretary – Anita Dunn

Special Programs – Darlene Barnes

Web Master – Tom Wilbur

Director at Large – Mike Young

Curling began in Fall 2006 at Austin’s Northcross Mall ice rink on Sunday mornings at 9:45 a.m. The first curling dates consisted mostly of practice and pick-up games with regular attendance of 20-25 curlers.

The LSCC had its first official league in Spring 2007. Since the club only had 2 sets of stones, the rocks had to be shared between the 3 or 4 curling sheets. The 2007 Spring League Champions were David Sicoli (skip), Mark Yun (vice), Nicole Babilya (second) and Heather Tucek (lead).

A 2007 summer league was planned, but it was obvious ……..the Lone Star Curling Club needed more rocks.

To be continued!