LITTLE CURRENT—The Little Current Curling Club was the winner of the 2017 Baxter Cup—the 92nd annual competition between the Little Current Curling Club and the Espanola Curling Club.
“There are five teams from each club and they each play one game in Little Current and one in Espanola with the points (from all five teams) combined to determine the winner,” explained Little Current curler Jon Hodder. “The first games were here in Little Current and the teams were tied 34 each. We went to Espanola next and Little Current won 37 to 33.”
Mr. Hodder said he has been curling in the Baxter Cup for over 60 years, taking only five years off when he was teaching in Toronto.
When asked what has made him participate in the competition for so many years, Mr. Hodder replied, “I curl—that’s what I do.”
“It’s good fun,” added Mr. Hodder. “We have a nice dinner (the Baxter banquet) and there is a good sense of camaraderie.”
The members of this year’s Little Current team included Steve Rolston, Jordan Chandler, Jack Ferguson, Gord Bickell, Rob Norris, John Hodder, Don Rosborough, Richard Glaude, Ted Ferguson, Jeremy Rody, Wade Baker, Ron McQuarrie, Mike Wall, Norm Hore, Mike Dubreuil, Ray Beaudry, Joe Cooper, Aurel Rivet and Craig Boyer.
Back in the 1920s, curling clubs invited one another for competitions. Legend has it that the Baxter Cup first began when an Espanola rink was curling at the Little Current Curling Club (located where the old Rona building sits). The finalists were staying at the Mansion House (The Anchor Inn). The two rinks decided to determine the winners using ‘thunder mugs’ (chamber pots). They curled the thunder mugs using the Mansion hallway as the rink. Apparently, a decision could still not be reached, so the two rinks headed to the hardware store that George Baxter operated. Mr. Baxter said that he would have a trophy made for an annual competition between the two towns, and thus the Baxter Cup was born.
The battle goes on
An ode to the Baxter Cup
Twice a year we go there,
They come here.
The bridge is what keep us apart.
We play a game,
Like little boys throwing big rocks,
Not little kid toys;
We can’t wait for the shooting to start.
The battlefield is ready,
Slippery ice, polished and pampered,
To make it keen and nice:
A war zone unchanged over the ages
Rocks are the weapons,
16 in all, to curl or hit,
Answer the leaders’ call.
Like a chess game, played in stages.
Twenty warriors make up the team:
Four men a rink, skillful and strong;
Three to work, one to think,
Highly trained troops ready for war.
We have to get there,
Hop on a bus, load all our gear.
Only the best is used by us.
On to the contest. But first, the bar!
The two sides meet face to face,
No scowl or sneer. A shake of hands,
Then a quick beer.
They sit, chat, eat and carry on:
This has gone on for 92 years.
Though snowstorms blow, the war years
And weather to 30 below,
Year after year it became tradition,
Friendship, competition and camaraderie.
That’s a word seldom spoken
And rarely heard,
But that’s what the Baxter Cup stands for.
The competition is fierce!
We want to win. When the game is over.
Let the fun begin.
Next year, we’ll be back for more!