ROCK SPRINGS – The Rink Rat Club, a student club at Western Wyoming Community College, will partner with Student United Way of Southwest Wyoming to host an unusual event, a Turkey Curling Competition, at the Rock Springs Recreation Center this Saturday, Nov. 21, at 9 p.m. An estimated 17 teams of four members each will compete in this event, which involves using frozen turkeys in place of the customary stones in an event modeled on the Olympic sport of curling. Admission to the Rec Center for this event is free, but organizers are asking that spectators bring a canned food item to donate to the Food Bank of Sweetwater County in lieu of a door fee.
The Rink Rat Club is the brainchild of Western student and Rock Springs resident Edison Elder, who established it last year as a means of encouraging more students on campus to take advantage of activities at the Rec Center.
“One of the things that I’ve always loved is to ice skate, play hockey, and just be involved at the Rec Center,” said Elder, an engineering student. “And so I started a club just to introduce people to that. I started hosting events, teaching people how to skate, getting them in the doors, even renting their skates for them, and giving them pointers to get them started. This year we decided that we wanted to try that again, but we wanted to do something a little bit bigger and more inclusive of the entire campus.”
Curling is an increasingly popular sport that is played on ice and is related to shuffleboard. The actual sport uses objects called stones, and the game’s object is for two competing four-person teams to push the stone toward a target while teammates guide the stone with brooms. The team with the stone closest to the bulls’ eye at the end of the round is the winner.
“Turkey Curling is the exact same game, except that instead of stones, we are using frozen turkeys,” Elder explained. “The theory is that we’re going to use turkeys because they are a lot easier to get than stones are, especially in the middle of Wyoming, and we can then donate the turkeys to the food bank, and to families in the community who are in need, for Thanksgiving.
“We wanted to have an event that is going to be fun for people on campus and people in the community, as well have an event that will benefit people in the community,” he added.
Elder said he anticipated having eight or so teams register for the competition but was pleasantly surprised to have 17 four-person teams express interest. Turkey donations and other contributions have also come in from campus clubs and departments such as Associated Student Government, the Association of Non-Traditional Students, the Student United Way of Southwest Wyoming, and Mustang Athletics, as well as local groups and businesses, including Albertson’s, Wal-Mart, JFC Engineers and Surveyors, and the Bittersweet Bombshells Roller Derby Club.
Student United Way made a request to the City of Rock Springs to donate the ice time at the Rec Center and waive entry fees for the participants and spectators, and city officials granted both requests.
“The City has been great,” Elder said. “We had initially told people that they would have to pay for their door fee. So now that that has been waived, we’re hoping people will just donate that money toward bringing canned food items. If anybody wants to come, and spectate, it’s free to attend but we recommend that you bring a canned food item.”