HOW DID THE EXETER CURLING CLUB GET STARTED?
Reg Armstrong, a newcomer to the Exeter area started the men's curling club in 1956 and curling was done on the hockey ice surface at the Exeter arena. A recruitment drive was initiated and within 4 years they had 120 members. The men started curling 2 nights a week and the ladies curled 1 afternoon a week.
In 1960, the decision was made to build the Exeter Curling Club. Several possible locations were discussed, but in the end it was built at its current location at 205 Riverside Drive. The majority of the land was donated by Gib Dow. The building was an existing wooden structure which was disassembled at its original location near Tillsonburg and moved to Exeter. It was then reassembled mainly by volunteer help. One very interesting item in the curling club is the Massey Ferguson clock which hangs at the north end of the ice surface. This clock was donated by Harry Sherwood who owned the Massey Ferguson dealership in Exeter. This clock has been hanging there since the day the club opened in 1960 and is still operating today.
The first event to take place at the new club was a bonspiel on November 21st, 1960. At this point they did not have funding to complete the inside of the clubhouse so there were old picnic tables set up on the wooden floor with a gas stove on them to make coffee and hot dogs. A New Year's Eve party was held that first winter to raise funds to buy new flooring to cover the old boards. In the early developing years, 12 brooms were purchased and hung on the wall out on the ice surface. These brooms could be rented by members for 25 cents a game.
In 1967, 64 matching rocks were purchased at a cost of $1250.00 In later years, a new set of 64 rocks were purchased from Scotland and these are the ones currently in use today. Harry Mathers, who was an avid curler, put the Exeter Curling Club on the map in 1976 when he designed and built the "Ice King" scraper for scraping the ice. At that time he started selling the machines for $2050.00. This machine is now used in various clubs around the world.