Alpine Curling Club: A History of Dedication. Summer 2004.
On 01 September 1959 Mr. Edward Adam arrives in Monroe, Wisconsin from Appleton, Wisconsin to be President of First National Bank. While walking out of the bank days later he meets curling skip Phil Darling, formerly of Waupaca, Wisconsin. After a brief discussion Mr. Adam is amazed that curling doesn't exist in Monroe. While attending a Lions Club meeting he converses about this "roaring game" started in Scotland over 300 years ago with curling pins and brooms in hand. During his presentation he puts up a challenge to find several men to learn the game, and even to be made fools of, so as to be able to attend the state Lions Club Bonspiel. The first individual to stand up to this challenge is Bob Goetz. He is informed to sign where it shows "s-a-p." Two other gentlemen join this "team," Herb Ainsworth and Ned Walker. Later in January of 1960 the Team heads to the Bonspiel in Appleton, Wisconsin where they had a heckuva good time. How did the curling go? That remains a mystery and this information appears to be lost, forever! Editors note: 5 years later this event would be held at Alpine where all three Alpine teams sweep the First, Second, and Third Events. They were, respectively: the Bob Goetz, L.J. Schroeder and Nate Goetz rinks. Not bad for a bunch of guys who were willing to make fools of themselves just five years earlier.
After Adams presentation, seven interested, and soon to be curlers, form a loose knit organization at a cost of $5.00 each for working capital. On 12 October 1960 the Alpine Curling Club is incorporated and chartered.
Several curling clubs are willing to lend ice time for the newly formed "paper club" of Alpine to curl on their ice. The gracious hosts are Arlington and Pardeeville where many new friends are made and later do us the favor by traveling to Monroe to compete in our inaugural Alpine Men's Invitational Bonspiel in 1965.
During the winter months of 1961-1963 the new Alpine curlers commute to the Wagon Wheel of Rockton, Illinois to curl. Dues are $7.00. During one of the journeys a group is caught in a blizzard. This wouldn't be the last time that dedicated curlers would challenge this type of encounter with Mother Nature. (My siblings and I along with the Norton family are almost orphaned due to such "dedication" to this game.) There were men's leagues and a mixed league, which are chaired by Phil Darling and Betty Grundahl. During this time period the "Sixty for $60" campaign is underway to finance a building for the Alpine Curling Club. In February of 1963 the State Line Laboratories building is leased from Gene Hennager who later becomes the clubs first icemaker.
The groundbreaking ceremony and construction for Alpine takes place 29 July 1963. Four months later on 17 November the first stones are thrown on Alpine Ice.
1963-64 was the first season of curling at the new Alpine Curling Club of Monroe. Mr. Adam is overheard saying to the secretary of the Midwest Curling Association, "Our league curling starts next week. My third has curled three times, my second once, and, my lead hasn't been out to the club yet!"
Betty Grundahl chairs women's curling. High school youth curling chaired by Adam. Men's, women's and mixed curling starts.
In October of 1964 Alpine women's curlers form the "Swiss Misses."
February 1965 sees the club having its first "Valentines Bonspiel" where Ed and Mary Jane Adam along with Rodney and Pearl Kittlesen win the first event. Later in March the winner of the first Men's Invitational Bonspiel is the Swalheim rink from Arlington, Wisconsin. (Remember the favors?) Many years later the winning team returns their winners pins to the club as a memorial to their team members who passed away.
During 1966 the first Swiss Miss rink enters a Bonspiel, the Badger State Women's at Wauwatosa. Team members include Fencil, Volkert, Keith and Leopold. Later in February the club suffers a deep and sudden loss of co-founder Phil Darling. During the month of March the club holds its first Mixed Invitation Bonspiel where once again Ed and Mary Jane Adam along with Bob and Ginny Goetz take home the first place honors. A year later the "An Udder" event is added to this spiel.
During the 1967-68 season the Men's Invitational Bonspiel is renamed "The Phil Darling Event" where Phil's wife Ruth is given a lifetime membership to the Alpine Curling Club.
The 1968-69 season sees new carpet in the clubhouse donated by Duke Etter and committee. The icehouse ceiling is insulated and a furniture campaign is initiated. The following season new furniture is purchase and placed into use. Donors names are inscribed on the tables and chairs.
The first "Open House" for the Mixed Bonspiel is held on a Friday night in February of 1971 at the home of John & Joey Norton. Due to severe weather, (you read about that earlier) roads are closed from New Glarus and Brodhead, yet 15 of the 16 teams arrive! Dedication.
November 1971 sees the first "Challenge Spiel" now known as the Hennegar Event, in honor of Gene Hennager by his wife Jackie. Winners included, again, Ed Adam, Bob Goetz, Jim Leirman and Jake Gruenewald.
On 06 March 1973 the Alpine Curling Club board exercises their option to buy the State Line Laboratory building from Gene Hennager. During the month of October the old curling rocks are sold to members for $15.00 as part of the "First Fall Kick-off Dinner" and the Swiss Misses join the U.S.W.C.A.
During the 1973-74 season the Swiss Misses hold their first All-American Event. Prior to the start of the 1974-75 season the original pipes for transporting Freon are installed over a new base. Later that season improvements are made in the clubhouse including a storage wall, kitchen cupboards, additional lockers and new carpeting through out. The bar is removed. The following year the building is re-roofed, women's evening league starts and Betty Duguid of Wilmette holds training sessions at the club. Later, Virginia Goetz would head into Chicago for additional training where she becomes instrumental in helping curlers, new and old alike, with their delivery.
Several significant events occurred during the 1976-77 season. Alpine witnesses its first official "eight ender" scored during the Valentines Bonspiel by the Jim & Elaine Newman and Bert & Helga Kaamstra team. Careen Keith becomes the first Swiss Miss to hold office in the statewide Badger Women's Curling Association after being named its president. Ed Adam helps to initiate the "State Senior Bonspiel" where his team of Roy Colwell, Timber Kubly and Harold Scudamore win the second event.
Additional improvements take place in the 1977-78 season that includes paneling of the clubroom, additional lockers and walls painted while the kitchen area is redesigned with new counter tops. The first "Valentine Marathon" took place, 24 straight hours of curling! Dedication. The Swiss Miss Cookbook is completed. More dedication.
1978 -1980 more improvements take place. "New" seats donated by Goetz Theaters are installed in the viewing area, new carpet, cement apron at the entrance, an ice-cleaning machine and narrower walkway in the rink. Additional items include Swiss Miss pins, an Electrolux, water softener and condenser. Twenty five feet of land is purchased from the Monroe Veterinary Service for $3000.00
May 1981 brings on another sudden and deep loss as co-founding member Ed Adam passes away. Later the men's club championship becomes the "Edward M. Adam Club Championship" sponsored by First National Bank of Monroe.
The ice rink is insulated in 1981. In the spring of 1982 two local curlers attend the "Silver Broom" in Germany as "press correspondents" for the Green County Courier: Bob Rufi and Dave Beam. The editor assisting with these press passes is club member Ron Johnson. Friends, with brooms.
The Swiss Chalet entryway that adorns the club building is added on during the 198283 season and recessed ceiling lights are installed. The women curlers of Alpine request full membership during the annual May meeting. The following season the by-laws are changed to reflect their desire.
The Men's Invitational is moved to November during the 1984-85 season. The ice is made with "de-ionized water." Alpine hosts the Senior Men's Spiel.
The 25th Season of the Alpine Curling Club is noted during the 1985-86 season.
During the summer of 1994 Alpine members, through their donations of labor, materials, and time construct an addition that vastly increases the facilities. This dedication provides the membership with a great new "club house" that offers more space for socializing after the games and during Bonspiels. The kitchen now has a new home with more counter area and cupboards offering more versatility. This addition also provides much needed storage space for ice equipment, allows every member his or her own locker and includes an additional bathroom.
The 1995-96 season brings on the production and sale of a new cookbook.
On 24 October 2001, through cookbook sales and several raffles, Alpine Curling Club is debt free.
On 27 October 2002 in a memorial to Bob Goetz, who passed away 29 January 2001, his family pays tribute by donating the replacement of the rock bottoms with a new material, porcelain tile - similar to space shuttle material, that will outlive many of us. The striking bands are reprotruded, too.
Another milestone takes place in November 2003: at age 82 John Irvin returns to Alpine to be the oldest active curler! He started his career on Wagon Wheel ice.
The 2004-05 season marks Bob Rufi's 30th year as "the icemaker" at Alpine where he took over from Gene Hennager who passed away 17 years ago. Dick Creamer starts his 42nd consecutive year as a member of Alpine joining in 1962 after curling one year on Wagon Wheel ice.
The summer of 2004 sees the Alpine Curling Club going topless!! Three layers of roofing are removed from the original building. Sad to say, but the membership covers us all back up with a new "top" and adds some fresh paint. The club completes its newest cookbook: "Curlers Cookbook - Rock-In the House Recipes." Dedication.
Special thanks to the following individuals for assisting with this history of dedication.
John & Virginia Irvin Bob & Barb Rufi Steve & Jo-Ann Esser. Jackie Hennager Dick & Virginia Creamer Bob & Virginia Goetz Monroe Evening Times, 11 January 1965 The 1978 Men's Invitational Booklet. Joey Norton: a special thank you for "Chronicle of Events" and other interesting stories told to me and club members throughout the years.
Compiled by Duke Goetz