Ponoka Curling Club is home to six sheets of artificial ice located in the heart of Central Alberta. Curling has had a long and rich history in Ponoka or Siding 14 as it was referred to when curling first started in Ponoka.
Curling was introduced to Ponoka in 1916, when businessmen Dick Thomson and Mah Bow offered lessons to anyone who was interested. The first rink was constructed near where the Seniors’ Drop-in Centre now stands, but the roof collapsed under the weight of too much snow in 1925. Our first major community curling rink was built in the same area and thanks to the overwhelming support, the mortgage was paid off during the 1938-39 season and a complete set of second-hand rocks was purchased for $20. Yearly curling fees for the Ponoka Curling Club were $10 for seasoned men and women and $6 for green curlers and students. This keen sport of curling became so popular that a whistle had to be blown to make sure that the 7 p.m. draw would start on time and be done in time for the 9 p.m. event every night.
The first official curling bonspiel was hosted in Ponoka in 1927 and attracted 15 of the best rinks from our town and district and throughout the province. As the popularity of the game increased, several small and very active curling rinks began popping up throughout the county and at the Alberta Hospital. In the 1950s, an amazing total of 85 rinks were competing in the weeklong perennial Ponoka Town and County Bonspiel at the Ponoka Arena, and other curling competitions were being organized each season for all age groups from adults, children, schools, families and seniors. In the early days, the curling fanatics had to wait for the weather to get cold enough before they could make ice, but on the most frigid days, the ice would swing and snap in many weird ways, while the ardent curling fraternity always prayed that the spring melt would not come to early to spoil their fun. Once artificial ice was introduced, the season lasted much longer, was more organized, and the curlers can now finesse the rocks into those big coloured circles from October to March in our first class facility at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex.