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Curt volunteering for Brier

Tales from the Brier Patch – Trading Pins Equals New Friends

04/03/2014

BCLC is a community partner of the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier, in partnership with Gateway’s Lake City Casino Kamloops. The Brier is an event owned and operated by the Canadian Curling Association.

Fifteen BCLC employees are volunteering at the event on their own time with each contributing approximately 25 hours to be a part of this exciting event in Kamloops.

As the Brier sweeps on and the pin swaps continue so do the stories from our volunteers!

Volunteer Shari worked the late shift but doesn’t tire easily!

I was quite excited to be working the evening of the first weekend for Brier. The experience was more than I could’ve imagined. I arrived about 10 minutes prior to the start of my shift; we were all given a briefing of our expectations and headed to our designated places. I was standing with my partner at the bar, we had a short time to get to know each other (just long enough to give out a pin), and then BANG, the crowd arrived! I was amazed at how quickly the place filled up; before I knew it I was serving drinks to what seemed to be a never ending line up, including a group wearing kilts!  Everyone was jovial and appreciative, how could you not be with the vibe in the room? The band was FANTASTIC and everyone was clearly enjoying the atmosphere! The first time I looked at my watch it was 11:30pm and I couldn’t believe I had already been serving for three hours! I took a quick break and had an opportunity to talk to one fellow who was from Kamloops and had been at both draws that day. He was very proud of how well BC had done in both draws, he was also cheering on his nephew from Northern Ontario (they unfortunately didn’t do so well). I was humbled by the amount of people who approached me and said thank you, you’re all doing a wonderful job. 

Our volunteer organizer was Louise for the evening and she was such a great support. She was very organized and appreciative of her volunteers. It was an overall wonderful evening and I’m looking forward to my next shift!

Volunteer Susan knows the value of teamwork and how to keep it in the glass.

Thank Goodness it was nice and slow in the Patch for my first volunteer shift of the Tim Hortons Brier. I was very nervous. Bartending? Seriously? For my first shift? Well there’s a first time for everything!

I arrived nice and early to make sure I didn’t miss orientation, and looked around for familiar faces hoping I was going to make a fool of myself with a complete stranger. I didn’t see any other BCLC volunteers but lucky for me there was a young lady who also didn’t know anyone there, and even better, it was her first time bartending too. Confiding our nervousness to each other, we followed the leader out to the bars. We walked up to the only bar left, directly in the middle, and were greeted by two ladies. They must have seen the worry on our faces because they took the time to show us everything and encouraged us. They also assured us that we had chosen the best of the bars and would have a great time. They were right!

My very first drink order was for a high ball, which meant my very first attempt at pouring a shot. I didn’t spill and was so excited I actually yelled out, “My very first shot and I didn’t spill!” The lady giggled and asked me if it really was my first attempt at pouring a shot. I responded positively and she insisted on giving me a high five. Turns out, she had been a bartender and said I did a great job. What a great coincidence!

After the initial jitters, my new volunteer buddy Brenda and I rocked the bartending. When someone would order two beers, we would race to our coolers to grab one beer each in a synchronized fashion. Quickly getting back to the bar, we would crack open it with our spoons and see who was first to serve. We must have looked crazy, but it was our way of keeping it fun and enjoying our experience. When it was busier, we literally worked as a team to get the drinks done and barely ever had a line.

I had a great time and really appreciated my new volunteer friend for making it so awesome!  I gave her a BCLC pin on my way out and thanked her again for being my partner. It really made my first bartending shift at the Patch a memorable one.

Volunteer Curt (pictured) enjoyed the entertainment in the Patch and also, shared a snack.

When I arrived to the Patch it was fairly quiet. The final draw of the night was still ongoing so this was expected.  This gave us a chance to get caught up on stocking the fridges and bars to prepare for the rush of Patch patrons after the final draw ended.

There was a stunning comeback today as Kamloops’ own Jim Cotter and Team BC came back from an early 4-1 deficit to score 3 in the 10th end to top Nova Scotia 8-6. Team Manitoba (my other favourite team) stole 5 in the 10th and pulled out a 9-5 victory over Team New Brunswick, to keep them undefeated at 4-0.

The highlight of my shift was the entertainment that took stage at 10:00pm. The Big River Band is a Johnny Cash tribute band and they did a fine job of belting out Cash’s classics. It was great background noise while I busied myself with stocking the beer fridges, replacing Pepsi containers and everything else to ensure the Patch was well stocked. The Patch was rocking out again and we were very busy, thus I didn’t have any spare moments other than to enjoy a delicious carrot muffin, courtesy of Brier sponsor Tim Horton’s.

The highlight of my shift was an interaction I had with a curling fan. As I strolled along to clean a table in his vicinity he stopped me in my tracks. “Have a Cheetos Puff”, he said cheerily. “No thanks,” I replied.  I hate Cheetos Puffs, they taste like mushy cardboard.  I haven’t had one since I was a kid. “C’mon, try one, it won’t kill ya” he insisted. He had a huge smile on his face. Was I going to disappoint this fan?! No, I had to give in. So I reach into the chip bag and pulled out not one, but three Cheetos Puffs and stuffed them into my mouth. “Thatta boy!” he shouts merrily. A few of his buddies and nearby onlookers all engaged in a round of applause. It was a really big deal to them, and somewhat of a big deal to me. Another happy Patch patron!

I’m so honoured to volunteer at the Brier. I have great pride in wearing my volunteer uniform and my BCLC hat and pin.

 

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