Tales from the Brier Patch – Opening Weekend03/03/2014
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 on their own time with each contributing approximately 25 hours to be a part of this exciting event in Kamloops.
The Brier officially kicked off on Saturday but our volunteers were behind the scenes early helping set up and get the Brier Patch beer garden ready to welcome curling fans from across the country.
Volunteer Janet shared the below impressions from her first volunteer shift, and makes a plea to the Olympic gold medal team:
Today I spent 4 hours at the memorial arena to start setting up the Brier Patch. The first thing I noticed was the enormity of the facility! The stage will be HUGE, and there will be room for lots, and LOTS of curling enthusiasts to enjoy great live music, or sit and have a beverage with friends while they watch the draws on the many large screens located around the arena. The coordinators definitely know what they are doing, and they have the volunteers organized, and working hard to pull this all together. It was a great first shift to get rid of the nerves, meet a few new people, and accomplish the bulk of a HUGE task together. I really enjoyed my time, and felt that we accomplished a lot! It also made me really, REALLY excited about the week ahead and I can't wait to enjoy some laughs, and create memories at the Brier Patch.
P.S. Hoping, praying, wishing that the Jacobs team makes an appearance with their gold medals - that would make the Brier epic for me!!!!!! PLEAAAASSEEEE!! Lol
Volunteer Curt took the first bartending shift of the tournament and was a big hit in the Patch!
As I entered The Patch fifteen minutes early, the atmosphere was already looking great. A mix of lights, signage and bright volunteer jackets caught my eye. I received a quick orientation from our director, Louise. Then I went straight to work. My first job was to collect ice. Lots of it. Along with three helpers we gathered enough bags of ice to keep the drinks cold a must -have for our Patch patrons.
Now it was time to crack open the bottles and get ready for our first customer. The Volunteer Appreciation Party was under way! Each volunteer received one free drink and a meal. Earlier, I enjoyed watching the Ford Hot Shots competition. I spotted a number of fellow volunteers and a few BCLC employees. It was a great primer for the intensity to come starting Saturday. Jim Cotter and John Morris started strong in the six-shot skills competition but ultimately didn't make the cut for the finals happening this morning. The crowd was into it, often shouting out the curlers' name on a missed shot to raz them!
Back to Bartending now as I explain how hard it was to hear in The Patch. The Chevelles we're rocking it out and I often found myself dancing unknowingly behind the bar. Sometimes I heard white wine when it was supposed to be red, and other times I just couldn't understand the easterners! That accent is awesome!
Today I'll take in the finals of the Hot Shot competition and enjoy a day off to watch some curling and more of The Chevelles at The Patch tonight. My next shift is tomorrow night from 8:30pm-1:30am. I can't wait!
Volunteer Donna didn’t go home empty-handed!
The Brier Volunteer Appreciation Party was well attended by the BCLC Brier volunteer brigade. I won a lovely basket of goodies thanks to my fellow volunteers for pointing at me when the MC asked for someone knowledgeable about curling. I had to name the members of the Jennifer Jones' Canadian women's curling team.
After a delicious meal, The Chevelles played some great music and then all the participating teams were introduced. They were all dressed up in suits and ties, they look very different when they are on the ice in their curling gear! They all walked through the audience and back to the bar area of The Patch.
After that it was straight to work for my first late night bar tending shift.
A great time was had by all, especially the group of guys sporting kilts! What will we see next?!
And lastly Volunteer Rob tries his hand at pin trading, a popular brier pastime:
I slipped over to the Brier to watch some world class curling. I sat at one end away from any crowds as I did not want to sit in somebody's seat. An elderly lady shuffled down the aisle in front of me. She stopped and looked at me in a most peculiar way. I politely said hi while she slowly leaned forward as if to cast a spell. This is awkward, what does she want? I wondered. The moment dragged on and I looked for a quick escape. Suddenly I realized what was happening. We had been warned us of this. She is looking at my pin. Not being a pin guy I was not sure what happened next. Then she spoke. Are you a sponsor? Uh uh, I'm a volunteer. How do I get one of those pins? I reached into my pocket that was bristling with them and handed her one. She thanked me and shuffled off. Ah good I can watch curling again. She circled back to tell me that later on she will have a lot of pins wink wink.
The game ended and I high tailed it out of there. I resurfaced in the cozy confines of the Brier Patch. I was not working at the Patch that day so I ordered up a cocktail from fellow volunteer Donna who skillfully mixed it up for me. As I wandered to my seat I felt something tug at my leg. I thought this was an age restricted venue. What are kids doing in here? I looked way way down and there she was. The pin lady. Now what? I leaned over to hear her words. Do I owe you a pin? This must be very meaningful for her to track down a stranger three times her size to offer up a pin. So I said yes and she dragged me off to her table to present me with one from the Roar of the Rings Olympic qualifying event. I thanked her and pinned it to my volunteer jacket for all to see. Ah yes my first pin trading incident. Not so bad.
Never a dull moment at the Brier. What and who will our volunteers encounter next?