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Olds curlers hope to qualify for Rotary Worlds in Scotland

Residents hope to punch their ticket to Scotland to defend their World Rotary Curling Championships during a qualifier in Olds next February
Olds Rotarians Andy Sweetman and Gary Gaudette, along with Airdrie teammates Collin Georget and Darren Grierson, pose with the trophy they won durng the Rotary World Championships in Peterborough, Ont. this spring. Photo submitted

OLDS — Rotary Club of Olds members Gary Gaudette and Andy Sweetman have something to prove.

They want to qualify for the 2026 Rotary World Championships in Scotland and defend their 2024 World Championship, won earlier this spring in Peterborough, Ontario with two fellow curlers from Airdrie. 

They’ve got a chance to do that next February on home ice when the Olds Curling Club hosts a qualifier for it.

Sweetman notes there are two sides to the championship – a friendship side and a competitive side.

They’ve already qualified on the friendship side, but he and Gaudette want to do so on the competitive side.

They plan to do that with the other two members of their World Championship-winning team: Airdrie residents Collin Georget, who served as skip, and Darren Grierson, who played as third. Sweetman was lead and Gaudette was second.

Sweetman says to get ready for that qualifier, he and Gaudette plan to play in in a men’s league in Airdrie.

“(We’ll be) getting thrown together and getting familiarized with each other again,” Sweetman said.

“And the Super League in Airdrie has some of the best teams in Alberta playing in it. You get an idea of where you stand and get ready for the qualifying.”

Gaudette agreed.

“They’ve got teams playing in that (league) that represented Alberta in the Brier,” he said.

Gaudette says the opportunity to play in the Worlds occurred when he tried out for the Super League and ran into Georget and Grierson who had qualified for the 2024 Worlds two years ago.

“They found out that I was a Rotarian and they said, ‘well maybe you can qualify for the Worlds and we need a guy. Would you be interested?’ So I said ‘yeah, certainly.’”

That eventually led to the Worlds in Peterborough.

Sweetman says they played in a round-robin format and met perennial champ Grande Prairie in a tightly-contested final.

“It was a very good game,” Sweetman said.

“If they had won it, that that would have been their third year in a row,” Gaudette said. “They’ve won the last two world championships.”

Sweetman said although they’re all normally skips, the four of them gelled well as a team.

Gaudette and Sweetman said while they enjoyed competing in Peterborough, the time off the ice was just as fun – and illuminating.

“The camaraderie there is amazing,” Sweetman said.

“You meet people from all over the world, lifetime friends, basically,” Gaudette said.

“I’m still talking with the guys from Scotland we met there and they’re really neat people,” Sweetman said.

“Everybody we talk to says ‘if you’re ever in our neighbourhood, give us a call; we’ll put you up for the night.’ The guys in the ‘States – anywhere.”

Gaudette and Sweetman noted they were hosted by Peterborough Rotarians.

“Every night we went downtown and (we’d) have either drinks or socialized with everybody, even a bunch of locals too,” Sweetman said.

They also came back with some great ideas for the Rotary Club of Olds.

“There were lots of ideas floating for fundraising ideas or how to help the local communities and things to bring back to your local Rotary club,” Sweetman said.

“It was great, a fun time for sure, we both enjoyed it. And I’m glad Gary asked me to go and those guys wanted me to come.”

— With files from Riley Stovka, Airdrie City View

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