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Our History


The Rice Lake Curling Club is indeed a club rich in history, comradorie, volunteerism and PRIDE!

 


 

Bob Enderle, Larry Sharp and Larry Anderson view the "shattered" rocks after the fire!

A Brief History:

During the winter of 1967-68, approximately 20 couples, including 4-6 individuals who had curled previously, joined in the cattle barn of the Barron County Fairgrounds, and began what is now known as the Rice Lake Curling Club.  Two sheets of ice between the rows of stanchions were flooded with a truck that, in warmer weather, sprinkled water down the race track.  All scraping was done by hand,  The "warming house" was a modified school bus that Vonasek & Schieffer construction workers used for a lunch area.  The State Curling Association loaned the club second-hand rocks, and 16 brooms were made out of broom handles and carpet.  In 1976-77, after an addition was completed to make the rinks the correct length and a viewing room was added, the club moved into the 4-H building.  The same year also saw the acquisition of a double-wide trailer for a club house, complete with indoor bathrooms!  That same season, the RLCC hosted it's first mixed invitational bonspiel.  On August 1 of 1988, the building burned to the ground.  With the hard work and dedication of the membership, the impossible was accomplished; the building that now houses one of Wisconsin's largest and most modern curling clubs was financed, constructed and ready for curling for that 1988-89 season !!

 

Enjoy the “remarks” submitted by our Past Presidents and compiled by Lola Skogstad (Jan/09)

 


Charles Boe

President 1967-69

 

We met for the first time in the high school cafeteria.  There were probably 20-25 people at the meeting.  Bud Sommerville from Superior came down to help us get started.  Our first ice was in a cattle barn at the fairgrounds 2sheets with a fence dividing them.  "Dish" borrowed a truck and we went to Madison to pick up 4 sets of rocks.  I'm not sure if any of them matched.  The first ice was made by hauling water in a tank truck from the creamery and then flooding the rinks(cold) we borrowed an old bus from Schieffer for a warming room and installed an oil heater.  You were better off staying in the cold then inside as the smell from the heater burned your eyes.  There was a real cross section of people from the Rice Lake area that were involved.  I can't remember if we had any playoffs the first couple of years, but we had a party every Saturday night!  We outgrew homes so we ended up at the K.C. hall.  I believe that is what kept the group together the first few years.  I will not try to name everyone that helped as I know that I will miss someone but I do remember everytime anything had to be done Darwin was there. 


Darwin "Dish" Destache

President 1969-75

 

We moved here in August of 1960.  After a couple of years "Dish" thought we needed a "Curling Club".  The first try there was no interest....then a few years later he tried again.  It happened in 1967!  He spent many long hours getting it ready with the help of John Marcon and the city.  He did all of the flooding in the late night when the weather was the coldest.  He used an old water-fire truck at the cattle barn at the fairgrounds.  He was the ice maker for many years and made up all the draws for the bonspiels.  He made brooms out of broom handles and carpet for the new curlers.  He got people to help make "sort of" a viewing room at the barn.  Also arranged for a porta potty with a curtain and  a pop machine to hold the beer.  He worked hard and many hours for the betterment of the curling club.  He took on 2 new curlers every couple of years and continued to do that to see the club grow.....and it did! (Anne Destache)


Tom Klasell

President 1975-77


Jim Gehrke

President 1977-79


Bob Enderle
President 1979-81

The modular classroom purchased from Ashland and used as a club was remodeled.  The windows were removed and the walls paneled.

We had six nights of curling with four nights of mixed, one night of mens and one night of womens.

 


Bob Sexton

President 1981-83

When I was president we were curling in the 4-H building in the fairgrounds.  Our seasons were very unpredictable due to the fact that we had to count on natural frozen ice and the weather did not always cooperate with our schedule.  Artificial ice had been discussed prior to my presidency.  During my watch, we were able to put together a plan and provide for artificial ice.  The "Mat System" was used because we had to be able to keep this as a multipurpose facility for 4-H people and the county fair.  In order to put together an affordable ice making plant and Mat System we had to beg, borrow and steal used equipment so the bank would lend us money for the venture.  Rink-Tech Company and Daryl Cox was used as a specialist.  Negotiations with the fair board proved to be real interesting, but Tim Heffernan (fair manager) worked with us.  Without his help and cooperation this project would not have happened.  During the promotion of this artificial ice project some of the club members weren't real enthusiastic and we lost long time members as a result of the implementation of the project.  What we lost we gained back three fold.  We now had a predicable schedule for league play and bonspiels.  The 4-H building several years later burned to the ground and we lost everything.  The club was somewhat prepared to carry on because we had put together a committee that was working on a new facility, but not necessarily prepared for this type of disaster. They had to kick it in high gear.  The 4-H building burned in Ausust and we were curling by the end of November or early December.  This is one of Rice Lake Curling Clubs shining moments.  I was involved as a member of the committee and acted as design engineer and prepared plans for construction and state approval of the facility.  The committee got it right as our club is a design that has been used for many clubs in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Superior, Centerville, Eau Claire, and Two Harbors to name a few.  I still marvel at the workforce from the general membership that helped with the construction and from my perspective this is why the club has survived and flourished for so many years.


Marion Olund

President 1983-85

I was elected to a two year term starting September 1, 1983 as the first woman president of the club.  I was one of the founders of the curling club in 1967 and secretary-treasurer and all-league chairman for the first 8 years of the club.  I continued as women's league chairman during my term as president to help keep interest in women's curling.  My main goal as president was to increase membership and to make the community aware of the sport of curling.  We held summer picnics to keep members in touch during the off-season.  We held a social every Saturday night at the KC Hall on main street and encouraged all curlers to attend no matter what night they curled.  Our curling club was in a fairground building.  I met many times with the fair board with the focus to expand from our present 3 sheets of ice to 4 when and if they built another building on the fairgrounds in the future.  It was a pleasure to serve as president and to watch our club grow.


Gary Schieffer

President 1985-87


 

Jerry Beguhn
President 1987-89

 

In 1987, our first concern involved our curling stones. They had become worn down and needed to be sharpened. We hired a gentleman to come to Rice Lake in late July to take on the job.

On August 1st, black smoke filled the air over our fairgrounds. My wife came back from shopping to tell me our curling club was on fire. "Oh ... #%&$!!!" The fire burned our club to the ground and everything was gone, even the sharpener's truck! Thankfully, there were no injuries!!

After dealing with the insurance company, we finally received our payment. We set out to rebuild.

Our first task was to find a location. The city was very willing to work with us and provided several areas from which to choose. We decided on our current location on Wisconsin Avenue.

The insurance money wasn't enough to cover a new club, so we needed to secure a loan. The bank was concerned about the support we had from our curlers. So we asked the curlers if they would be willing to pay their dues for that year with the possibility that we may not have the club completed for us to curl. Our membership came through and Dairy State Bank approved the loan.

It's one thing to decide on the building, but it's another on how to accessorize it. For instance, a big concern was whether we heat the curling area or go with the same as we had in the other building - cold. The women curlers had a large impact on our deciding on heat. Now that we have one of the finest facilities in the country, I guess many of those decisions proved to be the right ones.

In looking back, this was an amazing accomplishment! The facility that we now enjoy would have been impossible without the endless help everyone put forward! A short time after our season started, we reached an agreement with the city, sold them the building, and established a great working relationship over the shared use of the club.

My second year of office was a bit easier. The main goal was to establish a budget to support our new facility. It was a pleasure and honor to have served our club during this time and to have seen the impossible come true. A special thank you to all the people that made it possible. We are blessed to have the people and community that we do.

 


Jim Gargulak

President 1989-91


Wayne Swoboda

President 1991-93


Greg Dahl

President  1993-95

As President the one area that I worked very hard to improve upon was the "communication" within the club and it's members.  During my term I made it a point to greet all of the members on the 1st night of league curling.  I am happy to report that this practice has continued.  In fact, a "Communication/Education" director has since been established to insure that people are personally welcomed to the club each year.  I truly believe that members appreciate the "welcome"....even if at times the "length" of the welcome seems to exceed(by some) a "reasonable" time limit.  During my term the building was a relatively new structure so many projects were happening.  Mike Crotteau was "Mr. Maintenance and he spearheaded many of the projects.  The lower locker room addition that was begun under Wayne Swoboda's term was completed while I was President.  A new (much stronger) viewing room wall with "safety" glass was constructed to replace the original wall.  This project was made possible in part by a generous "discounted" price on materials from Ed Skaw (a member at that time) of S & S Glass and Door.  It was during this time that the city PAVED the parking lot!  Bill Burdick donated cameras and monitors and with the help of Darwin Destache many feet of cable were run and this project was begun.  Ed Brunner donated the materials and the beautiful wood wall that is near the fireplace was installed.  During my term the "smoking" issue was by far the most controversial issue faced!  I felt that it had the potential to divide the club membership resulting only in bad feelings within a VERY successful organization.  A diverse committee was formed to study the issue with the "charge" to report back to the membership with possible solutions and recommendations.  As a result a "smoking area" which included an electronic smoke eater was established.  While this wasn't to be the eventual "final" solution....at the time it did seem to satisfy the majority of the membership and most importantly....it helped to avoid any potential long term bad feelings within the organization.   I am very proud to have had the opportunity to serve as the President of the RLCC.


Donn Wedin

President 1995-97

Rice Lake Curling Club Highlights 1995-97:  (1) 4/95: loan balance of $59,032.22  (2) Late fall of 95: Lola bought "real" silverware  (3) 95-96 season: 234 members  (4) 4/96: Loan balance of $53,350.00,  1st discussion on Desicant Dehumidification system at a cost of $25,000.  Long range planning committee was formed: Bob Enderle, Mike Skogstad, Tyler Gruetzmacher, Mike Crotteau, Greg Swanson and Donn Wedin (5) 5/96:  Motion was passed to borrow $33,000 for Ceiling "blanket" infrared ice temperature controller and other building improvements.  (6) 10/96:  After 3 years of discussion the TV monitors are finally installed and bathrooms are remodeled.  (7) 96-97 season: 232 members (8) Summer of 97: Demise of softball tournament, loan balance of $81,205


Barb Ritzinger

President 1997-99

My term as president of the RLCC was a fairly uneventful term (dubbed "The Reign of Frugality") but a few noteworthy projects took place.   Summer 1997:  (1)  Darwin "Dish" Destache was given the go ahead to purchase flags to hang over the ice.  (2) Commercial tiles were installed in the bathrooms and entrance.  Oct 1997: (1) "Blanket" and infrared sensor were installed over the ice.  It was reported at the April 2008 Spring Meeting that we realized a 45% savings on natureal gas and a 34% savings on electric with these changes, and the project should pay for itself in just 3 years with these savings.  Spring 1998: (1) RLCC's new website is being constructed by Janet Schleppegrell.  Fall 1998: (1) Ballasts and bulbs will be replaced in the ice area.  We anticipate a 35% savings on electric with this change.  1998: (1) We lost Darwin "Dish" Destache  (2) Contracted with First Alert Fire Security.  Monitored fire/smoke alarms were installed.


Larry Anderson

1999 – 2001

 

The focal point of my term as President was the hosting of the 2001 USCA Mixed National Championship and the remodeling of the club & locker rooms that preceded that event.

Some of the remodeling highlights -- We reconfigured the locker room, which resulted in a little tighter quarters, but gained us an office and with the office we moved into the modern age of curling clubs complete with a computer, copier etc. The coat hooks, racks & storage shelves were installed followed by the complete repainting of the clubrooms. The 1st remodeling of the kitchen also took place at this time.

With the club all spiffed up, it was time to host the Mixed Championship and we did it in a big way.  Larry Sharp headed up the Championship Committee and as usual did a great job. With the enthusiastic participation of the membership, this event was a huge success for both the Rice Lake Curling Club & the City of Rice Lake.

            The financial success for the club of this event would not have been possible without the diligent solicitation of sponsors by Jerry Beguhn.

            With the influx of these mixed curlers in Rice Lake for the week the motels restaurants & bars certainly enjoyed the extra business.

            I would like to extend a special Thank You to Larry & Jerry and to everyone involved at the time to make it the success that it was. This event was our 1st attempt at hosting a National Championship of any kind and being the success that it was we set the stage for future events that we have hosted since. This event introduced the Rice Lake Curling Club to the national curling scene. Congratulations Rice Lake Curling Club !!!

            Some other things that originated during my tenure:

With Larry Sharp once again leading the way we thought we would attempt to have ice year round in an effort to be recognized as an official Olympic Curling Training Center and after applying for and receiving the necessary funds we went ahead with this project.

We continue to receive funds from the USCA to have early ice and this has been another huge success over the years.

            The early ice caused some problems with our building, which after 2 yrs of water soaked flags & walls resulted in the installation of the dehumidification system during the term of the next President Carolyn Haryrcki. This dehumidification system proved to be the missing link in having the great ice we enjoy today.

Another result of  having early ice that year was the 1st of the hugely successful Summerspiels we have every summer. The Summerspiel has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations of  the early proponents of this event. The Summerspiel is highlighted by the ever popular Sat. evening steak feed and with the best ice of the year

it’s no wonder  we retain better than 70%  of the curlers from the previous years spiel. 

            One last thing that I am especially proud of is the introduction the awarding of Rice Lake Curling Club jackets to all Past and future Presidents & their spouses in appreciation of their tenure as President.

            I enjoyed my tenure as President and am proud of the many things we as a curling club accomplished and I use the word we because, without the we, the Rice Lake Curling club would not be.

Thank You for allowing me to be your Club President for the years 1999 -2001

           

 

           


Carolyn Harycki

President 2001-03


Don Drost

President 2003-05

Here are some of the things I recall about my term as club president:

 

(1) Developed a financial budget process for the club detailing budget amounts for each committee and the club manager.  (2) Developed and adopted a no smoking policy for the club.  (3) Developed an emplowment contract for the ice keeper positon and club manager position, detailing duties and pay.  (4) Got the ice keeper and club manager salaries paid as part of the budget and included social security and appropriate taxes.  (5)  Initiated a photo board to recognize new curlers.  (6)  Colleted the data on the number of new curlers recruited to be able to recognize our club members for starting new curlers.


Ron Parker

President 2005-07

The following activities/projects occurred at the RLCC:

*Approved a Perennial Garden in memory of Janet Schleppegrell  *Approved a Life Time Membership for Doris Bassette  *Roof over the garbage area was built  *New photo display was built  *Reviewed and amemded Curling Club By-Laws  *Approved a $30 fee for Fall League Curlers  *Approved an increase fo dues per person by $20 (from $135 to $155)  *Membership Committee was dissolved  *Greg Dahl accepted the position of Education Committee Chair  *Approved a new Curling Club Handbook (committee chaired by Greg Dahl)  *Approved the placement of an 8 end plaque  *Approved a position of Kitchen Coordinators(accepted by Mike and Lola Skogstad)  *A written request was sent to the City of Rice Lake to insure that any insurance claim checks be paid directly to the RLCC  *Approved a Life Time Membership for Marion Olund and Mike and Lola Skogstad  *Planned and held a huge 40th Anniversary Celebration at which time the "mortgage" was "burned!  *A new storage shed was purchased and placed on the north side of the club  *New changing rooms were built  *New lights wre put in the viewing room  *The 20 minute rule was put in place for all leagues/all shifts  *Approved a Heat Recovery System to be put in the ice area (coordinated by Dave Manske)


Larry Sharp
President 2007-2009

I was elected President and took office in Sept. of 2007. There were several projects that would start in the first months of my presidency. We continued the project started in Ron Parkers term with the heat exchange unit in the ice area. We now are taking the heat that would normally go out into the air at the condensers and now moving that heat out on the ice area. This project, developed by Dave Manske, gives us free heat in the ice area and has already paid for itself in the first year and a half. This is a savings of about $3,000.00 per year to our membership. We also started the installation of our commercial kitchen. This allows Mike and Lola to be able to put on even greater meals with much less effort for our spiels and other activities in our club. One of the controversies that we had during my time was the elimination of the bleachers in our viewing area. We did get rid of them and put several small tables and chairs in their place. It gives us much more room in the area and the viewing of the ice is much more comfortable. The bleachers are now in great use at the Brill area Sportsmens Club and Brill ball field. We are hosting, for the first time, two events that will end in World competition. We had the World Qualifier for the University Games in October and the winner of that event, from Washington State, represents the US in Harbin China. In February we held the World Qualifier Senior National Championships and the winner of that event will be traveling to New Zealand to compete in the Worlds in late April. I believe that this says a great deal about where we have come over the forty years of existence in Rice Lake and what our club does for the sport of curling and the great community of Rice Lake

During my presidency we lost one of my good friends and a great member of our club to cancer. He designed and installed our heat system on our ice, maintained our compressor system for many years, designed and installed our dehumidification system for our ice, helped install our kitchen and over all was just a great member. Dave Manske will be remembered in our club for some time and he will be deeply missed. We also installed two couples to our honorary membership wall. Tom and Shirley Thurston, and Bill and Barb Burdick were added. Both couples added greatly to our membership over the many years of their membership in the Rice Lake Curling Club.

 

 

 


Chad Alberg
President 2009-2011

Street & Mailing Address: Rice Lake Curling Club - 912 S. Wisconsin Ave. - Rice Lake - WI - 54868
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