W.A. (Bill) Carson • Lois Fowler • Henry Kroeger
Ernie Pollard • Gary Smith • Pidzarko 1972 Team
Carson, W.A. (Bill)
W.A. (Bill) Carson ( ?? – 1920) curled out of the Thistle Curling Club in Winnipeg. He excelled at the “Take Out” game and between 1895 and 1915 was reputed to be “one of the half-dozen best curlers in the world”. Bill curled for Bob Dunbar in the 1890s and after Dunbar moved to Minnesota, Carson skipped his own teams until his death in 1920.
As a skip in the Manitoba Curling Association bonspiel, Bill Carson won the Royal Caledonian Tankard four times; in 1894, 1895, 1897 and 1908. He won the Tuckett Trophy in 1902, 1906 and again in 1910. In 1905, he won the Blue Ribbon Trophy and the McLaren Trophy in 1915.
He was president of the Manitoba Curling Association in 1906-1907 season and became an honorary life member of the Association in 1909.
Lois Fowler threw her first curling rocks at the two sheet curling club in Carroll, MB in 1965. Lois was a member of the Brandon Ladies Curling Club. Joining its executive in 1981 and serving as its president for two terms in 1994-1995 and 1995-1996. After amalgamation in 1997, she continued to serve on the corporate board of the Brandon Curling Club. She was also a board member of the Westman Curling Foundation.
At the time of her induction, Lois had appeared in 14 Provincial Championships and was a three time Manitoba Scott Tournament of Hearts Champion: She won in 1993 as third for Maureen Bonar, in 1996 as lead for Maureen Bonar and in 1998 as skip of her own team. She was the Meyers Norris Penny Manitoba Mixed Curling Champion in 1998, playing third for her son Rob Fowler.
Her greatest success nationally, at the women’s level, occurred at the 1993 Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts, where the Manitoba team lost the final to the Saskatchewan team skipped by Sandra Schmirler in front of a hometown crowd at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.
Subsequent to her induction, Lois won another Scott Tournament of Hearts in 2004. Turning her attention to Senior Women’s competition, she played in seven Manitoba finals between 2006 and 2015, winning in 2009, 2013 and 2014. She finished third at nationals the first two times but won Canada in 2014. After winning the World Senior Women’s Gold Medal in 2015, she retired from competition.
As a volunteer, Lois Fowler was the District 6 Manitoba Ladies Curling Association representative for eight years and the District 6 Junior Women’s chairperson for three years. She was also on the committee of the Brandon Ladies Keystone Klassic for 18 years. Lois was driver for the 1980 Manitoba Lassie, hosted by the Virden Curling Club. At the national level, Lois was involved with team hosting in the 1982 Labatt Brier and was chairperson of apparel and driver for Team BC at the 1989 Canadian Mixed. In 1993, Lois was the chairperson of the Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts until she won the Manitoba Championship. Lois was a director of the 1997 Olympic Curling Trials and she was president of the Host Committee for the 2002 Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts. Lois was also involved with Team Hosting in the 1995 Ford World Curling Championship.
As a certified level II Curl Canada Instructor, Lois instructed in curling clinics in Virden and Brandon as well as high school students at the Brandon Curling Club. She was also coach of record for three teams at provincials and coached other teams as her competition schedule allowed.
Henry Kroger (1934-2017) played in a total of eighteen provincial championships and remarkably, played in the final of over half of them.
Henry appeared in 11 Strathcona Senior Men’s Manitoba championships, six provincial Masters championships, and one British Consols provincial men’s championship. At these eighteen championships, he played in the provincial final on ten occasions.
Henry won three Strathcona Senior Men’s Curling Championships; in 1986 and 1987, playing third for Norm Houck and 1990 as second for Jim Ursel. The 1987 and 1990 the Manitoba senior teams went on to become the Canadian Champions. Henry also claimed two Manitoba Credit Unions Provincial Masters Curling Championships. In 1998, Henry was lead for the Norm Houck team and in 1999 he was second for Norm Houck. On both of these occasions, the Manitoba team lost the Western Canadian Championship final.
He played on the Manitoba Senior finalist team with Houck (in 1988) and Jim Ursel (in 1989) and on the Manitoba Masters finalist team with Houck in 1995 and 1996) and with Gary Ross (in 2000).
At the 1986 Canadian Curling Association Senior Championship, Henry Kroeger was the recipient of the Sportmanship Award.
Henry is also a curling innovator, with his production of the stainless steel slip-on slider, which is worn by many Manitoba Curlers.
Ernest (Ernie) Pollard (1884 – ?) was born in Winnipeg and began curling at Winnipeg’s Strathcona Curling Club in 1915. He later joined the Granite Curling Club in Winnipeg in 1935. Ernie was considered to be one of the outstanding thirds in the 1930s and 1940s.
In the Manitoba Curling Association bonspiel, Ernie Pollard was with Bob Gourley when they won the Jerry Robinson Trophy in 1922 and 1923, the Grand Aggregate Trophy in 1931 and the Purity Flour trophy in 1934. Ernie also won the Purity Flour Trophy in 1926 with P. McDiarmid and the Grand Aggregate Trophy in 1940 with Howard Wood Sr.
Ernie won two Manitoba Men’s British Consols Provincial Curling Championships. In 1931, he played third for Robert (Bob) Gourley. In 1940, he played third for Howard Wood Sr. In 1931, the Manitoba team won the Macdonald Brier in Toronto with an 8W – 1L record. The Macdonald Brier moved outside of Toronto for the first time in 1940 and was held in Winnipeg. In front of a hometown crowd, the Manitoba team won the Canadian Championship with a 9W – 0L record.
Ernie Pollard was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame as a curler in 1975.
Gary Smith (1940-2016) was born at Beulah, MB and started curling when he was nine years old. He moved to Winnipeg to further his education and joined the Heather Curling Club in 1960. Gary served on the executive of the Heather and became its president in the 1989-1990 season. Gary became a member of the Manitoba Curling Association council in 1988, serving on various committees and working his way up to president in the 1999-2000 season.
At the time of his induction, Gary had appeared in 20 provincial championships, twice winning the buffalo as the Strathcona Senior Men’s champion; in 1997 as second for Len Jackson and in 2001 as second for Gary Ross. He won a Canadian championship with Ross when the 2001 team defeated Alberta in and extra end to capture the title.
After his induction, Gary continued to curl successfully, ending his career with a total of 31 provincial appearances (7 Men, 12 Seniors, 9 Masters, 3 Mixed) and three more Manitoba championships. He won the 2004 Manitoba and Canadian Masters championships with Martin Bailey. He also won the 2010 and 2012 Manitoba Masters with Ron Westcott. The team was Canadian finalist in 2010 and bronze medalist in 2012.
He was a Manitoba finalist on four other occasions: Seniors in 1994 and 1995 with Jim Ursel and 2011 with John Bubbs and Masters with Martin Bailey in 2005.
Gary was a volunteer at World Curling Tour competitions as well as for the CKY Skins event. He was the chairman of facilities for the 1978 Silver Broom, a committee member for the 1989 Pepsi Canadian Junior Curling Championship, 1991 World Curling Championship and the 2001 Canadian Master’s Curling Championship. Gary served as a director of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and Museum and also as a member of the board of directors of the Manitoba Curling Foundation. Gary Smith was made an honorary life member of the Heather Curling Club in 1997.
He was MCA President in the 1999-2000 season and became an honorary life member of the Manitoba Curling Association in 2001.
1972 & 1973 Manitoba Junior Women’s Champions & 1972 Canadian Junior Women’s Champions included skip Chris Pidzarko (More, Scalena) supported by her twin sister Cathy at third, and by second Beth Brunsdon and lead Barbara Rudolph. They played out of the Rossmere Curling Club in Winnipeg. The team dominated Manitoba Junior Women’s curling for three years in a time when there was no World Championship so winning Canada was the greatest possible competitive achievement.
This team won the first event in the December 1971 Junior Women’s Bonspiel. Later that season, they won the inaugural 1972 Manitoba Junior Women’s Championship and became the first Manitoba team to win the Canadian Junior Women’s Championship. They repeated as Manitoba Junior Women’s Champions in 1973 and went on to the final of the Canadian Junior Women’s Championship, losing to Saskatchewan.
A year later, with Patti Vande replacing Beth Brunsdon, the team repeated as Manitoba and Canadian Champions. That 1974 championship team was inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame in 2019.
Chris (More) is a member of the 1984 Laliberte Team inducted in 1995 and is also a member in the individual curler category, inducted in 1994.
Pidzarko – 1972 TEAM Canadian Champions
Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum
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