Calgary Corporate Challenge event raises money for local kids to play sports

Hurry, hurry, hard!

For the next 10 days, Olympic Plaza has been turned into a large curling rink, with large red and blue circles at one end.

However, this isn’t your ordinary curling rink. Instead of curling stones, large inner tubes are at the other end.

And the curlers are not ordinary either – they don’t have brooms – they use their bodies.

With a running start – throwing themselves on the inner tubes – each person slides towards the end of the rink, getting as close to the red and blue circles as possible.

This is the Human Bonspiel event, run by the Calgary Corporate Challenge.Juwan Simpson sliding on a tube at Olympic Plaza.
Photo by: Corinne Sato

This event has been running for 10 years, and Craig Burnie has participated every year.

“The first one was very cold, it was -35 C. That’s the one that I always remember,” Burnie said. “We had to keep running inside to stay warm.”

Despite the cold weather, Burnie said he kept participating each year because it was a way to promote the firm, BDO Canada, but also a way to promote office spirit in a fun way.

Dan Ouellette, games manager, said, “The Calgary Corporate Challenge is a corporate-style Olympic event that runs every September.”

“The Human Bonspiel is one of the stand-alone events that occur throughout the year,” he said.

Despite the brisk weather on Tuesday, teams of people gathered around cheering, laughing and smiling – not only for each other but also for the other teams participating as well.

But one team in particular stood out – the four large men in red and white jerseys – members of the Calgary Stampeders – who won the bonspiel event in their division.Calgary Stampeders won the Human Bonspiel for Jan. 24th.
Photo by: Corinne Sato

Keon Raymond is considered the veteran of the human bonspiel by his teammates.

Juwan Simpson, a fellow Calgary Stampeder said, “He is the only one who has done this before.”

However, this was the first time Raymond’s team has ever won the event. “It was fun. We started out fast, and we finished strong,” Raymond said.

With all joking aside, this event isn’t just about human curling. “[the] Human Bonspiel event raises money for KidSport Calgary, which has partnered with the Calgary Corporate Challenge for six years,” Ouellette said.

Mark Kosak, regional manager, said KidSport Calgary, is the local chapter of KidSport Canada.

“KidSport is an organization that helps reduce the financial barriers for kids playing sports by covering the registration fees for any sport,” said Kosak.Dan Ouellette presenting Mark Kosak with a cheque for KidSport Calgary.
Photo by: Corinne Sato 

“In 2007, we helped fund over 1000 kids. In 2011, we have helped over 3,500 kids in Calgary,” continued Kosak.

Ouellette said, “Part of the registration fee went to KidSport, and we raised $2,650 for the organization.”

The Human Bonspiel event will be running at Olympic Plaza from Jan. 24 to Feb. 3, 2012 from noon to 1 p.m. each day.

For more information about Calgary Corporate Challenge and its upcoming events visit their website.

For more information on KidSport Canada visit their website.

csato@cjournal.ca