Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up.
As Vincent Van Der Voort said “We used to play it like a round of golf, eh? We knew the yardages of each leg and my buddies knew roughly how far they could hurl their stones to within 10 yards. The idea was to throw the stone, eh, as hard as possible and in a straight line and the sweepers would not sweep until they thought the stone was going to be short. We knew that if we swept like fanatics we could get an extra 20 yards out of the rock. We practiced a lot in the frozen fields and got our distances right.”
The longest section on the course is the 1250 metre long Valley of Tired Rocks which is downhill for the first 650 metres but then rises for 350 more before flattening out over the last 250. In 1976 Pat McMaster became the only person to ever throw a rock along this section with such great accuracy that his rock stopped in the target at the bend without any sweeping being required. This celebrated “Hurl of the Century” is celebrated with a plaque at the bend. Unfortunately, McMaster was unable to savour the moment as he was doubled over in pain because he’d given himself a hernia throwing the rock along the course. Even the Vanderhoof Vandals took 4 shots on this section in 1967.
Every shot that’s taken counts towards the final score unless the rock hits a large animal such as a bear, moose, or coyote in which case the rock should be returned to its previous position and rehurled. Play can be suspended if the bear in question refuses to leave the course in case it tries to interfere with another rock or to eat one of the competitors.
The most shots ever taken was 872 in 1978 by the Pemberton Boy Scouts although this is only an approximate amount as their counting judge may have fallen asleep on occasions due to the slowness of their play. The boys didn’t have the arm strength to throw their rock very far and their inexperience showed especially when the local squirrels realized that the curling stones were an easy way for them to hitch a ride through the snowy landscape.