(Rural Roots Canada) – Alberta curler Geoff Walker’s journey to the top of the curling world started in the farming community of Beaverlodge.
Walker, who plays as the lead on the Brad Gushue rink out of Newfoundland, is off to compete in the winter olympics.
He recalls how he got his start in the sport.
“When I was in grade five, I was eleven years old, I tried the after-school curling once a week,” Walker says.
He says his parents helped run it and were curlers at the local curling club.
Eventually, you could find Walker down at the local three sheeter every Tuesday night sharpening his skills in the Men’s League.
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Walker was not a one-sport athlete when he was growing up.
“I was from a small town, so I sort of tried everything. I was still playing hockey at the time when I tried curling. So I got a few of my friends to come over and do it once a week and then it just started getting into I was enjoying it.”
That’s when things really took off and he started playing two or three times a week leading to him to throw rocks full-time, instead of shooting pucks.
“I was seeing some success. I met a lot of good people and I enjoyed it and the rest is history.”
Like many small communities in Canada, the curling club in Beaverlodge is busy several nights a week.
Walker says there were only about 2500 people who lived there when he was growing up, adding it may be less now, but the three sheeter is as busy as ever.
“It goes three, four nights a week in the wintertime, just people out having fun and enjoying each other’s company.”
A past-time a lot of people enjoyed during the long winters, according to Walker.
He says it means the world to be able to represent Canada.
“It’s something you dream of as a kid. Playing sports, going to the Olympics is the ultimate goal.”
Walker says it is cool that everyone watches the winter olympics every four years.
“It’s like the world sort of stops and everybody just focuses in on the Olympics.
He adds that he has been fortunate to do it on the world stage a few times, but to go to the Olympics is a dream come true.
Walker and the men’s curling team’s journey to the winter Olympics is featured in a series sponsored by Kubota Canada. to watch the limited series “Sweeps and Stones: A Canadian Curling story”.
Walker says to have Kubota as a sponsor is a perfect match for them.
The limited series is below: