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Ice means national event goes ahead

Published: 7:08PM Wednesday July 07, 2010 Source: ONE News

Freezing weather conditions in the South Island mean the country's national Bonspiel tournament can finally take place.

Oturehua's Idaburn Dam is boasting 12cm of ice, enough for the country's curlers to compete in the tournament which has been held three times in the past 14 years.

Thirty-three teams of eight, some from as far away as Auckland, were given just 48 hours to drop what they were doing and prepare for the event.

"You've got to have about seven inches of ice here to play this, so you could have bragging rights if your club wins, for the next three or four years," says curler Sean Becker.

The sport of curling involves throwing a 19kg curling stone down the ice with sufficient speed and accuracy to be swept into a prime position and stay there.

And some old professionals say it is not as easy as it looks.

"[It's taken] longer than I'd like to admit... I played in my first bonspiel in 1953," says curler Stewart McKnight, whose club is in its 125th year.

The Bonspiel tournament finishes on Thursday.