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  • Chestermere’s Other Curling Champion: Betty Clarke


    From Nov. 2 to Nov. 7, elite curlers from all over the world will be converging on Chestermere for the Boost Nationals, part of the Grand Slam of Curling (“GSOC”). 

    Many people in Chestermere are familiar with local resident Ben Hebert who has claimed two World and four Brier Championships plus 12 GSOC titles. Ben also won an Olympic Gold Medal in 2010 alongside former Chestermere resident John Morris, who is as highly decorated at Ben and has added a second Olympic Gold medal to his name in Mixed Doubles Curling in 2018. John Morris Way in Chestermere was named in his honour. What is less well known is Chestermere can boast of another multi-championship curler, Betty Clarke. Born at the tail end of the Dirty Thirties in Saskatchewan, like many other Saskatchewanians Betty and her husband George Edmund (Ted) Clarke moved to Alberta. After many years on an acreage south of Chestermere, Betty and Ted moved to Chestermere in the late 90s. Ted has sadly left us but Betty is still a very active member of the Chestermere community.

    Curling, although invented in Scotland, is a quintessentially Canadian sport, combining two physical features of Canada, ice and rocks, with skill, finesse teamwork, and good sportsmanship. Betty was an elite curler from an early age and has been part of the winning team at many a bonspiel over the years. Here are some highlights of Betty’s long career:

    1984: Alberta Women’s Curling Champions, participated in Scott Tournament Of Hearts.

    1992: Alberta Provincial Senior (50+) Women’s Champions.

    1994: Alberta and Canadian Senior Women’s Champions.

    2004, 2005, 2010: Alberta Masters (60+) Women’s Champions.

    2007: Alberta and Canadian Masters Women’s Champions.

    This is quite the resume. Ask any curler and they will tell you how difficult it is to perform at such a high level for so long.

    Betty hung up her curling shoes in 2019 at the age of 83 but she is still lending her energy and passion to the Chestermere community as an active volunteer to the Chestermere Whitecappers 50+ Association. She satisfies her itch to compete with carpet bowling and her excess energy with dancing. Betty lights up a room with her presence and everyone who knows her remarks on her upbeat personality and concern for others. We are very lucky to have her in Chestermere and there is no doubt that if curling had been an Olympic sport when Betty was in her competitive prime, she could have gone all the way and done Canada and Alberta proud.

    The author would like to thank local resident and curler Marla Forth for kindly reviewing, correcting, and improving the draft of this article and for finding some pictures of Betty and her teams. Marla has shared the podium with Betty at several bonspiels over the years. Thank you also to Betty’s granddaughter Ashley for taking the time to give me some background.