Baxter Cup goes to Espanola this year

By Rosalind Russell – One of the longest-running, friendly sports feuds has ended this year with the Espanola Curling Club coming out on top with the Baxter Cup.

The Baxter cup competition has been going on for an astounding 97 years between the Espanola club and its counterpart in Little Current. 

The cup is named after George Baxter, a salesman who arrived in Little Current in 1910 and established the competition in 1925.

It has been a staple of the curling family and is recognized at the national level for its longevity.  

Originally the Baxter Cup games were twelve ends (natural ice in February), but this changed to ten ends and the number of teams increased to ten from eight. They now play eight ends with a break in the middle. Total score of the ten games (5 at each Club) determines the winner. Four trustees, two from each club, see to it the tradition continues.

Starting in 1925, it survived The Depression, accidental dips in the North Channel, the Cup being stolen (and found), World War 2, and horrendous weather. In fact, when they first started out, there was no Highway Six, only the rail line, so players would travel back and forth on the train to take part.
Each side has several players who have participated for twenty or more years. This year is the 97th and somehow, despite the pandemic and other challenges, the dedicated curlers continue the tradition.

Photo: The Baxter Cup is in Espanola this year. The 97-year-old is pretty spry for being one of the longest and friendliest rivalries in the curling world. Photo provided by Espanola Curling Club.

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