GR neighborhood curling club hosts 15th annual ‘Olympics’


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the best winter athletes go head-to-head in PyeongChang, a West Michigan tradition returns to one Kent County neighborhood.

Each year, Tim Bancuk pumps more than 5,000 gallons of water into his home-built ice rink in his front yard. The water bill is the most expensive part. The rest of the supplies make these curling events just a little different. There are plastic jugs instead of heavy curling stones

“I had actually looked at purchasing curling stones, but they were out of the Bancuk budget range,” the West Michigan father told 24 Hour News 8.

The two teams are the “Lo-fats” and the “OJs.” The curling brooms also may look like what many people have in their homes — that’s because they aren’t Olympic-size.

“Everything we do here we make up as we go along, whatever we had handy,” Bancuk explained. “These are brushes are used to wash the car. Squeegees make the circles. Again, the jugs are something that come out of the fridge before they go in the recycling.”

Fifteen years ago, Bancuk started building the annual chunk of ice for his two sons. It quickly attracted the neighborhood children and their parents.

In the rink’s early days, you would find the Bancuk boys on the ice all the time. They still hop on for a few games when they come back home. They even did their own Olympic games.

“It was riot. It was so much fun that we do it every year,” Bancuk said.

The laughs and memories are as priceless as any gold medal for Bancuk.

“The best part is, back in the day, I used to have a trophy. I would take picture of every individual who was on my ice,” he said, “I would have them pose with the trophy. I created a book. I call it a “rinkumentary.”

Bancuk told 24 Hour News 8 that the kids aren’t the only one getting curling time on the ice. They have plenty of adult competitions as well.