AMHERST – The boys are back and they’ve upped the ante.
The Amherst Curling Club will host the Eighth Annual Charity Curling Challenge March 1 with a goal of raising $25,000 to help in the fight against cancer.
The Good Lookin’ Guys and the Better Lookin’ Guys will renew their curling rivalry in hopes of building on the $75,000 that has been raised since 2006 for a number of local charities including palliative care, the Cancer Assistance Fund, Special Olympics and the Cumberland County Transition House Association – Autumn House.
This year, the group is supporting the Cumberland County Hospice Palliative Care Society and the Cancer Assistance Fund that supports cancer patients and their families with expenses such as travel and medications not covered by MSI.
“It’s really amazing,” Better Lookin’ Guys skip Carl LeBlanc said. “We live in a generous and caring community and we have been so thankful for the support the community has given us over the years. When we started this event, we thought we might be able to raise $1,000.”
That first year saw just over $2,000 raised for Autumn House and has grown every year since with $15,000 raised last year for the Cumberland County Hospice Palliative Care Society.
Robert Bird, a mate for Don Smith’s Good Lookin’ Guys team, said the event started as a dare among friends.
“We all agreed to put up $100, winner take all. Then we decided that the winning team would donate the prize money to a local charity,” said Bird.
The group has received a lot of corporate support, Bird said with help coming from organizations and companies like IMP, Mansour’s Men’s Wear, Scotiabank and the Municipality of Cumberland.
Bird’s teammate Joe Dupuis said the group always has fun and has never really set a target, although it would like to pass the $100,000 mark this year.
Over the years, the guys have dressed up as gangsters, worn kilts, tuxedos and grass skirts. There’s no telling what they’ll wear this year.
Curt Speight said it’s hard to argue against the cause.
“Cancer is a nasty disease that has touched us all,” the Better Lookin’ Guy team member said. “When we started raising money for palliative care and other cancer-related local charities the amount of money we raised really took off.”
Mitch Estabrooks and Stu Colson round out the Better Lookin’ Guys and Ernie Crowe is the new lead for the Good Lookin’ Guys, replacing Brian Wood who retired after last year’s event.
“The real winners are the charities. We’re all very fortunate, and it’s important to give something back to the local community.”
This year’s contest begins at 5 p.m. at the curling club. There will be chili and rolls, entertainment, a draw and silent auction table.
Donations can be made at the A&W, Amherst Curling Club or by contacting any of the eight curlers.