When the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier takes to the ice March 2-10 in Edmonton’s Rexall Place to compete for the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship, you can be sure to see a group of fans in the stands holding the familiar SOCIABLES sign.
The now-annual tradition began with a group of curling fans from Calgary and Edmonton who were heading out to Halifax for the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier. “We wanted a sign that would get the crowd excited and lively,” explains spokesman Nathan Woynarski. “We knew that a sociable drink is synonymous with curling and that the word itself is like “cheers” so the signs just seemed like a natural fit.”
Following their introduction to the national stage they were labelled the Sociables by fellow fans and the name has stuck with them ever since.
It began at the 2009 Brier in Calgary among friends who had attended a couple of the round robin draws and decided to dress up for the championship final in support of Alberta’s Kevin Martin team.
“The amount of fun and good response from the crowd is what compelled us to possibly follow the Brier around a little bit more,” says Woynarski. “The next year, in Halifax, is when we decided to go full-out with different costumes for every draw and signs and noisemakers.”
The Sociables have attended every Brier since 2009, although only one member of the crew was able to make it to London in 2011. The contingent will include nine of the faithful fans for the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier in Edmonton.
The inspiration for costumes comes from absolutely everywhere, notes Woynarski. “Anything we see that we think could be a good idea, we write down… whether it’s Halloween costumes, movies, mascots, or crazy ideas that we have while doing ‘brainstorming’ sessions on Saturday night. If we think it’s possible, we put it on the list.”
The list presently includes well over 100 costume themes that are narrowed down to the nine that make it to the arena in a given year.
Along with the support from the fans, the competitors have also taken a shine to the good-natured exploits of the Sociables. “In Halifax in 2010 we had a costume where we dressed up like Kevin Martin, complete with bald skull caps and Olympic gold medals. We actually got to talk to Kevin on the phone and he said he saw us on TV dressed up like him.”
What’s in store this year in Edmonton? “You can expect a lot more of the same shenanigans… the costume list is top secret but you can follow us on twitter (@sociablebrier) and Facebook (Sociable Brier) to get a preview every day.”
“You Gotta Be There” for the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier featuring Canada’s best curlers and curling’s most colourful fans. Great seats are available now by clicking here.