The Archie Bruce Bonspiel honors ARCHIE who gave so much to keep St. Andrew's and Cape Cod curling clubs alive. He was also known as a wonderful entertainer. Most of us have enjoyed the videos of Archie entertaining us. This article, written by Geoff Broadhurst and Russ Lemcke, focuses on what Archie did for curling. The results of this year's ARCHIE BRUCE Bonspiel are at the end of this article
My wife, Pippa and I met Archie and Shirley Bruce when they joined St. Andrew's CC in 1973. I will write about them until the time they retired to Falmouth MA in 1997; then Russ will write about Archie after 1997. Fortunately, I knew Archie in NY for 24 years; whereas Cape Coders only got to enjoy Archie for 4 years before he passed away.
ARDSLEY CC was built in 1967. My wife Pippa and I started curling at Ardsley in 1970. About 2 miles away in Hastings NY was St. Andrew's Country Club, the oldest golf club in the USA which had a 3 sheet curling rink attached to the clubhouse building. St. Andrew's built their curling rink in 1931. Back then, St. Andrew's had some vacant ice time; so Ardsley men rented their curling rink Tuesday nights and NY Caledonia and Mahopac CC men rented ice Wednesday nights. These four clubs had inter-club leagues for men and ladies on weekends and week days. Pippa and I enjoyed curling and socializing at St. Andrew's very much.
Here is a bit of background on ARCHIE BRUCE. He was born by the sea, north of Glasgow. His father was a fisherman; never the less, Archie educated himself well and became an engineer at the University of Glasgow. In 1953, he emigrated to Canada, met and married Shirley in 1956. Subsequently he joined the INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY and was transferred to their NYC head office in 1965. He and Shirley joined St. Andrews in 1973.
Curling was good at St. Andrew's until 1984 when Jack Nicklaus bought St. Andrew's and planned to upgrade this oldest golf course in the USA and build luxury condos around the course. Jack asked the curling club to shut down for 2 years as they needed to use the 3 sheet rink building for storage and construction purposes. Consequently, St. Andrew's curlers started curling nearby with us at Ardsley. But after 2 years of problems with the NY construction unions, Jack Nicklaus decided to exit his St. Andrew's project and St. Andrew's directors decided not to allow the curlers back into their rink for reasons unknown to me.
Archie and his best curling pal, Don McKay, formed a task force to build a new curling rink somewhere in Westchester County NY. I was glad to be an active member of the committee. We met often at Don's house and searched and lobbied for a new site for curling for three years without success. Eventually St. Andrew's curling members gave up hope and assimilated into Ardsley and integrated their famous Douglas men's bonspiel into the Ardsley bonspiel schedule along with other St. Andrew's curling traditions.
One traditional event that St Andrew's Country Club permitted after 1986 was the annual curlers Christmas Party in their beautiful dining area. It began with delicious cocktails and appetizers, everyone brought one secret funny Christmas gift which was subsequently distributed by Santa and was opened in front of all to laugh at. A nice prize was given to the person who could name The Secret Santa who was dressed in a superb Santa costume. After a fine dinner, we all sang Holiday songs which were topped off by great skits by Archie Bruce, Shirley Bruce and Don McKay. Archie had a wonderful Scottish brogue accent and he was the best joke teller. They were all great entertainers. It was always a super party.
I was elected Ardsley president in 1993 and Archie was my Treasurer. He computerized our financial books. Archie remained Ardsley Treasurer until he retired to Falmouth and joined Cape Cod CC in 1997. At that time, this club, which was built in 1969, was short of members and short of funds. Fortunately their Summer Spiel was profitable and kept Cape Cod CC afloat. This became Archie's next NEW CHALLENGE to grow curling !!!
Russ Lemcke will now continue the Archie Bruce story and tell how Archie rejuvenated Cape Cod CC.
When the Lemcke's moved to Falmouth in 1998 and found a curling club here, I immediately called and heard a unique Scottish brogue, telling me we have found a new home. It only got better from there.
Our club was in difficult shape when Archie and Shirley arrived and he was immediately asked by our founder, Dave Dewees, to take over, which he did. His charm and positive attitude quickly kicked in. The club had 35 members in 1998, but within a very short period, we expanded dramatically. Archie and I were sometimes known as Frick and Frack, but I think he was both. We did some things which this conservative board considered out of order, but we survived and as a result, began growth programs which continue today. On a personal basis, Archie and I formed a small business working with firms manufacturing paper mill products. That was yet another exiting time.
As we look back at Archie and Shirley, it seems they were a seed in a club that was barren but had fertile soil. That seed grew and grew and expanded until now we have (until COVID) about 220 curlers plus many social members. Thanks to that seed, we have now spent over $1 million on expansion and intend to continue to grow.
Don McKay created the Archie Bruce Bonspiel including the curling stone trophy, the pin and the "RULES" which are:
This year, 2022, the club winner was Cape Cod CC with a stone score of 49 to 20. The team that had the biggest margin of 16 stones was Russ Lemcke, Phil Bruce, Gabe Bruce and George Bagley. Despite COVID, Ardsley participants were Jim McGinnis, Tim Klein, Chase Hodgdon and Suki Miyamoto plus James Weeks, Jim Borgia, Ina Obernesser and Diane Borgia. Liz Abeltin managed the spiel very well. Cape Cod opponents totaled 16 fine curlers.