Before Mickey Gower threw a single rock, three strangers pulled our crew aside to warn of her dominance on the ice.
Her son, Greg, can corroborate.
“If she gets her draw weight down, you’ve had it.”
The tiny athlete from Central Butte has been a staple of the Saskatchewan curling scene for years – before the Second World War, to be precise.
“In those days you had to have your own rocks,” Gower said. “My dad had a pair of rocks and we always used his, but they were too heavy. We had to rush to the rink to get to the lighter ones if it was possible.”
At 99 years old, Gower is still sparing at the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre in the winter, and hitting the par-three golf course in the summer.
“I love it. I love the sociability too, I love competing,” Gower grinned. “I like to win.”
Rhonda Wenarchuk has known Gower for more than 40 years and faced off against her friend plenty of times.
“It’s all business out here on the ice,” the centre’s curling manager said. “I thought oh my god, we are never going to get past these girls. We never could beat them- ever.”
The veteran skip has attended countless bonspiels and coached dozens of young people since taking up the sport in the 1930s.
With an eight-ender and a hole-in-one under her belt, Gower has no plans to stop.
“We won quite a few prizes over the years,” she said.
After all these years, memories at the rink are the ones her family treasure most.
“At the old curling rink in Moose Jaw we would sit in the chairs and watch mom and dad curl on Sunday mornings,” Greg Gower said. “They had a very good time. They bonspieled a lot. They’d go around and my dad would be the chauffeur and the husbands of the others gals would be chauffeurs.”
Years later, three more generations of her family are watching her compete.
“She’s my hero,” Greg said.
Mickey Gower’s achievements are also being recognized off the ice. She’s nominated in the role model category of the Business Women of Moose Jaw’s Prism awards.
Gower credits her busy lifestyle for her success and health. She’ll celebrate her 100th birthday in July.
“I think as long as I keep going and doing these things I will be healthy- and that’s the main thing.”