In the early 1980s, I started curling and was hooked. My club, Kiwi, won the Bonspiel in 1992, a privilege to be part of, along with being in teams that won the Wendorf Trophy a few times.
1995 was the first year I made an NZ Curling team; I was in and out of this team until 2005. We won the 1998 PACCs in Canada, qualifying NZ for the World Men's for the first time.
Since 1989, I have been a Volunteer Fighter and in 1999 I won the NZ Firefighter sportsperson of the year. I still serve and am ranked Station Officer. This training helped me learn to take control of events, especially when umpiring. I was the President of the NZCA for two years and served as an Executive member for 16 years, ten as a National Selector.
The PACCs in Queenstown 2002 was the first event I worked on as an end ice and hog line observer. Working with Keith and Sue Wendorf, I learned so much from them and have since become great friends. My first international event was in 2014, at the Men's Worlds as a Game Umpire. Often my wife, Karen, comes with me as a timekeeper.
My umpiring experience includes PCCCs in Australia, Deputy Umpire at the Curling World Cup, Umpiring at World Juniors, 2018 Olympics, and Calgary's first Pan Continental Curling Championships. In early 2022 I was asked to umpire the Paralympics, but because of Covid restrictions, I reluctantly turned it down.
In 2018 I was Chief Umpire for the PACCs in Korea. On the final day, Hans Frauenlob messaged me asking if he could come to my desk for a selfie; he was there commentating for World Curling TV. Of course, I said yes, not sure why he wanted to. On that day, twenty years ago, we were in the team that won the event for the first time. Here we were, two people from the same team, giving back to the sport we love.
That is why I love umpiring, being in the best seats in the house, watching amazing teams!