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New Zealand’s oldest sporting cup – The Baxter Cup

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Exciting news is brewing in New Zealand as hopes soar for the much-anticipated Baxter Cup, the country’s oldest sporting trophy.

This prestigious outdoor curling competition depends on the right conditions of ice, making it an increasingly rare event due to the effects of climate change. Even in its birthplace of Scotland, bonspiels (curling tournaments) are no longer held, adding to the significance of the Baxter Cup.

Curling, a 500-year-old game, holds the distinction of being an Olympic sport. What makes it unique is the absence of umpires. Teams are responsible for keeping their own score and admitting their own mistakes while maintaining a constant sense of politeness towards their opponents.

Teams from across the Naseby Curling Council region are eagerly preparing to compete for the esteemed Baxter Cup, a symbol of New Zealand’s curling heritage. Although curling can be played indoors, the true essence of the sport lies in its connection to natural ice, which needs to be thickened through regular water spraying. Scott firmly believes in playing the game in the open, despite indoor options, as a way to preserve this ancient tradition.

However, hosting such events has become increasingly challenging due to various factors, including climate change. Scott acknowledges the regulatory concerns related to traffic control and the safety risks associated with people walking on frozen ponds. As a result, organizing curling tournaments has become more difficult. Nevertheless, with the weather cooperating and the presence of “perfect ice,” Scott remains optimistic that the Baxter Cup tournament will take place in Naseby on Monday.

The rich history of curling in Naseby can be traced back to Scottish gold miners who brought the sport with them during their time in New Zealand. In the absence of work due to frozen water preventing mining activities, the miners sought out alternative activities, ultimately introducing curling to the region.

As anticipation builds, the community eagerly awaits the outcome of the Baxter Cup tournament, celebrating the spirit of curling and the resilience of a sport that stands the test of time. The hope is that the ice conditions remain favorable, allowing athletes to showcase their skills and continue the legacy of this remarkable sporting event.

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