Final road to curling record starts here

A Quebec curler trying to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for playing with the most curlers—and at the most clubs—made the first stop on the final leg of his journey here Saturday.
“Today it will be 2,338, 2,339, and 2,340 [curlers] that have played with me,” Camille Villeneuve, a 75-year-old from Chicoutimi, said Saturday of the three local curlers who would slip on a slider and join him on the ice in a special exhibition match.
Club president Bill Gushulak, assistant ice-maker and junior curler Adam Bolen, and Conrad Lemieux teamed up with the Quebec native against a local foursome and will enter the history book in Villeneuve’s record attempt.
His goal is to play with 2,500 curlers across the country and the world.
After five days of driving in his Westfalia camper (his hotel on wheels), Villeneuve’s game here was the first of his latest trip—and made the Fort Frances Curling Club number 440 on his club list.
It also was his first stop on a planned tour of Western Canada and the U.S. in which he expects to reach the 500 club barrier.
“It’s my first day out of 58 days [on the road],” he said of his trip, adding he needed 61 clubs to hit 500. “So, 60 to go!”
His trip will take him to clubs throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon, Alaska, and British Columbia before making stops in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Fort Frances was his only stop in Ontario during this trip, though last year he visited 96 clubs in southern and northeastern Ontario.
But Villeneuve’s quest also has taken him around the world. He’s played at nearly 20 curling rinks in the U.S. and played at 19 clubs in 16 days during a visit to Scotland.
“I keep a record of everything,” said Villeneuve, who also showed up here with five display chests full of pins from clubs around the world and eight albums chronicling his world record.
He received a club and town pin from Gushulak to add to his collection.
Villeneuve explained he records the name and position of every player he’ll play with.
The record-seeker admitted he really began his quest in the early 1970s, not long after he began curling. “You know, I started pretty late,” he said. “I was 38.”
He said that as a younger man, he played all kinds of sports, like baseball and football, and kept active. “Then I discovered this sport,” he added. “I thought, ‘What can I do to be a good [recognized] curler?’”
And though he has become a fairly accomplished senior curler, playing in provincial playdowns seven times, Villeneuve was looking to be more famous.
“I must do something very unique,” he said he reasoned while trying to decide what he could do. “To do something nobody else could do.
“My real goal at first was 30o. Now I’ve changed it to 500.”
He was told that to make it into the record book, though there isn’t an existing mark, he should try to reach 500.
Speaking of records, Villeneuve indicated he has a roughly 70- 75 percent winning percentage in the matches he plays, probably winning “seven games out of 10.”
The special exhibition match here Saturday drew nearly a dozen spectators who came out to watch Villeneuve play and see his displays. In the end, his team beat Dale Lind, Joe Danku, myself, and ice-maker Kevin Busch.
Another possible record was made that day as Busch “hogged” his first four rocks, which Villeneuve thought probably was a first for the feat in his travels, especially for an ice-maker.
“You have lovely facilities,” he said of the local club. “I never expected such nice facilities.
“I give [the club] 8.5 out of 10 for the sheets,” he said of an informal rating system he uses to rate the clubs he visits.
His travels next took him to Beausejour, Man. on Sunday and then to Winnipeg to play at half-a-dozen or so clubs.
Then he’ll head to southern Saskatchewan by next week, where he will visit the Turner Curling Museum in Weyburn before playing at the Callie Club in Regina—former home club to the late Canadian, world, and Olympic champion Sandra Schmirler.