Anita Ford 1947 -
Inducted 2002 Curling - Athlete/Coach
Anita has been involved in sports all of her life. Her school activities included softball and track and field. She became interested in curling at age 11 while a member of the 4H. After graduation she got her Teaching Certificate and found her first job at Weyburn Junior High School teaching Physical Education and Health. Anita coached several of the Junior high school teams including basketball, volleyball, softball, curling, track and field and also helped with the cheerleaders. She received her Bronze Medallion in swimming and became a lifeguard at the Lutheran Church Camp in 1968 and 1969.
In 1968 Gary was Christmas Shopping in Weyburn. He stopped at the curling rink and ran into Dean and Delores Miller who told him about two cute roommates. Gary took the phone number down not knowing who would answer or which one he would talk to. It was Anita at home and she agreed to go on a date! Four months later they were engaged and six months after that they were married!
Anita and Gary enjoyed doing things together and after Atina was born they helped to form the “Estlin 306’s Women’s Fastball Team” in 1972. With Gary coaching and Anita as a very good pitcher the 306’s (with a fine supporting cast) became a highly competitive fastball team. Anita’s experience with the Lakeview Tomboys and the Weyburn Emeralds, along with Myrna Bonsor, became the catalysts and leaders as the team attended several Provincials (they were runners-up at least twice). As their daughters grew, Anita and Gary became interested in less travel for them and getting the girls involved. So, they started a kid’s team in Gray. When Cindy and Atina were older they began playing ball with their mother on the Riceton Blues, an activity that provided a great family experience. It became very much a family affair for a couple of summers thru the mid to late 80’s. The Riceton team with Gary and Bob Balfour coaching and the three Fords on the team won the league championship three out of five years.
Anita continued to curl through these years as well having locally strong teams with Dale Yeo, Randi Kelly, Nelda McDonald, Sue Shostal, Rochelle Balfour, Audrey Helstrom and later with Crystal Brunas. She and Gary went to many Provincial Mixed Playdowns as well.
Anita was also involved with the Gray Figure Skating Club, the curling club and even a ladies hockey team! Together with Gary they organized the Gray Gopher Classic Golf Tournament at Oyama Park.
Anita was very involved with not only participating in curling, but also coaching and volunteering her time organizing as well. She was Region Chairperson for the Saskatchewan Ladies Curling Association for eight years and elected Second Vice-President of the SLCA in 1985, subsequently becoming President in 1988. In the early 1990’s she was asked to be the fifth player on a team headed for nationals. In 1993 that team won the Canadian Championship and thus began a long and exciting relationship with the Sandra Schmirler curling team that included three World Championships (1993, 1994 and 1997) a a gold medal at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games. Anita traveled the world with Sandra and her team attaining her Level 3 Coaching Certificate along the way. She also received the 3M Coaching award in 1998. She is a member of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame. Anita continued curling and along with Crystal Brunas were runners-up in the 2001 Seniors Provincials and winning the 2004 and 2005 Seniors Provincials.
Anita volunteers as a delegate to the Scott Tournament of Hearts and has been a Board member for national curling events in Regina; the Scott, the Brier and the Olympic trials.