Now, he hopes to use everything he learned to teach his dad a lesson or two.
Kenny Young, a 39-year-old Corner Brook native, will be defending his provincial mixed curling crown beginning Tuesday at the Corner Brook Curling Club.
One of the teams hoping to challenge for the crown is a foursome with Gerry Young playing the role of skip. Gerry Young, who retired from Canada Post in 2004, won the world seniors curling championship in both 2004 and 2005 as second on the Bas Buckle rink that included Harvey Holloway at lead and Bob Freeman at third.
Young gave up competitive curling last year at the age of 65, but he eventually changed his mind and decided to enter a team in the mixed tournament because it was being held in the city.
His world-champion buddy Bas Buckle asked him to join him for the provincial Masters curling tournament this season, which features curlers 60 years or order and is also being held in the city next week, but decided he wanted to try his hand in a field that just happened to include his son as defending champion.
Kenny credits his dad for his success on the ice, from the first rock thrown in the minor ranks back in 1984 to his days as a force on the men’s side alongside Gary Oke in the quest for Tankard bragging rights.
“Basically, he’s the one who taught me how to curl and brought me up through the ranks,” Kenny said.
Kenny said the sport has help nurture the close bond he has with his father — both on and off the ice — and a friendly rivalry still has plenty of spark left as the two prepare for a first — a head-to-head matchup with a provincial crown and a trip to the national tournament up for grabs.
“It’s going to be interesting. I’m thrilled to play him actually because it’s something we’ve haven’t had the opportunity to do,” Kenny said earlier this week. “it’s going to be a good rivalry no doubt.”
The pending showdown is something father and son are anxiously awaiting, and the two still find a reason to razz one another after a game and do a bit of bragging, but it’s always been all about good fun.
“We enjoy that part of it,” Kenny said.
A competitive spirit is something they share, so winning is foremost on their mind regardless of who provides the opposition, but the thoughts of a Young versus Young matchup has both guys chomping at the bit.
“He’s a guy who I want to go out and beat as bad as I can beat him,” Kenny said. “That’s one game I’m really looking forward to. Actually, more than any of them I guess because it’s the first time for us to play against each other at this level.”
His dad, the wily veteran, is willing to put it all on the line and see what happens.
“He got a nice little team there and I think we have a decent team so ...maybe the best man will come out of it,”he said with a big laugh.
“I’m still very competitive, oh yes,” he added, again with a smile from ear to ear. “You’ve got to play your best that’s it. It doesn’t matter who it is. I can’t let my team down because I’m playing my son.”
While it will be a first meeting on the provincial scene, the two have locked horns in various tournaments with an assortment of players as teammates.
So, what have past showdowns been like between the two?
“If it came out of the bag I tell you it’s 50-50 I’d say. He’s probably going to say something else,” Kenny said of his past record against dad.
He was right, his dad did have a different take.
“I think I’m on top right now, but that can change very quick,” he said.
Time will tell who gets the last laugh on this one, but one person who may find it a bit nerve-racking is the woman behind the scenes — Joan Young. Joan, Gerry’s wife and a former curler herself, will be there to see it all unfold.
“It’s going to be a tough game for her to watch I guarantee you,” Kenny said.