GARNET 'SAM' RICHARDSON
Inducted in 1968
Saskatchewan men's curling championship
Member of the Canadian Curling and Saskatchewan Sports Halls of Fame
The Richardsons burst onto Canada's sporting scene in the late 1950s. Part of their novelty was that they were four cousins and relative newcomers to curling. But it was the way in which they dominated national and international curling that made them famous. They became the first Canadian curling team to win four national championships and the only four-time men's world curling champions in history by playing a more powerful hitting style than had been seen in curling previously, combining that with the finesse of the traditional draw-weight game. Curling journalist Bob Weeks called them "the greatest team ever to play the game," noting that "what Arnold Palmer is to golf and Gordie Howe is to hockey, the Richardsons are to curling." Wes Richardson was the lead. Garnet (known as Sam) Richardson, the brother of skip Ernie Richardson, completed the sweeping front end as second. Arnold Richardson threw third stones. And Ernie Richardson, three times the Brier's all-star skip, headed the team. They took up curling only in 1956, with Wes Richardson joining the team in the fall of 1958 to make it an all-family affair, and it was in 1959 that they made their mark. That winter they surprised some of Saskatchewan's veteran teams to win the provincial title and qualify for the MacDonald Brier, symbolic of Canada's men's curling championship. They won their first national title by finishing the round-robin with a 10-1 record and defeating the Alberta rink in a tiebreaker. That earned them a trip to Scotland to compete in the Scotch Cup against the Scottish champions, an international event that the World Curling Federation now considers the first world championship. The Richardsons claimed this title as well by beating their hosts in all five matches. A year later, the Richardsons duplicated their success, again capturing the Brier and the Scotch Cup. Their remarkable run was interrupted in 1961 when they lost in the Regina city playdowns to the veteran Bill Clark and his rink, a team that the Richardsons had beaten in 1959 on their way to their first Saskatchewan provincial championship appearance. But the cousins regained the national and international crowns in 1962 and added a fourth Brier and Scotch Cup championships in 1963. By this time, the latter competition included teams from Scotland, Sweden, and the U.S. A back injury forced Wes Richardson to miss the 1963 season,during which he was replaced by Mel Perry,but he returned to the team in 1964. That year, the Richardsons nearly captured a fifth title, finishing in second place, one win behind B.C. after stumbling late in the round-robin. The Richardson rink continued to compete, but it never made it back to the Brier. The team disbanded after losing in the Saskatchewan provincial finals in 1968. Ernie Richardson had perhaps the highest profile of the foursome and wrote numerous books on curling. He was recognized for the contributions he and his teammates made to the sport by being named as a member of the Order of Canada in 1978. Sam Richardson continued to curl after the team disbanded, three times skipping foursomes at the provincial championships and winning the 1973 Saskatchewan mixed curling championship. After his curling career, Wes Richardson took up long distance cycling and retired to Hawaii, where he began marathon running. All four Richardsons are members of the Canadian Curling and Saskatchewan Sports Halls of Fame.