Lori Mountford inducted into USCA Hall of Fame

1998-olympic-team
BY DAVID GARBER

Lori Mountford, Poynette, Wis., a soft spoken individual whose on-ice performance spoke to her excellence as an athlete and person, has been elected as a member of the U.S. Curling Association’s Hall of Fame.

Lori, usually playing second, was member of teams that won Women’s World Championship silver medals in 1992 and 1996, with another Women’s National Championship in 1995; a 1993 Mixed National Championship; and Women’s Olympic Winter Games appearances in 1988 in Calgary (demonstration sport) and 1998 in Nagano (modern era debut as medal sport).  Lori was selected as the USCA 1991 Female Athlete of the Year.

Mountford, in an interview with the Curling News, recalled learning of her election: “(USCA board chairman) Rich Lepping called me in the middle of mowing my lawn to let me know I had been selected for the Hall. I thought, how cool, this is an unbelievable honor. I hung up, and after calling my mother, I went back outside and finished mowing the lawn.”

Lori listed several career highlights:

  • World silver in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, and Hamilton, Ontario.
  • Sheet six in St. Paul, faster coming home than going away, where “we had the great fortune to qualify for the Calgary Olympics.”
  • Opening ceremony in Calgary “huge crowd” and the games at the Max Bell Arena, where the crowds were tiny and “I could hear Diane (co-coach Brown) yell ‘sweep.’” (Editor’s note-The arena was sold out, with most tickets bought by sponsors for their customers, most of whom did not attend games. So tickets weren’t distributed to fans—a problem solved for curling by subsequent Olympic Winter Games.)
  • 1998 in Nagano, and Karuizawa (site of curling) was “a very great experience.”
  • The fog in the air at the Green Bay Summerspiel.

Overall, Lori says, “My whole experience was above and beyond anything I ever dreamt, including the people I met and the international travel.”

Mountford lists her major curling mentors as coaches Steve Brown and Diane Brown, long-time skip Lisa Schoeneberg, Tom and Carla Casper, her parents Kay and the late Harold “Bill” Mountford, as well as her grandfather, Wayne Mountford. Lori recounted an early curling highlight: With Kay and sisters Nancy and Gail, the Mountfords won Pardeeville’s 1979 Lonesome Doe Women’s Bonspiel (held in view of many men’s absence during the late fall deer hunting season). Brother Roger was also an occasional curler.

When asked what else she would like to see included in this article, Lori reflected on the great changes in the sport since she started in the late 70s. “I remember we used corn brooms. We did not use sliders. We had to know how to read all kinds of ice, from good to pretty bad.”

Lori’s parents curled in Arlington, in Columbia County, well-known as the rural county of 50,000 people and five curling clubs, with curling dating back to the 19th century. After graduation, Lori joined the Madison Curling Club in 1979. “My emphasis at Poynette High School was basketball, not curling.”

Lori has worked at Madison Newspapers for 37 years, as a payroll and benefits coordinator. She appreciates how supportive her employer has been over the years. “Nationals, worlds and Olympics are two, week-long events, with prep and travel. We always found a way to accommodate my absences, starting with vacation days. Once, I took a leave of absence; another time, a previous employee came back to do my work while I was gone. That support was critical.”

Lori and fellow Poynette High grad Lisa Schoeneberg were teammates for decades, ascending together to the heights of competitive curling. Schoeneberg characterized Mountford’s election as, “A great honor for a deserving woman who worked long and hard for everything she has earned from club to Olympic levels. Lori could have been elected (to the Hall) as a builder, too. I am very happy for my really good friend!”

World Team Leader and former USCA president Peggy Hatch remembers, “Lori was a steadying influence on her team. She just did her job, and well. I found her, and her family, a joy to be with.” Lori remembers loving the day when she and Peggy hiked outside of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to take a break from the stress of competition and got lost, temporarily, in the surrounding hills.

Selection to the Hall of Fame is the end result of a process starting with nomination to the USCA Athlete/Curler Recognition Committee, which recommends candidates for consideration and vote by the USCA Board of Directors. The Hall, which includes photo-plaques of inductees, is located in the USCA office in Stevens Point, Wis.

An induction ceremony will take place this fall or early winter, most likely in the Madison, Wis., area.

For a complete list of the association’s Hall of Fame members, click here.