In-Focus: The Culture of Curling Returns to Lake Bemidji
It’s curling at its core.
The iconic winter sport returns to Lake Bemidji for the first time in 82-years for the 2014 “Winterfest on Lake Bemidji.”
Back in 1932, the original Winterfest on Lake Bemidji introduced the small city to its two most famous trademarks: Paul Bunyan and curling.
Bemidji has a long legacy of champion curlers.
Jamie Haskell competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. She will curling with her own team in the WinterFest Bonspiel this weekend.
A member of the Bemidji Curling Club since 1956, this will also be Lennard Bergstrom’s first time throwing a stone on Lake Bemidji.
Preparing the outdoor rinks takes a lot of extra work. Crews have been setting up the six ice sheets since Sunday.
To make sure the ice is smooth and ready to use, the rink is flooded with water and then it freezes. Then crews lay down the ribbon and paint and repeat the process several more times.
While the curling rink was still freezing Friday afternoon, workers were busy setting up scoreboards, a row of rocks and a bucket of brooms sit on the sidelines, ready for play.
Twenty-six teams will participate in the tournament.
Each game has eight “ends” or rounds. The tournament is broken down into four “events” much like brackets.
It might not be the Olympics, but as the first curling tournament outdoors in eight decades…in Bemidji, it could be just as exciting.
The tournament starts this evening and continues all day Saturday.