Northwoods Adventure: Bemidji Curling Club Legends League
Curling, a sport some say was made famous by the 2018 Olympics, is made up of four players: a lead, a second, a vice-skip and a skip. The purpose of the sport is to score more points then the opposing team.
“It’s just a matter of trying to get into the rings behind cover first before your opponents does. And hopefully then they will not remove any of those stones in the front. But if they do, you’d have to replace those guards and try to protect the points you do have in the rings,” said Legends League Member Steve Penoncello.
For the past 30 years, the Legends League at the Bemidji Curling Club has met every Tuesday afternoon. Kirby Bhar, the Acting President of the Bemidji Curling Club, says most of the curlers that come are retired. He says curling is one of the best ways to get through the winter.
“It’s tough up here, and I curl three different leagues and some guys curl more than that,” Bahr said. “It’s much better than sitting around the house, there is some activity involved when you’re sweeping a rock.”
There are 30 curlers on the league, and Bahr says they have room for at least 20 more. The league started as a place meant only for men, but a couple years ago, it was opened up to women. Currently, there is only one woman who attends the Legends League on Tuesday.
“It was really so much fun, I didn’t know how the men would accept us because it was kind of a new thing. But they’ve all been so friendly and it’s a non-competitive league – it’s just for fun,” said Trish Quistgaard, a Legends League Member.
The sport of curling has been sweeping the nation. Terry Matson, who attends the Legends League, also volunteers with the Bemidji Youth Curling program. He says the sport was dying in the late ’90s among the youth.
“Myself and ’bout two or three other guys said, ‘that’s not good, we got to start that again,’ and we resurrected the program, starting raising money to help support their dues and help buy equipment. The program is now the largest junior programs in the United States,” said Matson.
The Bemidji Curling Club is open to the community and surrounding areas. The Mixed Doubles National Championship will be taking place at Bemidji Curling Club on February 27 through March 1.