Northwoods Adventure: Community Curling Night In Brainerd
Minnesota is considered one of the hot spots for curling, and with the United States Men’s Team taking gold in the last Winter Olympics, the popularity of the sport has never been higher.
“With the popularity of the sport, everyone is curious about curling, but it takes a little bit to get them out on the ice,” Nick Weeks, Brainerd Curling Club Board Member, said.
And to get people on the ice, the Brainerd Curling Club recently hosted their community Curling night where anyone could try and become the next Olympic curler.
“On our open curling nights like this, we have people come from all over the community,” Mary Jo Hamilton, U.S. Curling Association’s Volunteer of the Year, said. “[During] Olympic years, we can’t keep the building open enough because people see it on TV and say, ‘oh wow! What is that?’”
Since the U.S.A. won the gold medal at last year’s Olympics, the curling center is hoping to add to its already 200 members.
“Every four years our memberships go up; when the Winter Olympics happen they go up and then come back down,” Weeks said. “This year, we are trying to capture that gold medal and go up another year.”
At community curling night, you were paired with a coach who taught you everything you need to know about the sport, and then you had a chance to get on the ice.
“For some people it’s just natural, and for others, it takes a while to develop the skills and the comfort level to be able to play,” Hamilton said.
Curling is a sport that takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, anyone can enjoy it.
“The one thing is you are going to fall, but let’s get back up and try it again,” Weeks said.
“It was a good experience; I’ve never done it before, and honestly didn’t even know this was here,” Bailey Boelter, a first-time curler, said. “It was cool to be able to check it out.”
“I love the fact that my children, my grandchildren, me and my husband can all curl; it’s a generational sport,” Hamilton said. “You do not have to be super active to do it. I get good exercise and curling is a social sport.”
The curling club has open curling nights throughout the week along with leagues for all ages and skill levels.
For more information or to join a league, visit http://brainerdcurling.org/.