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Are there any curling clubs around here?

Dan Spears

Four years ago, when the United States won a bronze medal in the men’s curling event at the Winter Olympics, the sport gained plenty of buzz across the country.

In 2010, the USA isn’t faring nearly as well, but the curling craze has ratcheted up again.

“They were guaranteed 80 hours on television,” said Sue Mitchell, president of the Triangle Curling Club, based in the Raleigh-Durham area. “But (NBC has) shown more. It’s been incredible.”

The Triangle club is the closest curling group to Wilmington, and Mitchell said the number of e-mails and phone calls of interested folks has been “crazy.”

“Our group had gone down in 2006, but we jumped way up after (Torino),” Mitchell said. “We expect that to happen again.”

The Triangle club is the oldest in North Carolina, founded in 1995 by a couple who transplanted from Connecticut. Of its original 30 members, eight are still around. And although it remains a sport dominated by northerners – especially Wisconsin and Minnesota – the appeal of sliding across the ice with 45-pound granite stones is catching on.

“I explain curling less in North Carolina now than I did in Minnesota in the 1980s,” said Mitchell, a native of the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

The Triangle club holds regular “Learn to Curl” seminars, travels to several other clubs throughout the year and holds its annual bonspiel – derived from Scotch for game – every August.

“It’s 100 degrees outside, and you’ve got people inside on the ice,” Mitchell said.

There are around 70 members right now, but the club works at a different angle than other similar sports. It’s tougher to bring in “guests” to play, meaning that their membership does most of the heavy lifting to keep the club afloat.

“There are a lot of similarities between golf (clubs), except at golf, they can pay guest fees, that’s not the case for us,” Mitchell said. “But for us to keep it operating, there are a lot of volunteer hours.”

For more information on curling in general, go to the U.S. Curling Association’s web site, curlingrocks.net. For more on the Triangle club, go to its site, trianglecurling.com.

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One Response to “ Are there any curling clubs around here?”

  1. On March 3, 2010 at 9:52 am Dick Macartney wrote:

    I am a member of the Triangle Curling Club and an officier of the Grand National Curling Club the regional governing body for all curling clubs in the Eastern Untied States, and I live in North Topsail Beach. Siince it is so far for us to get to Wake Forest to curl, I would be interested in perhaps starting a Coastal Carolina Curling Club at an arena and would be interested in having anyone interested contact me at 910-328-3059 or by email: beachmonger@yahoo.com.

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