Iowa Curling Cup 20163/9/2016
Few sports have the curling effect. Most people have never participated in the sport, but every four years, it’s all the rage. And why not? It’s got style, grace and an obsessive/compulsive cleaning motion of which your parents would be proud.
“The Winter Games definitely create peaks of interest in the sport, but the sport is really developing outside of the Olympics,” said Nate Boulton, Des Moines Curling Club president. “Television coverage of curling continues to grow, and that definitely helps keep up the sport’s publicity. Our club is really establishing a stronger local presence that has greatly reduced our need for the Olympics to put the spotlight on our organization.”
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until 2018 (the next Winter Olympics) to check it out. The Iowa Curling Cup 2016 on March 19 will separate the cans from the cannots (or those who can walk on ice and those who can’t) with a 20-team tournament.
“The teams that have participated have really been great,” said Dave Diers, president of the Iowa Curling Club. “In fact, three of the companies that played last year now have multiple teams. They really go all out with team uniforms — or should I say, costumes. And while they are pretty much novices at curling, they get very competitive on the ice.”
“We have seen the Iowa Curling Cup have a direct impact on the Des Moines Curling Club,” said Boulton. “We’ve had teams participate in our leagues, and individuals join up as members because they enjoyed trying the sport through this event.”
The first year (2014) saw eight teams sign up for the tournament. The second year grew to 16, and now 20 teams will compete for the Iowa Curling Cup title this year. The team count isn’t the only thing to change. Just about every aspect of the tournament has grown, said Diers.
“The first year we spray painted the ‘curling court’ on the ice. Now it is done by the good folks at Buc’s Arena, and it looks very professional,” Diers said. “The trophies have gotten bigger, the awards banquet has grown, we have a raffle for some great prizes, and the on-ice trash talking has even increased.”
Diers is quick to thank Dawn Pentico and her staff at Buc’s Arena for making the event great. The ice looks fantastic, and they open the entire facility for them, said Diers. An added plus is that Blackbeard’s Lounge is open all day.
The before and after parties are made possible by Sean Stevens and his crew at The Ridgemont Bar on Hickman, who host the after party, awards banquet and cater to the crowd all day.
While some teams have participated in the past, most teams still have what would be considered novice players, so every team starts off on the same footing — or lack thereof.
“It is not as easy as you think,” Diers said. “All the players last year were texting me for weeks afterwards telling me their ‘I-never-knew-I-had-a-muscle-there’ stories. It was hilarious.
“The interesting thing to me is that people just love to participate in the sport. It’s unique. It’s different. You don’t have the chance to do it every day, so it has this special appeal because not everybody gets to curl. But if you do it once, you will be back.” CV
Iowa Curling Cup 2016 Benefiting Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity
Saturday, March 19
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
7201 Hickman Road, Urbandale
Free admission for spectators