MISSOULA — It's a sport that's gaining national attention and growing in Montana. At Glacier Ice Rink in Missoula, these curlers are throwing stones and sweeping for gold.
“It's a competitive sport, but it's also a little bit crazy," said Lee Banville, Missoula Curling Club president. "And so people you know, have fun doing it.”
Since they formed in 2011, the Missoula Curling Club has 150 members and the sport has only grown.
“And so it is really kind of a statewide network of hundreds of people who curl it all the time," Banville told MTN News. "But now is the time when people start paying attention because of the Olympics.”
With 2022 being the year of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, the games serve as not only entertainment but inspiration.
“And for some of those folks, they want to come out and try it because they're like, it looks like a thing I can do," said Banville. "And and it is and so what happens is every four years we kind of get this lot of interest. They just are fascinated by the game, the strategy of it, the precision of it. The weirdness of the yelling and all the talking that happens during the game.”
It is all about who can release and sweep the 43 pound stone closest to the middle, also known as the "house."
“The rings are not scoring," Banville told MTN News when asked to explain the rules of the game. "It's about distance because the way you score is it's the number of rocks closest to the middle before he gets to the other teams' rocks and only one team scores.”
But the sport is harder than it looks. And it takes precision, balance, and strategy.
The club is having an "Olympic event" on Saturday where members of the community can come and try out the activities.