Stone Cold: Kansas City Curling Club
Curious about curling? The Kansas City Curling Club is a great place to learn about this unique winter sport.
Five years ago, DeeAnn Moore and a friend were looking for something different to do. As they were doing a deep dive on Google searching for activities they came across the Kansas City Curling Club. Without any prior knowledge of the sport, they signed up for a Learn to Curl class and loved it. Immediately, Moore wanted to be on a league.
Five years later, she’s the president of the club. In May, the team won silver medals in Salt Lake City at the USA Curling Arena National Championships.
“I’m not quite sure how that happened,” she says good-naturedly. “Who knew?”
Moore calls curling a combination of shuffleboard and golf, which makes it even more quirky than it already seems. But it all starts to make sense: It’s similar to shuffleboard because you’re trying to get a stone to glide toward the center of a target, called the house, on a sheet of ice approximately 150 feet long and 15 feet wide. And it’s similar to golf because it involves reading the ice like you would read a putt on an undulating green.
The brooms are what confuses most people about curling. Each team has two sweepers who can change the path of the stone depending on how vigorously they brush the floor. If you’ve ever wondered what sweeping does, in the simplest of terms it raises the temperature of the ice which causes the stone to go faster and straighter. Curling coaches say a good sweeper can help a stone go 10 feet farther down the ice.
“It’s very easy to learn,” Moore says, “and the difficulty comes in the finesse and trying to master it. You get one point for every stone you have closer to the center of the house than the other team.”
Ian Wolfe has been a member at the Kansas City Curling Club since 2003. Originally from Canada, Wolfe never curled when he lived there, but he curls now with his wife and participates in three leagues a season. They consider Saturday nights their date night on the ice.
He also points out how important it is to the success of the club that people of all ages can curl, from kids to senior citizens. They have four curlers that are between the ages of 10 and 14, and they have men and women in their 70s who like to curl, too.
“I think what makes it really appealing,” Wolfe says, “is that it’s not just a men’s-only sport or only for youth, you know. It doesn’t take a person with a physique like Sylvester Stallone to curl. You can easily curl without any special training or knowledge or experience.”
When the Winter Olympics rolled around in February 2018, the response was off the charts at the club’s “Learn to Curl”events, which accommodated more than 1,000 people in three weeks who wanted to try out the sport.
“Any available ice time we could get, we took, because we could not put on enough events for everybody,” Moore says. “It was just packed, and that excitement carried over into watch parties out in different places around town.”
Moore had a small group of curlers at her house in the wee hours of the morning to watch the men’s gold medal match between the United States and Sweden. Led by four-time Olympian John Shuster, Team USA won 10-7 for its first ever gold medal in curling.
“I just remember us all being on the edge of our seats when he scored five [points], and we just lost control yelling and screaming,” Moore says. “There was so much excitement.”
If you want to experience the thrill of curling or just find out about a sport that’s had you thinking, “What are they doing?”, the Kansas City Curling Club is ready to get you on the ice – with a broom.