Curling sees growing popularity in Rochester amid Winter Olympics

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The sport of curling was one of Wednesday night’s major Olympic events with several men’s matches going on. One match featured Denmark against Team USA.

News10NBC Reporter Patrick Moussignac went to the Rochester Curling Club where the local popularity of the sport has been growing for decades now.

On television, the sport of curling looks relatively easy. A sport anyone, young or old, can try out. That is until you’re on that sheet of ice trying to get your team’s curling stone to successfully slide into the target area for maximum points.

"Well, we caught the bug," said Kevin Soule. "Once we got started we realize curling is not just like a shuffleboard game, or bowling."

Wednesday was another night of competition at the Rochester Curling Club as four separate teams went head to head in a sport that mostly gets its primetime coverage every four years during the winter Olympics. Many say they got their start watching the sport on TV.

"It was like a lot of people, it’s the Olympics," Soule said. "Watched it on TV then we saw some learn to curl information at local rec clubs, and so me and my father-in-law decided to check it out."

Shooters from each team send their curling stone weighing up to 44 pounds down the ice and score points getting their stone as close to the target area as possible.

"Well, it was something that me and a couple of other guys were like hey why don’t we try this in Rochester," said Dave Evers. "Let’s go and do it, and then sure enough we did it."

Moussignac asked club president Larry Ahle what makes curling so appealing to everyday people.

"It’s really about the camaraderie," Ahle said. "The chance for people to come together to enjoy a sport."

The Rochester Curling Club has been around since 1961 and its popularity has been growing ever since.

"We’ve seen steady growth in membership each year, and that’s been a trend we’ve seen at clubs throughout the United States before that. So the general trend has been up but obviously, the Olympics adds a little bit of spike to that. to the interest," Ahle said.

After a quick explanation, Moussignac tried to draw my curling stone with disastrous results. As easy as it looks, it was not.

"It’s a type of sport where you don’t need a lot of training to get out there, and start playing, but to get really, really good at it takes a lot of time, and a lot of effort," Ahle said.

The Rochester Curling Club’s "Learn to Curl" program is already sold out for the rest of the year. Their season starts in September and ends in the spring.