So maybe you miss streaming hours and hours of Olympic curling. It’s ok. You’re not alone.
Maybe you find yourself watching curling highlights on YouTube or you follow “Greatest Curling Shots” on Instagram. You’re curious about the sport and think it is weird or fascinating or looks like fun (it’s all of those, so you’re right).
But then you face the question: Now what?
Well, the Missoula Curling Club is all about introducing new people to the sport and creating opportunities for people to meet other players, learn the game and travel to curling tournaments around the region. We are a nonprofit located in Montana that plays our games at the Glacier Ice Rink at the Western Montana Fairgrounds.
We will teach you how to deliver a rock, sweep, skip and score. Within 20 minutes you’ll be playing and then you can spend the rest of your life trying to get better at it.
Do I need equipment?
Although there are lots of things you could buy — shoes, crazy Norwegian curling pants, brooms, a set of curling rocks for $11,200 (Canadian), or a snazzy broom bag — you don’t need any of it to start. We have brooms, sliders to put over your shoes and (probably most importantly) the rocks. You come in comfortable, warm clothes and you can play (although I would not really recommend jeans or boots, cowboy).
Is it expensive?
It’s cheaper than skiing (or golf or hockey). But it does cost money. Most of our fees go directly to specific costs. We have to rent ice hourly from Glacier, we have to purchase insurance, we have to get new equipment from time to time and so we do have to charge folks. So, generally it costs $10 to learn to curl and then you have options for how to get involved.
Well, what are those options?
Oh, right. Well, first (and cheapest) there is an open curling time that the rink hosts once the outdoor ice goes in. Usually from 10am-1pm on Friday you can curl your heart out for only $8. You can practice throwing and there is almost always enough players to play a pick-up game. In 2018, this started on November 3, but you can check the GIR schedule.
There are two different leagues, winter and spring. To participate in these leagues you must be a member of the club — which runs $71. That money is for membership in USA Curling and the regional curling association and to purchase insurance should you fall or get injured. We also use a small portion of those fees to cover the costs of running the club — equipment, etc.
Our most popular offering is the winter league. Teams play every Saturday for an eight-week stretch. The leagues will run from November 3 – January 26 and February 2 – March 30. You will be curling at least 8 games, on Saturday nights either at 9pm or 10:30 pm. Each session will feature a competitive and recreational league.
We won’t have to increase league dues this year, so the 8-game cost is $420 for the entire team. Most of that money goes to renting ice, although some is used to purchased equipment.
Teams can register for both sessions, although must declare a first priority. Teams wanting to play in a second session will be entered into a lottery if the 18 teams for that session do not register. Teams will not need to pay until they have been selected in the lottery. We will also be putting together a list of active substitute players for each 9-week session, so if your team is not playing, you may still get called to play.
There are two leagues — a competitive league and recreational league. The competitive league is usually for more experienced curlers and adheres to the (impressively long) set of USA Curling rules. The rec league is more casual and fun and for those who want to learn.
We are also able to reduce the club dues slightly to an even $70 to cover insurance, membership in USA Curling and other fees. Members are still able to receive a $25 refund for 4 hours of documented volunteer time (be sure to get a board member’s signoff on your time. Those completing the service can get the rebate, or if you do not want the rebate it will go into a special fund to help promote curling.
If you want to look at it as what will it cost me, so assuming a 4 person team playing a minimum of 8 games, the per-person cost this year will be $175 (you can get a $25 rebate once you complete club service to reduce your cost a bit). That’s down from the $192 per-person in 2014-2015. Team registration is $420, plus each curler will also register as a member for $70. You can also register as an individual for $176, and we will assist you in finding a team. If you have someone that wants to sponsor your team, let them know that we are a 501 C (3) non-profit and that sponsor fee will be tax deductible. from early November until March. Games are from 9-10:30pm or 10:30-midnight on Saturday night. Teams are made up of four-six players, although we can accept teams with more members, but email us to set that up.
Spring League occurs in April and May and runs for seven consecutive weeks of curling. The season will be run on Friday nights in two sessions 6:30-8 and 8-9:30. This league is much cheaper — $70 for club members (although if you are not members of the club we need to charge $30 for insurance and USA Curling dues). Folks can register as individuals or teams
How do I organize a team?
So, if you want to do it but for some crazy reason have not convinced three of your friends yet, can you play? Of course. Many of our players started out as individuals and were placed on a team. We encourage folks to chat at the learn to curls, but also reach out to the club at missoulacurling [at] gmail [dot] com to get some help finding a team.
If you want to know more about the sport, feel free to check out our learn to curl page.