Living in Louisville, curling is a sport that you probably see on television midday during the Winter Olympics, but don’t think about too much for the next four years. Bethaney Curry, president of the newly-formed Derby City Curling Club, wants to change that.
“I’ve always been fascinated with curling,” Curry said. “I think a lot of people get sucked in because it’s just so fascinating to watch.”
The format of curling is pretty simple: Two teams, each with four players, take turns sliding polished granite stones — each weighing over 40 pounds — across the ice towards the “house,” a target marked on the ice. Two sweepers move alongside the stone with brooms, which can be used to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone.
The Derby City Curling Club, the first curling club in Kentucky, is new; members haven’t even started classes yet and the club is awaiting its final seal of approval from the United States Curling Association.
And Curry herself is new to the sport.
“I actually get to curl for the first time this coming weekend,” she said. “We are going to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to curl in their dedicated space. They’re going to teach us how to run a ‘Learn to Curl’ class and get us out on the ice.”
But Curry said the sport had a special appeal for her because it’s one that is accessible to pretty much everyone. Curry uses a wheelchair, and works with people who have disabilities in her day-job.
“And my goal is to actually make the Paralympics; they have wheelchair curling,” Curry said. “To curl, I was not going to move to Minnesota or a northern state. Kentucky is one of three states that doesn’t have a curling club, so why not start my own here?”
Curry began making calls in March to other curling teams across the U.S., and actually found some experienced curlers living in Louisville. She formed a board, and the Derby City Curling Club should get the official go-ahead from the U.S. Curling Association this month.
The club will start classes in November — though intro courses are already sold-out through Dec. 20.
It seems, Curry said, she’s not the only one eager to get on the ice.