6th Annual Prairie State Challenge

Established in 2012, the Prairie State Challenge was created to give curlers, especially those who don’t have dedicated facilities, the opportunity to get on the ice for a fun weekend of comradery, gameplay, and socialization. This open event, sponsored by the Midwest Curling Association, is free to MCA members and provides curlers the chance to mingle with other teams in the Midwest region at the beginning of the curling season.

This year, 16 teams from seven regional curling clubs played in the two-day event hosted by Exmoor Country Club and Chicago Curling Club. The Midwest Curling Association would like to extend our gratitude to the clubs who hosted the 2018 Prairie State Challenge and the regional curling clubs who sent teams. Also, congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

We look forward to seeing everyone again at the next Prairie State Challenge!

1st Event Winner: Exmoor Country Club

Matt Brown, Sandy Stevenson, Jim Millspaugh, and Jack Manierre

1st Event Runner-up: Wilmette Curling Club

Aaron DeGagne, Adam Wards, Rebecca Tulloch, and Joshua Nordyke

2nd Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club/Exmoor Country Club

Russ Armstrong, Russ Brown, Jeff Warner, and Jeff Wright

2nd Event Runner-up: Windy City Curling Club

Greg Torkelson, Greg Stewart, Scott Rutherford, and Tom Sikma

3rd Event Winner: Exmoor Country Club

EJ Stern, John Beckwith (not pictured), Ken Groover, and Robo Boyle

3rd Event Runner-up: Chicago Curling Club

Jeff Smaha, John Roberts, Claire Potter, and Cheryl Dudeck

4th Event Winner: Cedar Rapids Curling Club

Cale Tesch, Phil Burian, Packy Moran, and Alyssa Hahn

4th Event Runner-up: Cedar Rapids Curling Club

Al Roder, Murray Marple (not pictured), Ken Heitzman, and Adi Heitzman

Written by: Shannon Brown

A Permanent Facility for St. Louis Curling Club

Founded in 2010, the St. Louis Curling Club has relied on two ice arenas to support their bustling club of 80+ members. With their 7th official curling season underway, St. Louis Curling Club is preparing to begin work on their new curling facility. With land purchased in Hazelwood, MO, the club looks forward to building a permanent 4-sheet curling venue with plenty of warm space in the upcoming few years

Raising money to fund a new curling facility is no small feat. After becoming debt free in 2012, St. Louis Curling Club has held five large bonspiels plus two 1-day spiels to raise money for their dedicated ice. In addition to accepting donations for their members, the club has run several fundraising events, including trivia nights and two footgolf tournaments. Another major fundraising source for St. Louis Curling Club has been their packed Learn2Curl sessions. If you are interested in helping St. Louis Curling Club reach their final fundraising goal, donate here or consider attending one of their upcoming events.

Members of the St. Louis Curling Club are excited for the new possibilities that dedicated ice facility will bring. The club currently utilizes arena ice; therefore, members curl once a week on Saturday evenings. Their new facility will allow the club to set their own schedule, and they will offer a range of events including weekend spiels, a youth program, high school league, adult league, open practice, and corporate events. In addition to offering curling seven days a week and welcoming more members, St. Louis Curling Club members are thrilled to have consistent, flat ice with permanent houses and hacks. No more lugging stones to and from the freezer after games!

The Midwest Curling Association is tremendously excited for St. Louis Curling Club and wants to congratulate them on reaching this fantastic achievement. We look forward to hearing more as the building progresses, and we can’t wait to attend the future bonspiels that will be held at your new facility.

“It has been a true team effort from the entire curling club to make where we are today possible” – Becca Walters (President of St. Louis Curling Club)

Written by: Shannon Brown

Team Wright brings home Bronze Medal from 2018 Senior Worlds

Congratulations to Team Wright, the bronze medalists at the 2018 Senior Worlds Curling Championships! Team members include Jeff Wright (Libertyville, IL), Russ Armstrong (Lake Bluff, IL), Sean Silver (Grosse Point, MI), Russ Brown (Lake Forest, IL), and Steve Waters (Evanston, IL).

Twenty-eight men’s teams from across the world competed in the World Senior Curling Championships held in Östersund, Sweden from April 21-28. With four men’s round-robin groups, Team Wright began with a solid 6-3 win against Team Finland on Saturday evening. In their next game on Monday evening, Team Wright was bested by Team Norway who made some great shots and ended up beating them 4-7. On Tuesday, a close game against Russia resulted in a 3-2 extra end victory for Team Wright. Another close game on Wednesday resulted in an 8-9 loss to Team Ireland. Team Wright regained control over their record with a great 8-6 win against Latvia. In their final round robin game, Team Wright won against Team Croatia with a final score of 12-2.

With their 4-2 record and second overall finish in their round robin group, Team Wright qualified for the playoffs as the #8 seed. On Friday, Team Wright played a qualification game against Team Finland (#9 seed) and won with a score of 6-2. Later that evening, Wright secured another win against Team Switzerland (#1 seed) with a score of 7-3. In the semi-finals, Team Wright met Team Sweden and experienced a tough loss 4-6. In their final game of the Senior World Curling Championships, Team Wright won 7-2 against Team Scotland securing themselves a bronze medal.

The 2018 Senior Curling World Championships marked Team Wright’s second appearance at the world’s level. The team was excited to return to Illinois with a bronze medal, and they were proud of how they played in Östersund, Sweden. Next to them on the podium, Team Canada (Gold) and Team Sweden (Silver).

Also, congratulations to Team Smith for not only taking home silver but also playing in the U.S. women’s first gold-medal game at the World Senior Curling Championships. Team members include Margie Smith (Shoreview, MN), Norma O’Leary (Silver Bay, MN), Debbie Dexter (St. Paul, MN), and Shelly Kosal (Edgerton, WS). During the championship, Team Smith competed against 15 other women’s teams in Östersund, Sweden. Next to them on the podium was Team Canada (Gold) and Team Switzerland (Bronze).

Written by: Shannon Brown

72nd Annual Dar Curtis Bonspiel

Beginning in 1947, the Dar Curtis Bonspiel is the oldest statewide curling competition held in Illinois. The event allows players who are generally leads, seconds, and new vice skips the chance to compete together and to dictate their strategic game. Both men and women curl in the open event sponsored by the Illinois Curling Association.

This year, 12 teams played in the two-day event hosted by Exmoor Country Club. After four-end games on both Saturday and Sunday, teams enjoyed popcorn, drinks, and lively conversations at Exmoor’s Oakhouse. Thank you to all the clubs who attended the bonspiel and congratulations to all the winners and runner-ups!

We look forward to seeing everyone again at the next Dar Curtis Bonspiel!

1st Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club 

Nick Koch, Michael Graef, Eliot Zeissler, and Jimmy Klus

1st Event Runner-up: Exmoor Country Club

Steve Goldman, Gordon Buntrock, Pete Barber, and Jay Koziarz

2nd Event Winner: Windy City Curling Club

Anthony D’Arco, Scott Maples, Megan Maples, and Heidi Osborn

2nd Event Runner-up: Exmoor Country Club

Jeff Warner, Steve Worth, Anthony Fowler, Gloria Fowler, Jim Millspaugh, and Matt Anderson

3rd Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

Lorna Cagann, Matt Hiller, Cassie Stark, and Adam Esch

3rd Event Runner-up: Windy City Curling Club

Tonya Henderson, George Collins, Jon Henderson, and Carol Collins

4th Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

Staffan Axelsson, Jinnel Choiniere, Randy Choiniere, and Chris Hadac

4th Event Runner-up: St. Louis Curling Club

Annie Saltarikos, Eric Pauls, Mitch Stoddard, and Donna Farver

Learn2Curl at Park at Wrigley

In early February, one-hour Learn2Curl classes were hosted at the Park at Wrigley for six nights. Instructors from Chicago Curling Club, Exmoor Country Club, and Windy City Curling taught new curlers from 3-7 pm and played a short exhibition game on the outdoor ice from 8-9 pm. As part of the event, instructors joined the learn2curl participants at Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern where they shared a beverage and watching Team USA in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The Learn2Curls were an amazing opportunity for local curling clubs to collaborate and share their passion for the underappreciated Winter Olympic Sport. Instructors taught etiquette, rules, scoring, delivery, and sweeping. While the ice may have been a little frosty on some evenings, the event was a wonderful way for children, couples, families, and friends to spent their evening in Chicago.

Thanks to all those who volunteered!

Written by: Shannon Brown

Quick Guide to Curling at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics

While the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics is on February 9th, viewers have the opportunity to begin watching the wonderful game of curling on February 7th. With the addition of mixed doubles to this year’s Olympic program, there will be 18 straight days of curling in South Korea. Below is a list of things you should know before the games start.

History of Curling in the Olympics

Curling was first introduced at the 1924 Winter Olympics held in Chamonix, France. The sport then reappeared as a men’s demonstration sport during the 1932 Winter Olympics in New York. For many years, curling was set aside; the sport returned again as a demonstration sport for both men and women in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics. Curling was officially added to the Olympic program as a medal sport in the 1998 Winter Olympics and a women’s and men’s event has remained ever since. In 2015, the International Olympic Committee decided to add a new event, Mixed Doubles, to be played in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Team USA Curlers

Women’s: Nina Roth, Tabitha Peterson, Aileen Geving, Becca Hamilton, and Cory Christensen (alternate)

Men’s: John Shuster Tyler GeorgeMatt HamiltonJohn Landsteiner, and Joe Polo (alternate)

Mixed Doubles: Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton (siblings who are also playing with their respective women’s and men’s teams)

Curling Schedule (click for more detailed schedule)

  • Mixed Doubles: February 7-13
  • Men’s: February 13-24
  • Women’s: February 14-24

What is Mixed Doubles?

A team is composed of one woman and one man. Each team throws five stones per end. Unlike men’s and women’s curling, mixed doubles games are eight ends. In addition, to teams alternating rocks, players on each mixed doubles team alternate and therefore do not throw consecutive stones (i.e. player 1: delivers 1st, 3rd, and 5th rock). Another major difference from regular play is that two stones, one from each team, are placed on predetermined locations on the center line. In most ends, the team with the hammer (last stone advantage) will start with their stone placed at the back of the four foot circle, while the other team’s stone will begin as a center guard.

Few additional rules

  • Take-outs are not allowed until the fourth overall stone in each end
  • If the end is blanked, the team who delivered the first stone has the choice of stone placement the following end
  • Extra ends are used to break ties
  • Powerplay: each team is allowed to use once every game in an end where they have last stone advantage, moves pre-placed stones to one side of the house (i.e. corner guard with stone behind it in the house)

Written by: Shannon Brown






Andrew Stopera’s rink becomes 2018 USA Curling Junior National Champs

Congratulations to Team Stopera, the winners of the 2018 USA Junior National Championship! From March 3-10, Team Stopera will travel alongside Team Bear, the women’s team, to Aberdeen, Scotland in hopes of bringing home the gold at the 2018 World Junior Championships.

Originally from Briarcliff Manor, NY, Andrew Stopera, a member of Exmoor Country Club and the ICA, is currently a sophomore studying economics at Northwestern University. His high-performance teammates include Luc Violette (Lake Stevens, WA), Ben Richardson (Issaquah, WA), Graem Fenson (Bemidji, MN), and Caleb Clawson (Clarksville, MD). Stopera, Violette, Richardson, and Fenson won silver at the 2017 World Junior Championships in South Korea. Violette also represented the USA at Junior Worlds in 2014.

From January 27th to February 3rd, Team Stopera competed against nine other men’s teams in order to secure their victory. Stopera’s rink dominated the round robin play with a perfect 9-0 record and early qualification for the weekend playoffs. The three other qualifying playoff teams were Team Connolly (Seattle, WA), Team Marquardt (Poynette, WI), and Team Moore (Mapleton, MN). Team Stopera (seed No. 1) beat Connolly’s rink (seed No. 2) with a  score of 6-3 and advanced to the finals.  As an undefeated team, Stopera’s rink would have two chances to win the junior title due to the double knockout rule. By keeping Marquardt’s rink down to single point ends and using their last shots well, Stopera’s rink won 8-3 against Team Marquardt.

So, congratulations again to Team Stopera for the amazing win! If you are interested in staying up-to-date with Team Stopera as they continue their journey, check out the team’s facebook page.

Written by: Shannon Brown



Team Wright Wins 2018 USA Curling Senior Nationals

Next Step, Sweden!

Congratulations to Team Wright the winners of the 2018 USA Curling Senior Nationals! In late April, Jeff Wright will make a second attempt at the world seniors title when his team heads to the Senior World Championship in Ostersund, Sweden. Team members include Jeff Wright (Libertyville, IL), Russ Armstrong (Lake Bluff, IL), Sean Silver (Grosse Point, MI), Russ Brown (Lake Forest, IL), and Steve Waters (Evanston, IL).

Between January 24-28, eight women’s and 20 men’s team from across the United States competed at the 2018 USA Curling Senior Nationals at the Duluth Curling Club in Minnesota. Team Wright began strong on Thursday with a 7-1 win against John Kram’s (Bismarck, ND) rink and then a 10-0 win over Art Ruhononen’s (St. Paul, MN) rink the following morning. Wright’s rink took a turn when they were defeated 4-7 by Mark Olson’s (Milton, WI) rink on Friday evening. Following a 7-8 loss to Team Holt (Farmington, MN) on Saturday morning, the round robin competition concluded with a series of tiebreakers. Six men’s teams had secured their position in Sunday’s playoffs; however, with their 2-2 finish Team Wright would have to fight for their playoff spot. On Saturday afternoon, Wright beat John Kram’s rink with a score of 8-2. That evening Wright’s rink beat Darrin Holt’s rink with an 8-3 score.

With all tiebreaker games played, Wright continued to the quarterfinals on Sunday morning where the rink from Illinois won 4-3 against a previous champion, Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, MN). In the semifinals, Team Wright successfully secured their position in the event finals by defeating Phil Devore’s (Superior, WI) rink with a score 7-5. On Sunday evening, the finals commenced as Team Wright took on Mark Olson’s rink for the second time. With a back and forth game that resulted in a tie game by the sixth end, Wright’s final shot in the 7th end resulted in a gain of four points. With a final score of 7-3, Team Wright awarded the Olson rink their only loss in the competition.

WCF 2018 Seniors Champion ShipThe World Senior National Championships began in 2002 and was established for athletes age 50 and older. Overall, the USA men’s team has won three world titles in the recent years (2015, 2010, 2002). An Illinois men’s team has represented the USA only once in 2014 when Jeff Wright led the team with two of his current team members (Russ Armstrong and Russ Brown). This year, the Illinois team will participate with countries such as Finland, Russia, Ireland, Croatia, and Ireland in the World Senior Championships from April 21-28.

Written by: Shannon Brown