ANDERSON, Ind. — A new club in central Indiana is offering Hoosiers the chance to hone their curling skills.
It's a sport you don't see often outside of the Winter Olympics, but Dave Calabro discovered it has found a real footing here.
It's winter and, for some, the doldrums are setting in, but if you’re looking for something different to do that’s indoors and fun, Anderson’s Circle City Curling Club has you covered.
Stop by just about any night and this place is buzzing. Curling has become trendy.
“I think people see it on television and it’s one of those things like, ‘Wow, that looks really interesting, it doesn’t look that hard.’ It’s a lot more difficult than you think to slide a 42-pound stone,” said club member Jeff Heck. “You’re wearing a piece of Teflon. It’s worse than skating, because with a skate blade, you can push it in and have some grip. Teflon is flat, it’s like a frying pan and you know, you’re going.”
Heck joined the club 15 years ago when they started dreaming about having their own curling center. The dream is now reality, and the center is the first of its kind in central Indiana.
The club raised $400,000 to make it happen. Ernie Forney was the project manager.
"You know, right now, I’m looking around thinking, ‘I can’t believe we’ve done this.' We started in February last year, it was 10 months,” he said.
The state-of-the-art facility has the latest and greatest high-tech systems.
They’ve come a long way from the beginning, when the club would play on any ice hockey rink they could find.
“Curling on hockey ice is like putting in your backyard. You can do it, but it’s not the real thing. So having your own place, we can curl seven days a week if we want to. People come up and just throw practice stones. It’s like going to the driving range. You can’t do that on hockey ice,” Forney said.
The new ice is drawing new fans. Since it opened in early December, 59 new members have joined.
“We have three sheets of ice here. We’d love to have four, obviously, but we’re filled up. We have leagues on Tuesday, Thursdays. Fridays and Saturdays learn-to-curls. We’re selling them out. We’re able to fit 24 people per sheet. As soon as we put them up, they’re sold out within an hour or two straight,” said Heck.
It's a great way to beat the winter blues, and it’s all because a group of Hoosiers had a passion for something different in Anderson.