Curiosity fueling surge in curling memberships

Curling is becoming even more popular in the Twin Cities area, thanks in part to more coverage in the Winter Olympics.

TWIN CITIES - Interest in the sport of curling has been growing in recent years in the metro and it has one club opening its own facility.

Dakota Curling Club opened 10 years ago. Membership peaked at 125 people and the club rented space in Burnsville, until now.

Next weekend, it will open its own center in Lakeville, which was a $1 million project.

"Here in this facility, we have gone up to 308 [members] and we’re not even quite open yet so I imagine we’ll have a big jump in membership," said Darcy Ellarby, co-president of Dakota Curling Club.

She attributes the increase in memberships to the more airtime the sport has received during the Winter Olympics.

"Undoubtedly, the Olympic coverage means a lot. I mean, we were an oddity for a very long time and curling is now a genuine curiosity," said John Benton, director of curling operations at Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, which opened four years ago.

Benton was part of team USA during the 2010 Winter Olympics. He said membership numbers at the Blaine facility have been strong with 540 people currently, but he expects that to surge during and after next year's Winter Olympics. This weekend, the center is hosting the USA Men's Round Challenge and the center has become a USA training facility for the Olympics.

Benton said he has never seen the sport grow so fast.

"It's really unique that it's happening in the Twin Cities here," said Benton.

The City of Chaska is finding success with its curling club as well, which opened in 2015. Manager Jeff Isaacson, said the opening was met with "exploded attendance." He said membership greatly exceeded expectations with more than 1,000 members.

The St. Paul Curling Club, which is the original club in the Twin Cities, opened in 1912. Manager Scott Clasen, said membership is holding steady at around 1,100. It hasn't lost any members due to more clubs opening in the metro.

In fact, club leaders say as more centers open, the more interest there seems to be in the sport. Another expansion could happen sooner than later.

"There are some spots not too far from here that I think could use a curling club," said Benton.

Dakota Curling Club will hold an open house at its new facility on Saturday, Jan. 14 from 1p.m. - 4p.m. at 20775 Holyoke Avenue in Lakeville.


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