BILLINGS — A group of about 20 people got the chance to try their hand at the Olympic sport of curling on Saturday at Centennial Ice Arena in Billings thanks to the Billings Curling Club.
From curling the stone down the lane, to sweeping it to the right spot, the group got to try it all at the event.
"I saw the chance. It’s something that I watch on the Olympics every four years and I thought that looks fun, lets try it out," said Kevin Reynolds, a first-time curler. “It was great. It was absolutely fun. Harder than it looks, definitely harder than it looks, but a lot of fun.”
The sport’s appearance in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games is what brought some to Centennial Ice Arena to try it for themselves.
“We watched the Olympics last night. We saw curling, looked online and saw it was available today and brought us out and wanted to try it,“ said Bridget Lorash, a first-time curler.
Lorash brought her daughter along to try out the sport.
"I thought it was going to be super easy. Turns out, there’s a lot of skill involved,” Lorash said.
The bump in interest in the sport around Olympic time isn't out of the ordinary, said Jayme Green, vice president of the Billings Curling Club.
“Usually there’s always in interest, just because it is an interesting sport. But this time of year, especially on an Olympic year, that interest goes up just a bit," Green said.
While the sport looks easy, there’s quite a lot of balance involved in curling the stone. But don’t let that dissuade you, because new curlers at the event said anyone could get the hang of it.
“If you’ve just got a modicum of balance, I think that’s the big thing. If you can stand upright. Obviously on the ice it’s a little harder, but you know. I think anyone could do it if they wanted to," Reynolds said.
The sport of curling might be doing better in Montana than you thought. Green said there are clubs all across the state and they’re always looking for more members.
“I think it’s thriving pretty well. People are loving to do it. You get hooked on it and it’s hard not to play anymore. Numbers could always be up, I think. Bozeman and Missoula have pretty great numbers, but I’m sure they would like more. We would like more. It comes down to having enough people on the ice and having enough ice time and that stuff. We work around it, and it’s great," Green said.
To learn more about the Billings Curling Club visit its website by clicking here.