Stone cold sweepers

Robin Dich Evergreen Club Sports reporter

From high school students to college professors, the curling club members welcome participants of any age and skill level. Most weekends, there is a group of people enjoying the sport of curling at the Palouse Ice Rink.

Next Sunday will kick off the Palouse Curling Club’s fifth year of league play. For eight weeks between the months of October through mid-March, there are weekly matches among teams formed within the club.

Tom Brandt, Moscow High School teacher, is the husband of the club President Elizabeth Brandt. He wants people to know that this club is not always about the competition, but a way to bring the public together.

“Right now it is mostly community members,” Brandt said. “One team has four PhDs. We’ve got university professors, we’ve got attorneys; you name it, we’ve got it.”

It’s a type of sport that most people don’t get a chance to experience in this area of the United States. The members enjoy participating in such a unique sport on the weekend. In Canada and some parts of America, there are rinks solely dedicated to curling.

Frank Wilhelm, University of Idaho professor, has been a member since the start of the club and he brings the heaviest background of curling from Canada. During the open session, he used his knowledge to teach newcomers how to play the sport. He hopes that people of all skill levels, even those that have never curled before, come out to the rink and check out the club.

“It ranges all the way from people we pick up here at the ‘Learn to Curl’ sessions to people who have curled before,” Wilhelm said. “If you’ve never curled, and seen it on TV and you find it interesting, come on out.”

Deb McCormick, attorney in Moscow, joined the club a few years ago. A friend of hers suggested they take a look at the curling club, and they’ve been coming back ever since.

“My friend Carol wanted to try something new and talk me into it, and we had so much fun we’ve been coming each year,” McCormick said. “For me it’s something nice to do in the winter and when maybe the weather is cruddy and you want to get out of the house.”

The atmosphere in the rink is unavoidable. The participants are welcoming to anyone interested in either curling for the first time or wanting to competitively curl.

“We’ve got some really good curlers, we don’t do it to win championships, we do it to have fun,” Brandt said.

The Palouse Curling Club’s first games are Oct. 27 and will continue throughout the winter.

“It’s a lot of fun. There is some rivalry that goes on between teams,” Wilhelm said. “We are always very welcoming to new people. It is as much social as there is skill.”