Rockin' the club: Hundreds of curlers hit Minnesota for first 'Big Spiel'


The next few days are all about rock in St. Paul.

Specifically, the rock – or stone, depending on your preference – and the brooms needed to sweep in front of it.

The Twin Cities Curling Association is hosting its first-ever Big Spiel – a four-day tournament featuring dozens of teams and hundreds of curlers, played across 19 sheets of ice at three different metro area club.

The final numbers: 96 teams, about 400 curlers, association president Mark Wilmert told the Pioneer Press.

The games will be played at three different locations – the1912-founded St. Paul Curling Club, the Frogtown Curling Club, and Blaine's Four Seasons Curling Club.

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A few of the teams at the Big Spiel are from Canada – known as the hotspot for the cold sport, with the Star Tribune saying 90 percent of the world's players call Canada home. Most are from the Midwest region of the U.S.

If you're not in Canada though, Minnesota is arguably the place to be if you're interested in the brooms and stones.

This is by no means an official list, but a quick glance at the Wikipedia page for curling clubs in the U.S. shows you how prevalent the sport is in the state.

There are 12 clubs in Illinois, 10 in North Dakota, 16 in New York, 11 in Massachusetts ... solid numbers.

But check Minnesota, and you'll find a whopping 31 clubs. (The next closest state is Wisconsin with 27.)

And the players start early: In 2013, a quartet of young women based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota represented the U.S.A. at the World Junior Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia.

“Curling no longer is a best-kept secret,” longtime player Bob Hedstrom told the Star Tribune.

The Big Spiel runs through Sunday, with playoffs on that final day hosted by the St. Paul Curling Club.

"Looking forward to sharing a fun weekend with everyone playing in and helping with The Big Spiel," Wilmert wrote on the association's Facebook page.

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