February 2008

Frozen Watersport Growing In The Valley

Coyotes Curling Club Readies For 2010 Olympics

By Darryl Horsman
Photos: Carol Allen

The Coyotes Curling Club started in April 2003. Prior to the 2002 Olympics, some Canadians checked in with the Alltel Ice Den, Scottsdale, to see if they could get curling started in the Valley.

At that time, the Ice Den shooed them away and scoffed at curling, as they had never really heard of it. After the 2002 Winter Olympics in Nagano, the Ice Den's phone started to ring with inquiries about what curling is and if they offered it.

ROCK 'N ROLL -- with the Coyote's Curling Club. Greg Gallagher, Phoenix, is shown instructing, with Mike Brand, Scottsdale, looking on. Gallagher was one of the Coyotes assisting at the Jan. 20 "Learn-to-Curl" session, held at the Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale.

It was at that point that they called the number we had left if ever they wanted to try to get a curling club going. The first learn-to-curl weekend, we had over 500 come out to try the game!

Since April 2003 and roughly 16 curlers, the club now has a steady membership of over 100 with 44 full-time curlers because that is all the ice time we have. Many of these 100 curlers have been with us since the start and have now been curling for over three years.

We are trying to get ready for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. We expect a huge surge in Olympics-turned-on curlers and want to be ready to offer them decent ice times and the ability to curl.

A sampling of the variety of locales in Arizona represented by curlers is Beki Nowlan, Phoenix; Carl Naso, Fountain Hills; Dwain Desbien, Surprise; Karen Tait, Scottsdale, and Adam Sunshine, Tempe.

PRE-ICE WARMUP -- Darryl Horsman stresses the importance of warming up before going on the ice for several ends of curling. Especially for these new curlers, the exercise is important, as the game entails some muscles that many had not used.

It is not only Canadians who curl here in Arizona; many Americans have joined in the 500-year-old Scottish game. Roughly, the demographics are as follow:

  • 80 percent are college or university graduates.
  • 55 percent are men.
  • 45 percent are women.
  • 100 percent like to have fun.
  • Median age of club members is 39.
  • Median income of members is $40-$70,000 annually.

Join us in this ever-growing and popular frozen watersport? If so, e-mail me at the skip@coyotescurling.com. See you on the ice!

THE FINER POINTS OF SWEEPING -- Darryl Horsman, Phoenix, instructed a group of new curlers in the importance of the broom in curling, why it is important to the game, and its history. Behind him is Brice Ackridge, Glendale, prepping the ice for the class.