Olympics underway, and curlers in the Hills say “Go Team USA!”

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox Sunday
Published: Feb. 12, 2022 at 8:57 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Olympics are more than a week underway, with sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and hockey. Things that we have right here in the Hills.

However, something that’s a bit more unique has a club in Rapid City, and they say not many people know about it.

The Rushmore Curling Club is inviting anyone to give it a try.

”Sweep it,” shouts curler, Nate Ude, “sweep it!”

“I love it,” says Herb Kistler, President of the Rushmore Curling Club. “I wish I could do it for a living.”

Curling is a sport that takes strategic planning, “on an Olympic level,” says Ude, “there’s a lot of strategy. At our level, we just try to get it in.”

Miss your mark and, it’s no big deal, because Kistler says “it’s a very polite game. There’s no trash talk. There’s no cheating or anything like that. It’s just a bunch of people getting together, having a good time.”

“You can do it,” says Ude to his teammate. “Come on.”

Even those who bleed competitive in nature blood, like Trista Ley, who’s a curler in the club, dial it back.

“I try to keep the competitiveness inside me a little more,” Ley says, “just because it’s just for fun.”

“Sweep,” shouts Ude. “Sweep!”

Well, dialed back for the most part.

“I’m not going to lie,” Ley admits, “I get competitive once in a while.”

Competitive, but polite brooms scurrying around on ice. It’s safe to say, curling offers something unique to the world, “because,” Kistler says, “it’s on ice and it has rocks in it and I mean, it’s just different.”

Although curling lends itself to distinctive traits, it doesn’t take a distinct person to play, because “it’s something that somebody like me can do,” Kistler says. “I’m in my sixties and I can still do this.”

With age comes experience. Which, comes in handy for a game that relies on teamwork.

“If you don’t have a good team,” Ley says, “it’s hard to do well.” That’s why “communication is super important.”

Talking back and forth, like Ude who whispers to the rock, “come on curl.”

Sweeping side to side.

Making sure the stone ends up on target.

“So,” Ude says, “ideally the person throwing, throws just enough weight to do what you want. The sweepers can really make a big difference on the stone if they know what they’re doing.”

Reacting as team is important to quickly alter the path of the stone “and,” says Kistler, “you play a while and you get to know what a person is thinking.”

Thinking out loud, across the ice, is done by way of hand gestures.

“To know what we want the person to do when they toss a stone,” Ley says. “Communication, teamwork. Very important.”

Teamwork welcome to all, as Kistler says the curling League in Rapid City continues to attract eager players, “because we started with a lot fewer people than we have now.”

“It’s kind of fun just to introduce new people to it,” Ley adds.

As for what role these curlers play in the Olympics?

Ude shots, “Go team US!”

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