Stoned: CC Curling Club holds open house

CALUMET – The scratching of brooms on ice and the thunk of stones were heard again and again inside the former Calumet & Hecla Drill House Saturday.

The occasion was the Copper Country Curling Club’s first open house of the season, held from 1 to 4 p.m.

More than 40 people turned out for the open house, said Gary Lassila, president of the club. Most people were from the area, although there were also participants from Finland, Escanaba and Marquette.

The sport involves players sliding stones toward a series of concentric circles. They’re scored on how close their stones are to the center at the end of each series of throws.

People had to bring clean tennis shoes. Aside from that, all they needed was an enthusiasm for the game.

“We just come and we give them a few basic pointers, and teach them the basic rock delivery and teach them how to sweep,” he said.

The club will hold two more open houses this Saturday and Sunday. For people who want to know more, there’s a “learn to curl” program Wednesday nights.

“Then they really learn the basics and the technique and strategy,” he said. “This is just a fun little ‘Give it a try, give it some practice,'” Lassila said.

The club has about 60 to 70 members, and two dedicated league nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Monday night is set aside for college students, who have pickup games and practice.

Near the end of the session, one group was playing a game, while Nate and Leah Polzien of Laurium were practicing. A neighbor of theirs who plays in a curling league told them about the day.

“I grew up here, knowing that people curled up here, and was always kind of curious about it,” Nate said. “So far, we enjoy it.”

They plan to follow their neighbor and join the league. It’s not their first experience trying an unfamiliar pastime – they played horseshoes in a league last summer.

“I think this would be a winter version of that – one night a week, go out and meet new people,” Leah said.