Sooners curl up with brooms, stones
Dylan Smith doesn’t arm himself with skates, pads and hockey sticks when he takes the ice. Instead, he wields a broom and a curling stone.
Smith, civil engineering sophomore, is the president of the Sooner Curling Club, which held its first official club event Sunday at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Edmond.
The club needed 20 people to pay for and use the arena. A last-minute surge in members put them over that requirement, Smith said.
“It [was] our first-time being out together on the ice as a full club,” Smith said. “Previously, we had only been on the ice together in small groups, providing learn-to-curl sessions for all the new curlers.”
The club’s chalking on the South Oval led University College freshman Wolfgang Hanft to check out its Facebook page and subsequently the event. And although rare, the sport is not unknown.
Hanft said curling has continued to fascinate him.
“Curling is on my bucket list,” Hanft said.
Smith and several of his friends started the curling club in September 2010.
The Oklahoma Curling Club was founded in 2010 to promote the Olympic sport of curling in the state of Oklahoma, according to the organization’s website.
“It was something I had always wanted to try out, and got the idea to start the club when I noticed OU didn’t have a club,” Smith said.
At the time, as a newer student organization targeting a very niche market, the club faced the adversity of the unknown, Smith said.
“When the club first started, I really had no idea what to expect,” he said. “I didn’t know if it would ever grow, if we would ever even get to curl, or how long it would even last.”
The event also included instruction for newcomers from some top-notch instructors from the statewide Oklahoma Curling Club. The club was absolutely crucial in the creation of the Sooner Curling Club, Smith said.
“It’s huge for the club that we were able to get enough people out there, and if the event goes smoothly we should be able to have more Sooner Curling days in the future, because Arctic Edge Ice Arena will be much more interested in working with us again,” Smith said.
Faculty advisers Ron Conlon and Jonathan Havercroft run the Oklahoma Curling Club and have been a huge asset by providing materials and helping event organization, Smith said.
While the Sooner Curling Club attracted enough people to attend Sunday’s event, the club still faces recruitment problems.
“When people hear about the club, they are almost always interested in trying out the sport,” Smith said. “The biggest problem is that the club just isn’t that well known on campus.”