The EWU Recreation Center (URC) was the host venue as Spokane welcomed the USA Curling National Championships, Feb. 8-15. The weeklong competition featured the nation’s top men’s and women’s teams vying for a spot on Team USA and a berth in the subsequent World Curling Championships.
Michael Roos, of EWU football fame, helped kick off the tournament on Saturday, Feb. 8. Roos ceremoniously started the USA Curling National Championships by throwing the opening stone. Though he is most well-known for his football career—he’s the namesake of EWU’s Roos Field and a former Tennessee Titan—Roos has more recently started competing in curling. Unfortunately his team did not qualify for the national championships.
Preparing for the Event
This event took months to plan, much of it coming together in the final weeks. The Inland Northwest Curling Club held a Curling 101 media session last week so local journalists could learn, and in turn teach the public, the basics of the game.
Recreation Center staff were busy preparing for the event and they promised students, faculty and staff who use the facility that they will still have regular access throughout the week.
“Students will have full access to things like the fitness center and health and wellness services,” says Jamie Gwinn, URC operations manager. Gwinn says the only part visitors won’t have access to is The Roost, which will be reserved for people with an event ticket. He also points out there will be plenty of signage to ensure patrons they won’t be displaced.
EWU Police, Parking Services and Dining Services are all coordinating efforts to ensure the week runs smoothly. “The support from Eastern Washington University the Spokane Sports Commission make this a unique opportunity to bring the best curling athletes in the USA to EWU to showcase the sport,” says Rick Patzke, the chief executive officer for USA Curling.
The University Recreation Center is a premier three-level facility with more than 117,000 square feet and a standard-size ice arena.
Gwinn expects the campus to see little disruption during the week, but expects the final three days of the championship weekend (Thursday–Saturday) to be the busiest. “Everybody’s been rallying around this really well, we’re seeing a lot of buzz and excitement,” says Gwinn.
Tickets range from free for young children to $65 for a full-week adult pass. Click here to purchase yours.
Did you know?
- Curling started in Scotland in the 16th century
- Curling didn’t become an Olympic sport until the 1998 winter games in Nagano, Japan
- The curling stone, or rock, that slides across the ice is made of granite and weighs up to 44 pounds
- The granite for the stones come from only two sources—an island off the coast of Scotland and a granite quarry in Wales
- The curling broom, or brush, is used to sweep the ice surface in the path of the stone
- Participants wear curling shoes that include a slider sole worn by those sweeping the path; and a gripper sole worn by the person who “delivers” the stone
- The circular target is called the house; points are awarded for stones resting closest to the target’s center at the conclusion of each of the eight to ten “ends,” or rounds
For More Information:
- Terry Davis, USA Curling, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608.338.9900
- Dana Haynes, Spokane Sports Commission, Media, email@example.com, 509.990.5611