Curling gaining popularity in the Mid-South

OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC) - The United States made history in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics by winning a gold medal for curling, and now many Americans, including those in Mid-South, are gaining interest for the sport.

"It was pretty inspirational," Jonesboro, Arkansas native Devon Bryant said.

Bryant, his wife, and a two friends drove all the way from Jonesboro to the Mid-South Ice House in Olive Branch, Mississippi to see what curling's all about.

"It's a fun looking sport. So we decided we wanted to come try it," Bryant said.

The program at the Ice-House is called Learn To Curl. It's put together by the Mid-South Curling Club.

The club's vice president Larry Unterberger brought the sport to the Mid-South in 2012, and has seen it grow in six years.

"This is our sixth learn to curl. They have all sold out," Unterberger said. "2014 Olympics we had a pretty good pop where we had about 40 curlers in our club. This year we're setting to go ahead of that goal. We'll put maybe 300 curlers through the learn to curl here. They have been attributed to the Olympic push."

The club's president, Evan Liu, said curling is like a mix between shuffle board and bowling.

"You're throwing a stone from one end of the ice to the other end," Liu said. "The target on the other end of the ice is known as the house. You're trying to put your rocks closer to that center of the house than the other team. At the end of each end the team with the more stones closer to the center gets to score points."

There are multiple ends, and the end of the game the team with the most points wins.

Curling is based on an honor system. Like golf, there are no referees. Everything is self-reported, and most of all it's supposed to be fun.

"It's been a blast man," Millington native Seth Bachelor said. "All of these people have been helpful. Learning new things. Good knowledge. Having some fun."

The Mid-South Curling Club currently has 40 members who play in a non-competitive league on Thursday nights.

The club plans to add more leagues soon, including a Sunday league and a summer league to play competitively.

For more information on the Mid-South Curling Club, click here.

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