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For the first time in the history of Orange County, the area’s local club, The Orange County CurlingClub (OC Curling), is hosting a 32-team, three day bonspiel the weekend of June 21 at The Rinks - Westminster ICE in Westminster, CA. In its third year, OC Curling has built its membership to over 70 members strong and is excited to host a bonspiel to welcome curlers of all skill levels. In a unique celebration of the renowned surf culture and beach atmosphere that represents Orange County, the bonspiel is titled “The Surf City Spiel.”
In addition to receiving entries from beginner and intermediate curlers, the club is receiving experienced participants from the US and Canada, including USA Olympic Bronze Medalist Pete Fenson and 2010 U.S. Olympian and Project 2018 Coach John Benton. Joining Fenson and Benton on the four-person team are Project 2018 USA Coach Phill Drobnick and USA Curling’s Director of High Performance Derek Brown.
In addition to the Fenson rink, the club has received team entries from as far away as Vancouver, Toronto, Duluth, Columbus, and Kansas City (MO), in addition to California participants from cities such as San Francisco, Roseville, Hollywood and San Diego.
“The Winter Olympic sport of curling is one of the fastest growing sports in America,” said OC Curling Club President Bill Waddington. “In just a few years’ time we’ve been able to grow our local club into a premier curling destination with some of the best arena ice conditions in Southern California. Our club is dedicated to making curling a fun sport for all ages. We’re thrilled that we have matured to the point that hosting a three-day tournament has become a reality, and that we are attracting Olympic curlers and great teams from all over North America.”
“As the Director of High Performance at USA Curling I’m excited to see how the sport has taken off in the Southland. We’ve been hearing about the interest in the west and now we’ll be able to see it firsthand. We have high expectations for tremendous growth in the sport after the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and we can’t wait to meet some of the new curlers in Orange County and the others participating in the Surf City Spiel,” said Brown.
Curlers participating in the Surf City Spiel will enjoy a three-game guarantee as well as food, fun, and raffle prizes. Themed after one of the county’s best attractions, the beach, participants will certainly feel comfortable and will benefit from the O.C.’s relaxing and entertaining ambiance. And, in addition to tournament game play, The Surf City Spiel includes an opening ceremony complete with a traditional bagpiper and a hosted dinner featuring the local live karaoke band, Rock the Mic.
The sport of curling is still relatively new to the western portion of the United States. Clubs typically have excelled in the Eastern and Northern portions of the country. However, due to the popularity of curling at the Winter Olympic Games, new clubs continue to form in some of the unlikeliest of places. OC Curling was one such club that started in January 2010 and has since grown to over 70 members and has received its 501(c) 3 non-profit status.
The OC Curling Club encourages spectators to come out for free all three days and watch the bonspiel action. Also, the club is open to bonspiel sponsors and is taking sign-ups for “Learn to Curl” sessions on its website.