Curling stones and brooms have already been purchased and brought back to Moffat County. Moffat County plans on setting up ice time for curling to occupy the ice rink this winter.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Curling stones and brooms have already been purchased and brought back to Moffat County. Moffat County plans on setting up ice time for curling to occupy the ice rink this winter.

Curling coming to Craig

— When winter hits Craig and the ice rink opens at Loudy-Simpson Park, another ice-related activity is in the works to grace the glassy surface.

With a few details still left to be worked out, a curling league will be coming to the Moffat County Ice Rink. The equipment has been purchased and is already in town, now it’s just a matter of fitting it in to the rink’s busy schedule. But curling is something the community has been wanting for a while, said Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe, who helped spearhead the proposal for curling beginning last spring.

“There’s a lot of interest in Craig,” Grobe said. “We’ve spent several years probably talking about curling. Now it’s going to be here, and we’re excited about the possibilities.”

When Grobe brought curling up as a possibility to help bolster slightly declining usage numbers at the rink, Facilities Manager Lennie Gillam was a bit skeptical of sliding stones across ice as a viable option.

“I kind of laughed at first,” he said. “But the more I’ve looked into it, the more interesting it got. Chuck and I went down to see it in Aspen, and that happened to be the day they had disabled veterans doing it. It opened up my eyes to how versatile this (sport) really is.”

While curling requires skill and strategy to be the best, it is also a sport anyone can pick up and try, Gillam said, which makes it more attractive.

A large contingent of Craig residents has expressed interest in a curling league, Grobe said, and Craig will become one of just a few cities on the Western Slope to offer the sport, which Grobe thinks could attract some from outside town to come play.

Gillam also has heard from more members of the community than he was expecting.

“The closer we get to it, the more people are popping out of the woodwork,” he said. “If nothing else, a lot of people are ready to at least try it out.

“I think any kind of competitive personality, it’s going to attract them. Like I said, it’s not real strenuous, but it’s something technical that they’ll think, ‘I can do that.’”

The county paid for enough stones, sliders, brooms and other equipment to field two full games, and Grobe brought it all back to Craig. The ice rink may charge slightly more for curling ice time or may seek curling sponsors in town to help make up that cost. The expense, along with finding the ice time between the various hockey schedules in Craig, still needs to be determined. But curling will be available come wintertime.

“We’re ready to roll. It’s just the details,” Grobe said. “There’s a lot of excitement in Craig for this. The winters are so long. It will give people in town something else to do in town.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com

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