Maybe you are a new curler picking up the sport for the first time. Perhaps you have been curling for more years than you can remember. Feel free to share your curling story. Know that we have been a part of the history of Grand Forks for at least 100 years, and are making plans to continue to do so for the next 100. With the prospect of many curling games ahead we simply say, Good Curling!
Although Grand Forks is known for its passion in ice hockey, the winter sport of curling has long been a part of the community. As early as the 1880’s, curling games on the Red River and flooded rinks throughout the city sprung up to pass the long winter months. By the turn of the century these games became more common, and in 1914 the Caledonian Curling Club formed and became the first organized curling club in Grand Forks. This name was shared by many clubs throughout the country formed around this time. It comes from a Latin reference to Scotland where curling originated. Indeed the Royal Caledonian Curling Club serves as the governing body of the sport today in Scotland.
The Caledonian Club enjoyed a strong membership until the years of the Great Depression when few found time or expense for the sport. As a result, in 1935 the club folded. It was almost 20 years later that community support founded our current Grand Forks Curling Club. In 1960, the club had enough funds for a dedicated facility at 1124 7th Ave S, where it stands today. Since it was formed, the membership and building itself have endured both good times and bad. In 1997 when the club flooded, member volunteers worked diligently to ensure that the facility would open for curling when the new fall season began. The club has been the site of many national and regional competitions. In 2008, member volunteers helped bring the Men’s World Curling Championships to Grand Forks and the Ralph Englestad Arena.
At one time, there were many curling clubs in northeast North Dakota. Drayton is the site of the oldest club in the state and was formed in 1901. The area enjoyed many clubs in the communities of Langdon, Grafton, Devils Lake, Larimore, Edmore, and Forest River to name just a few. The agricultural economy lent itself well to a leisure sport in the winter months. Farmers were eager to throw rocks as the daylight became shorter and the nights grew colder. The curling club at one time was synonymous with “community center” in many towns, especially during winter. In the past decades for various reasons however, many have closed their rinks. In our area of northeast North Dakota, only Drayton, Grafton, Devils Lake, and Grand Forks remain. In Minnesota, Thief River Falls, Hallock, and Stephen all have clubs, and recently Crookston has taken steps to make curling an annual winter activity. Though every club has experienced times of waning membership, curling on the national level has never been stronger and North Dakota and Minnesota play an important part of that.