Classic, Current, and Up-and-Coming Curlers Play at Curl Mesabi Classic
16th Annual Curling Event held at Curl Mesabi
EVELETH, Minn.- “Hard! HARD!”
The skips’ voices quiver with passion, followed by the triumphant “CLICK” of rocks striking each other.
These sounds ring in the Curl Mesabi Classic’s 16th year.
An age–old tradition, yet always welcoming fresh faces.
“I think for me, to come out here and be competitive, and soak up any knowledge that I possibly can,” said Ex-Viking Defensive End, and new curler, Jared Allen.
“We’re getting our feet wet, we’re out here cutting our teeth”
Nevermind getting their feet wet, ex– Vikings player Jared Allen’s team dove right in.
For their first match on Friday, they faced off against Olympic gold champions–Team Shuster.
“I was actually laughing at the fact that, our first competitive match shouldn’t be against the world champs,” said Allen, incredulously.
“In what world do novices get to play the top of the field? It doesn’t happen in football, right?”
Though Team Allen didn’t bring a knife to a gunfight.
Their team was stacked with their own former Olympian, John Benton; pro-curler Hunter Clawson, and NFL Quarterback Marc Bulger.
So how did the footballer-turned-curler fair against the best of the best?
“Jared Allen, he impressed me yesterday for sure,” said John Shuster, Captain of Team Shuster. “He played really well, and you can see the athlete and all kinds of stuff ticking in him.”
Though it was not enough, as Team Allen lost 11-3.
The Gold Medalists played on the sheet next to Team Allen the next day, chatting strategy across the aisle.
Team Shuster said they enjoyed this rare opportunity to play on home turf.
“Because we’ve been flying around, been playing everything we’ve been playing this year,” Shuster said. “So it’s nice to play close to home, so people from Duluth can come up and watch, people from the range where I grew up are all gonna be here, it’s just a lot of fun.”
But the competition featured many other curlers from around the world, competing in serious qualifiers.
“The intensity on the ice was really nice,” said Laurie St-Georges, skip with Team St-Georges out of Montreal. “And honestly it’s a really good experience, like returning to Quebec at the provincials, we’re super confident.”
For her, that intensity on the ice is a perfect fit.
“I’m an intense person,” she said, her voice strained from belting “CLEAN” at the top of her lungs.
“So I love curling because of that. I’m a skip because of that. I love the strategy game, like, I love making big shots.”
In the end for these dedicated curlers, it’s all about the love of the game.
“Oohh, it’s, like, my life!”