Minot AFB Curlers One of a Kind

Written by: Kim Fundingsland
Members of the “Passing Stones” team pose for a photograph after a successful match on semi-final night of the MAFB Curling League. L to R – Mitchell Kuhn, Michael Clow, Chris Seil, and Ben Lingenfelter. All are members of the 219th SFS NDANG.

All Military Curling League

That “funny” sport is proving to be great fun for Minot Air Force Base personnel.
“We have a special position as the only recognized military curling league in the United States,” said Wesley Mason, MAFB league coordinator for the Minot Curling Club. “We are kind of unique.”

A participant in the MAFB Curling League is about to deliver a rock during competition at the Minot Curling Club. Kim Fundingsland photo

There is no arguing that, but then curling anywhere could be labeled unique. It’s a sport with an ancient history that remains alive, particularly in areas of the northern U.S. Recent Olympic Games have brought renewed interest in curling too.
Remarkably, the MAFB Curling League boasts 11 teams taking part in weekly competition. Including spouses, who are eligible to play, the number of participants in the league is about 70 with more interest being shown every year.

“I’m quite proud of the program,” remarked Mason. “We try to have 6 to 8 people on a team. You only need four, but they go on alert and have other deployment responsibilities. It’s fun because most of them sign up for teams with people they work with every day. They can razz each other about it all season long.”

The season semi-finals for the league were held this past Tuesday. Participants were having fun, but their competitiveness was evident too, a transformation from their introduction to the sport.

“First timers come in giggling about this funny sport, but once they develop a feel for the game they want to win,” said Mason.

The Minot Curling Club is located on the State Fairgrounds. The facility has five sheets of ice for curling, allowing for ten teams to compete at any one time. The MAFB season champion will be crowned March 19.

Curling team members sweep the ice smooth as a rock enters the house. Kim Fundingsland photo

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