Sweep dreams: Minot Airmen build camaraderie and resilience through curling

Apr 4, 2024
Written by: Airman 1st Class Kyle Wilson, 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth McGhee, 91st Missile Wing commander (center), and members of the Minot Air Force Base curling league pose for a photo at the Minot Curling Club, Minot, North Dakota, March 19, 2024. McGhee attended the Minot AFB Curling League’s championship game and presented medals to the teams competing. U.S. Air Force photo I Airman 1st Class Kyle Wilson

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. —  

On a cool March evening in Minot, an assortment of sounds can be heard within the walls of the Minot Curling Club. Shouts roar through the air; “sweep, sweep, sweep!” The swishing of strenuously swept brooms moves across a frozen, icy surface. The thunderous knock of two stones crashing together echoes out; this inspires cheers from one group, and subtle sighs from another. These are the sounds of the Minot AFB Curling League championship game.

In 2019, a group of Airmen from Minot AFB decided to try their hand at the sport of curling. This led them to the Minot Curling Club. Established in 1905, the Minot Curling Club has been hosting competitive curling events for the local community ever since.

“My supervisor called me and said, ‘Hey, I found this curling club in town and I’ve always watched [the sport] in the Olympics, do you wanna give it a go?’” said Tech. Sgt. Levi Janssen, 91st Missile Maintenance Squadron critical task supervisor. “Sure enough, we put together a team and just started curling.”

For the the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Janssen and his teammates played in one of the Minot Curling Club’s leagues. As the 2021 season was approaching, in partnership with the Minot Curling Club, they decided to form a league of their own: the Minot AFB Curling League.

With each passing season, the Minot AFB Curling League has attracted new players and the Airmen participating say they hope the league will continue to grow.  U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Alexander Mathews, 740th Missile Squadron mission lead commander, is one such newcomer to the league for the 2024 season.

“This is my first year in the league; I kind of threw together a hodgepodge team of Airmen and we started curling,” said Mathews. “I think this a good program because it helps you get closer to your fellow Airmen and it’s a fun way to relieve stress.”

As with any team sport, curling requires a substantial amount of teamwork and fosters camaraderie among teammates. Janssen says playing in the curling league enhances these qualities in the Airmen who participate as well.

“You heard some of the shouting and yelling going on during the game,” said Janssen. “There’s so much communication going on out there, you’ve really gotta listen to the calls being made and be a team player.”

According to Mathews, finding activities to engage in during the winter at Minot AFB may be a challenge for some Airmen. He says the Minot AFB Curling Club is a great option for those looking for something fun to do in their free time.

“I think it builds resilience and helps Airmen get their mind off the cold of Minot. A lot of people may get up here and think there’s not a lot to do; well, this is something you can do,” said Mathews. 

Janssen added, “It breaks us out of those winter blues and gets us out here competing and having fun; it’s a great way to close out winter and get a jump start heading into spring.”

As the Minot AFB Curling League’s 2024 season came to a close, the Sweep Dreams and the Lobstahs curling teams took to the ice one last time. In a hard fought match, Sweep Dreams came out on top against the Lobstahs in the championship game with a final score of 7-3. Afterwards, with camaraderie on full display, competitors from both teams came together and exchanged high fives; celebrating the season and looking forward to what next year’s will bring.


Members of the Minot AFB Curling League compete in their championship match at the Minot Curling Club, Minot, North Dakota, March 19, 2024. The Minot AFB Curling League’s season began in January and concluded in March, lasting a total of 10 weeks.
U.S. Air Force photos I Airman 1st Class Kyle Wilson

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