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FM Adult & Youth Athletic Clubs & Sports: F-M Curling Club

If you’re from the area, odds are you have at least heard of the sport, especially considering Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota produce some of the top players in it, but you may not realize just how large the sport of curling really is. Since 1938, the F-M Curling Club has been supporting the steady growth of the sport, and they have the records to show their success.

Our local curling club currently has around 400 to 500 hundred members, including both youth programs and leagues, as well as adult leagues. The majority of these numbers are made up of people from the Fargo-Moorhead area, and a few from outside the community come to town to participate. Virtually any night of the week you will find leagues on the ice inside the facility. Adult leagues are held Sunday through Thursday nights, and the youth leagues are held on Sunday afternoons.

After being part of the community for almost 90 years, The F-M Curling Club has made some impressive moves in its history.


1938

The club began as the Fargo Curling Club on outdoor ice on the Red River, eventually renting a sheet of natural ice at what was called the Fargo Arena, where the Island Park Pool is today.

1940s

The club held multiple locations in the downtown area on natural ice sheets.

1959

After years of unpredictable winters, the club avoided dependency on natural ice and built a new space with two sheets of artificial ice, located where North High School is today.

1960

The club hosted its first bonspiel.

1967

The club moved west a block to the corner of 10th St and 17th Ave N in a new, much-improved building with four sheets of artificial ice.

1967 – 2007

For 40 years, the club navigated membership and team organizing, board decisions, tournament hosting and attending, building maintenance, club growth and much more.

2007

The decision was made to start funding and scouting for a location to build a new home for the club.

2013

In time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the club, the new facility opened its doors after great fundraising efforts. The club’s building is currently located on 23rd Ave S, between the Cornerstone Bank Arena and the Tharaldson Baseball Park (south of the Red River Zoo).


And those are just the physical moves the club has made. The club has had the chance to host national championships right in Fargo. In order to accommodate the size of the audience the tournaments would bring in, they partnered with Scheels Arena and set up there for the 2011 and 2018 Men’s and Women’s National Championships and the 2013 Olympic Trials.

The club’s facility hosted the 2015 Men’s and Women’s Club Nationals, 2017 Men’s and Women’s Junior Nationals and 2022 College Nationals. They also host many local and regional tournaments there throughout the season.

Its members have proven themselves and the teams throughout the years at local, regional, national and international showings.

The F-M Curling Club National Championship teams include:

  • 1966 Men’s National Champion and World Bronze Medalists – Team Roberts
  • 2017 Women’s Club National Champion – Team Podoll
  • 2018 Mixed National Champion – Team Workin
  • 2019 College National Champion – NDSU
  • 2022 U18 Women’s National Champion – Team Scheel
  • 2022 Junior Women’s National Champion – Team Scheel

Whether a team heads overseas or attends league every weekday night, they are a part of the history of the club. Frank Podoll was first introduced to curling right out of college and joined the club in 1974. He curls every Monday night.

“The biggest memory is the people you meet and then get to know quite a bit…” Podoll said. “I actually met my wife through curling. We curled many years together. I have two daughters and a son who all curled. My two daughters still curl quite a bit competitively.”

The things that you see sliding on the ice are called rocks, and the tools the team members use to guide the rocks are called brooms!

Here’s How It Works:

A curling team is made up of four people, each with a role:

  • Skip (or captain); the person who calls the strategy and usually shoots the last rock.
  • Third (or vice-captain)
  • Second
  • Lead

The team will send the rocks down the ice, aiming for the target at the other end. But the strategy is a bit more complicated than just sliding the rocks. The skip (since they are calling the strategy) will stand at the end with the target to direct the other team members’ throws, as well as the sweepers.

Each member throws two rocks. The lead will throw the first, followed by the second, then the third (or vice-captain) and finally, the skip (or captain). The two teams curling against each other will alternate after each two throws.

While each member is throwing, there are two members sweeping the brooms on the ice to lessen the friction on the ice, in hopes to allow the rock to travel farther.

As you can see, there is a lot going on in the sport of curling. But one thing is certain, try it, and you’ll probably get hooked.

Al Hemstad moved with his family to the area about eight years ago. He had always wanted to try curling but didn’t do so until they moved here. About two months after he signed up his son for the youth league, Hemstad decided to try it for himself.

“This’ll be my seventh year curling. I kind of fell in love with it and jumped in with both feet, and now this is my second home,” he said.

Hemstad works with youth programming, as well as leagues for himself twice a week. He watched his son’s first experience, along with his own first-time experience, and now his son is competing in tournaments.

Hemstad and his team represented the club at the Five-And-Under National Championships (five years or less of experience in curling) in 2022.

“It’s a tight-knit community, but it’s not one of those exclusive clubs. We welcome anybody and encourage people to do it. The more people can get involved, the better,” he said.

At the beginning of every season, the club hosts an open house for anyone who wants to come and try the sport out. From there they can sign up for leagues and youth programming.

They have a specific kids curling program for children ages 5 years old to 9 years old, that runs for six weeks. It’s held one day a week, for one hour, teaching the kids the basics of curling. Moving up, they would join the youth program for ages 10 years old to 18 years old. This runs from November through March!

Last year, Team Scheel won the 2022 U18 and the 2022 Junior (U21) National Championships. Two of the players from the U18 team were from the F-M Curling Club—Miranda Scheel and Tessa Thurlow, the other two, Ella Fleming and Rilee Kraft, were from Bismarck.

The Junior (U21) Team, consisting of Miranda Scheel, Tessa Thurlow and Jordan Hein (who curl in the F-M Curling Club), and Amelia Hintz from Wisconsin, will be going to the Junior Worlds Championship. They have been practicing together the past year and will be in Germany at the end of February this year (Feb 25th – March 4th) for that competition!

Head to worldcurling.org/ events/wjcc2023 for more information on the event, live score updates and broadcasting news!

In addition to this team, Team Fitzgerald took the Silver at the 2023 U18 National Championship in January. All four players are from the F-M Curling Club, being Aiden Fitzgerald, Jackson Askew, Carter Mitchell, Jake Rin and Coach Evan Workin!

The Dakota Territory Curling Association, which encompasses North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, has had lots of representation among various youth and adult competitions around the nation.

Whether you’re looking for a sport that brings competition or one that just keeps you active, you can find it at the F-M Curling club.

While the F-M Curling Club has been rooted in the community for some time, there are communities in the region that are itching to grow their own.

Cameron Rittenour is a part of a few curling clubs, including the F-M Curling Club—where he is active in leagues and practices. He commutes about an hour and a half from Fergus Fall, MN to do so. Rittenour has been to eight national competitions as well as the 2021 Olympic trials.

The various competitions that the members of the F-M Curling Club have been to are nothing short of amazing, but Rittenour has something else to add to his stats sheet: founding a new club.

He has been working to help start Fergus Falls’ new curling club for youth and adults. Having just started, the club is not quite yet established, but they are on their way. Currently, the club plays on the hockey ice in town and has about 28 members. They had their first league night in January after weeks of learning to curl practice.

Rittenour also works with the company, Curling Stadium, a new broadcasting company that supports curling clubs from local, regional and national events. They help clubs get set up with packages that allow broadcasting of all of their events, so anyone can watch the tournaments at any time and players can go back and review their curls for improvement. Curling Stadium Corporate is based out of Canada, and Curling Stadium USA is based out of Fergus Falls. The goal is to have coverage for all curling clubs, and they’re on their way to reaching that goal.

The F-M Curling Club has had a tremendous journey over the last 85 years. To be a part of it, head to fmcurling.org and keep an eye out for their Learn to Curl events to get started!

4300 23rd Ave S, Fargo
(701) 232-0341

Written by Geneva Nodland

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