- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

WINONA, Minn. (AP) - The Centerville Curling Club is pushing 70 and still going strong.

With upwards of 300 members of all ages, groups get together throughout the week to slide, sweep and shout in the cold indoor rink, the Winona Daily News (https://bit.ly/2gMsifv ) reported.

Dan Lilla, secretary and treasurer of the club, said they’ve been expanding in recent years due to popularity he believes has been spurred by international attention given to curling in the past several winter Olympics.

But it doesn’t hurt that it is a sport that, like golf, can be played leisurely or highly competitively, and for a long time.

“As long as a person feels good and is fairly healthy . you can be quite competitive well into your years,” Lilla said. “It’s one of those games you can do a lot of things with.”

The Centerville Club will turn 70 in 2017, and has members from many of the surrounding cities including La Crosse, which has its own club continuing to develop again after the La Crosse Curling Club closed in 1998.

The growth has been steady since the ‘70s and ‘80s, when the club had less than 100 people, Lilla said.

The area has historically had a curling culture, including high-school teams and the Galesville Curling and Burns Club, which closed in 2005 after nearly 150 years of operation. Minnesota and Wisconsin have more ice dedicated to curling specifically than anywhere else in the U.S.

Despite school involvement in the sport declining and other area clubs struggling, the Centerville Club doesn’t look like its going anywhere soon, and seeing multiple generations of curlers playing together isn’t uncommon.

Laura Delaney Roessler has been curling for about 30 years, she said, since she in early grade school, and so do her parents and children.

Delaney Roessler has taken the sport all the way to international competition, and said it provided opportunities to travel and compete in Canada and Europe as well as just a way to have fun on weeknights.

“It’s an easy enough concept, but you can make it as challenging as you want it to be,” Delaney Roessler said.

And challenging it can be. The sport looks like a combination of shuffleboard, chess, and golf.

To be a successful curler, players must be able to finesse a 40-pound granite stone over more than 100 feet of ice with the right amount of force and spin for it to stop inside of a 12-foot circle.

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Information from: Winona Daily News, https://www.winonadailynews.com


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