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Isabelle Mecklin lines up a shot at the Two Harbors Curling Club’s open house earlier this year. Photo by Kris Lee.

Curlers in TH celebrate 50 years

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The Two Harbors Curling Club started as a bunch of locals curling in a freezing, abandoned storehouse on a hand-poured rink. Five decades later, the club has doubled in size and has a heated club with four professional sheets of ice. They’ll be celebrating 50 years with a banquet next week.

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“There are lots of fond memories and good times,” said Ardis Meyer, who curled for more than 25 years.

Fifty years ago, the DM&IR closed down the ore docks in Two Harbors and its buildings were sitting empty. A group of curling enthusiasts got together and asked if they could rent a storehouse, and the railroad company agreed. The THCC started by flooding a rink in the old building, which they paid $50 a year to rent. The club caught on quickly.

“We had so many curlers we didn’t know where to put them. There was nothing else to do in the winter time,” said Rudy Pluth, one of the founding members and still an avid curler.

They curled in the storehouse for about two years while raising money to build their own clubhouse. Two years later, they had $10,000 to build the shell of the building on Highway 2, where the Two Harbors Fire Hall is located today.

Volunteers poured hours of labor creating a building they could be proud of, hosting their first national mixed championship in 1983 in the impressive club.

In 1991, tragedy struck and the curling club burned down. The club survived the ordeal, donating their land to the City of Two Harbors and signing a long-term lease on land adjacent to the Lake View Golf Course clubhouse. With insurance money in hand and dedicated volunteers, the curlers again built something out of nothing.

“It was hard to start over, but once again the curling volunteers came forward and a new club was built,” Meyer said.

Pluth said the club has really taken off in recent years, which he attributes largely to the Olympics. Curling became an Olympic sport in 1998. In addition, it’s a winter sport that isn’t dependent by weather and is relatively cheap.

“Curling is making an upswing again,” he said. “This year we got so many new curlers.”

Pluth has been curling for 70 years, encouraged into the sport by his dad. In that time, he’s attended nine state championships and three national competitions.

“You’re overwhelmed by it. It’s just great to be there,” he said of the experience.

Club members don’t always travel for big events – sometimes, the competition comes to them like this coming February. The club will host the 2014 Club Nationals Feb. 15-22. No matter where the curling takes place, Pluth said you have to put a lot of time in to be successful.

“I call it chess on ice. It’s a lot of strategy, not just skill,” he said.

The 50th anniversary banquet is Friday, Jan. 3 beginning at 5 p.m. at Superior Shores, 1521 Superior Shores Drive, Two Harbors. The cost is $30 per person including dinner. They will also host a club bonspiel on Saturday, Jan. 4. Cost is $10 per person including lunch. RSVP to thcurlingclub@gmail.com.

Check out the THCC’s website, www.twoharborscurling.com, for more information.

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