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I Can't Wait for the Winter Games in Downtown DSM!

Curling at the 2018 Winter Games

January 31, 2018

As a youngster growing up in western Iowa in the 1960s and 70s, I was always encouraged by my parents to give back to the community. After moving away after school, I had the opportunity to travel the United States during my career. I always made sure to experience the cities and states that I was fortunate enough to be visiting. It was important for me to see what other parts of our great country did for fun. That lead to my lifelong passion for the field of marketing and events. 

I am a firm believer that what a community does for its residents is a great barometer of how much a city cares. Since moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM) in 2011, I have tried to continue this mission. DSM is an excellent example of an up and coming city. I saw Seattle, WA in the early 1990’s and Charlotte, NC in the late 1990’s undergo massive reconstructions. Their downtowns came alive! I see the exact same scenario playing out in DSM. Concerned business leaders who care about the city and the state and are willing to extend a hand in helping everyone enjoy some fun times together as a city.

And certainly, Downtown DSM is coming alive these days. 

The very first event I held in DSM was the Iowa Curling Cup at Brenton Skating Plaza. The venue was gracious enough to allow us to use the space for a first of its kind event.  Although it was 23 degrees, all eight teams showed up in curling outfits and we had nearly 100 fans show their support. That first event nearly guaranteed success for the future Curling Cup events. I have also utilized Cowles Commons and Buccaneer’s Arena here in town. 

Winter Games

The reason that events like this work is because the people in the community attend. The best laid plans for an event mean nothing if no one shows up to experience the fun. That is why I encourage all DSM residents to shake off the winter blahs and head to the Winter Games at Brenton Skating Plaza. It will be a two-day festival of everything winter and ice related.  Get out and experience a great event that has no admission fee and support the Greater Des Moines Partnership for putting on a unique, one of a kind party for people of all ages. It should be a fantastic show to complement the Winter Olympics in February. 

Curling in DSM

You will have a chance to watch curling demonstrations on Friday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. by members of the Des Moines Curling Club. Yes, DSM does have a curling club!  They even have leagues you can sign up for.

Curling originated in Scotland in the 1500s or 1600s. It consists of a playing field, called a sheet that looks like a shuffleboard set-up. Each team consists of four players. The two competing teams will slide 42-pound granite stones, called rocks in North America, down the ice to a target area. That area basically looks like a target with the center ring called the button.

The idea is to get your rocks stopped as close to the button as possible. That is how you score points. But it is a bit more complicated than that because each team alternates sliding a stone down the ice. So, you can block or knock off the other team’s stones. Each team gets 8 stones. Each player throwing two stones each. One time down the ice for both teams and all 16 stones is called an end. Similar to an inning in baseball. In professional matches, 8- 10 ends consists of a match.

Before the match, a technique called pebbling is done so that little water droplets that are sprayed onto the sheet (playing field of ice) freeze and provide a sliding surface that keeps most of the stone elevated above the ice as it travels. That is when you will see two players with brooms help the stone down the ice by brooming very fast and creating a lane for the stone to travel down.

It is actually a very delicate sport and watching the best players in the world can be quite riveting.

Curling will be on nearly every day of the Winter Olympics this year because people just love to tune in and watch. And all the yelling the team does is a way to give instructions on how hard to broom and in which direction to help the stone reach its final destination. It is also called Chess on Ice because it takes precision to make sure you knock off your opponent’s stones and keep yours in the target area.

If you want to get involved, the 2018 Iowa Curling Cup will be held March 31. And as all great marketing efforts, the idea for the tournament was started on a bar napkin without ever having curled before or even knowing there was a local club! So, anyone, and I mean anyone, can participate. 

Happy curling!

An exciting celebration of sports and outdoor recreation, The Winter Games will be held at Brenton Skating Plaza in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) as we cheer on Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Visiting Downtown DSM is easy with plentiful street and ramp parking options.