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Pittsburgh Curling Club slides way into Adams Township

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Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Curling, a relatively obscure sport that gains national attention every four years during the Winter Olympics, is coming to Butler County.

The Pittsburgh Curling Club plans to build a $1.2 million curling-only ice rink on a 1.4-acre site on Myoma Road in Adams.

The township's supervisors approved the plan last month.

“It is a great thing. There are a lot of local people involved in curling. It's kind of something unique that I think Adams Township welcomes,” said Gary Peaco, the township's code enforcement officer.

The site is now a vacant lot, Peaco said.

The club's president, Steve Buffington, said construction should start in late spring or early summer and be finished by the end of September.

The land is being donated, said Buffington, who declined to identify the benefactor.

Curlers slide polished granite stones with handles across a sheet of ice toward a target area divided into four rings.

Two teams, each with four players, take turns sliding the heavy stones across the ice toward the “house,” a target drawn on the ice.

Two people with brooms clear the ice to make the stone slide better or build up shave to slow it down.

The sport originated in Scotland and is particularly popular in Canada. In the United States, Terry Kolesar, a spokeswoman USA Curling in Stevens Point, Wis., said the sport was most popular in the states that border Canada until recently.

Now, there are clubs in states such as California, Texas and South Carolina.

“Curling has become more popular since the 2002 Olympics, when it was on television a lot,” Kolesar said.

In the 10 years since the local club was founded, the sport has taken off in the Pittsburgh area, Buffington said.

The club has 81 members who range in age from 16 to 76, Buffington said.

Currently, they practice and play at the Island Sports Center on Neville Island .

Because that facility is heavily used, the club plays from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturdays.

In July, 48 teams from the United States and Canada will play in a bonspiel, or tournament, at the Neville Island facility.

The bonspiel will be held in Adams in succeeding years, Buffington said.

The club eventually would like to run interscholastic and high school curling leagues at the new rink, he said.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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