OLYMPIC ZONE: A date with the Great Smoky Mtn. Curling Club - WSMV Channel 4

OLYMPIC ZONE: A date with the Great Smoky Mtn. Curling Club

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KNOXVILLE, TN (WRCB) -- It's been called everything from strange to confusing to shuffleboard on ice but in they Olympics they call it curling. It's been there for more than two decades and you can learn how to do it in Knoxville with the Great Smokey Mountain Curling Club.

It's the only curling club in the state of Tennessee.

Club member Kerry Cholka said, "people just hear about it and they just can't believe they have an opportunity to curl here. So they come out and try it."

They practice every Sunday night at the Ice Chalet in Knoxville and true to form every time the Winter Olympics roll around the ice is packed.

Cholka said, "four years ago when the Olympics were here we had over 200 people show up. The vast majority of the people just want to see what it's like to throw a 40-pound granite stone down the ice."

But some stick around and join the club full time like Ryan Catterson who drives from Morristown every week, "I thought it looked very interesting, it looked like something you could pick up without a lot of athletic ability and it is, anyone can play."

The clubs roster backs that up. Cholka says they have every demographic covered, "we have someone out here who was born in 1923 then we have the college kids. We have geophysicists we have people who work at book stores. It's all across the age range, gender socioeconomic status, it doesn't matter."

The University of Tennessee also has a curling club that practices with the Great Smoky Mountain Curling Club. UT's club competes all over the nation.

"We get all kinds of weird looks when we go to tournaments they think well they're from down south and don't know nothing they're just a bunch of hillbillies," says senior Isaac Eubanks.

The Vols curling club has skyrocketed to the top of the rankings, "right now we're ranked third in the nation out of all the schools, so big momentum going into the spring semester with nationals coming up in two months," said Eubanks.

 

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