A sweep of improvements, from carpeting to paint to a new entryway, will greet curlers dropping into the Two Harbors Curling Club this year.
The upgrades come as the longtime North Shore club prepares to host the U.S. Junior National Championships in January for the first time in club history. The nine-day event is expected to bring hundreds of people from around the country to watch the nation’s best curlers age 21 and younger compete.
Club President Kay Libby said excitement has been running high for the club’s 150 members — and in the curling community in general — since the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the men’s team’s gold medal finish.
“It’s been kind of an exciting time for curling in the U.S.,” she said. “Most of the guys on the Olympic team have curled in Two Harbors before.”
The club got its start in 1963 and built its own facility a year later. In 1970, Two Harbors won a state championship. After a fire gutted the club’s curling hall in 1991, they built a new one next to the city’s municipal golf course clubhouse.
Two Harbors hosts four bonspiels, or curling tournaments, every year. In addition to hosting youth and adult leagues, the club hosts about 100 Silver Bay and Two Harbors public school students every year.
Libby said the facility badly needed a cleanup when the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board approved a grant this year to help the club pay for new carpeting that cost $10,000. Volunteers helped paint the place during a three-day stretch in October. That’s when the new entryway was built as well.
The club had a short window to make the improvements: the facility is used year-round by people from Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Finland, Duluth and Superior, and doesn’t sit empty for long.
“To own and maintain our facility can be a labor of love with volunteering by our members,” said Libby. “We are very grateful for grant funding to provide a shot in arm to complete some larger projects.”
Libby said club members hope to finish up with some improved lighting, and new league champion plaques. The Junior Nationals tournament will be the first national event the club has hosted in a while, she said.
“We’re pretty excited to have that,” she said.