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Published March 16 2010

Curling Nationals coming to Fargo

The premier curling event in the United States is coming to Fargo.

The Urban Plains Center will host the 2011 Curling National Championships Feb. 9-19.

Fargo beat out Mankato, Minn., Fairbanks, Alaska, and New Haven, Conn., for the right to host the top 10 men’s and women’s curling teams in the United States.

“There is a lot of tradition of curling in this area,” said Fargo-Moorhead Curling Club member Amelia Pirkl, who was on the committee to bring the event to Fargo. “So it’s great to have it here. It’s definitely really exciting.”

Pirkl said Fargo has never hosted the national championships.

Men’s and women’s teams from across the country will compete throughout the year for one of four qualifying spots to the national tournament, Pirkl said.

Pirkl said the rest of the 10-team field will be filled later at “challenge round” tournaments.

The national tournament will likely include former Olympians, and could include future U.S. representatives for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“We are pleased to bring the premier national curling championship to a community with such a strong curling tradition as well as a welcoming spirit,” USA Curling chief operating officer Rick Patzke said in a news release.

The men’s and women’s winners of the national championships will compete at the World Curling Championships.

Women’s worlds are scheduled for March 2011 in Denmark. The men’s worlds will be held in April 2011 in Canada.

Pirkl said a few teams from the F-M Curling Club will likely attempt to advance to nationals by competing at qualifying tournaments.

“It will be great to increase the visibility of the sport in the area,” Pirkl said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562