Top Men’s and Women’s Teams From China, Japan, Switzerland, Canada and the U.S. Compete This Weekend in Blaine
U.S. Olympic Training Site hosts the U.S. Open, free viewing for the public
This weekend the U.S. Olympic Training Site for curling, Fogerty Arena and the Four Seasons Curling club, again hosts one of the top curling events in the world.
The ASHAM US Open of Curling is a three-game guarantee competition for a major cash prize ($20,000 U.S. for both the men and the women), and Order of Merit points on the world curling tour. These points are highly valued because they count toward the U.S. and Canadian Olympic Trials. This tournament provides one of the last chances for U.S. teams to accrue enough points to potentially advance to the World Championships.
China is sending a representative for both men’s and women’s curling in Team Rui Liu and Team Bingyu Wang respectively. Team Rui Liu represented China in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games (where in 2014 they placed fourth). In 2009 Bingyu Wang became the first non-North American or European skip to win a World Championship. Team Alina Paetz of Switzerland makes her debut appearance at this tournament. Paetz won a Gold medal in the Women’s Worlds Championships in 2015. There will be appearances from several top-tier Canadian teams including Team Sherry Middaugh. High performance teams from the U.S.A. Curling program include Team Craig Brown, Team Cory Christensen, Team Nina Roth, and Team Jamie Sinclair. National U.S. champions Team Brady Clark (Seattle) will be here, as well as hometown favorites Jessica Schultz (2006 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games), Team Cassie Potter (2006 Winter Olympic Games), Team Todd Birr (Four Seasons Curling Club), and Teams Mike Farbelow, Pete Fenson (Olympic Bronze medal in 2006), and Sean Murray.
All practices and games are open to the public and are free. Thurs. Dec. 29 hosts practices from 6 p.m. through 10 p.m. There will be additional team practices on Fri. Dec. 30 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Games start on Fri. at 2:00 p.m., 5:15 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31 will have start times of 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. There will be a New Year’s Eve party Sat. at 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., which is free and open to the public, with light appetizers at 10:00 p.m. and a champagne toast at midnight to ring in the new year. Sunday game times are 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. The semi-finals are Monday at 9:00 a.m.; finals are at noon.
The adjoining restaurant, Sticks & Stones, is a non-profit organization under 501c3 Fogerty Arena, and provides full viewing as it is directly offset from the ice. Sticks & Stones offers athlete-friendly options, as well as burgers, tacos, and gluten free and vegetarian menu items. Drink and food specials will be offered all weekend and the restaurant is open for breakfast at 8:00 a.m. on both Sat. and Sun.
Fogerty Arena is located at 9250 Lincoln St. NE in Blaine, MN. For questions contact Regan Birr at 720-470-8049 or ext. 18 at 763-780-3328, or email ReganBirr@fogertyarena.com. For more information visit www.fourseasonscurlingclub.com or www.facebook.com/USOpenofCurling.