2023 MCA Arena Playdowns

From May 13-14, the MCA Arena Playdowns were hosted at ImOn Ice Arena by Cedar Rapids Curling Club. Four men’s teams and two women’s teams participated in the event. We want to thank Lon Peper for officiating the event, Kari Kozak for her event coordination support, and Phil Burian for coordinating the ice crew volunteers. Also, thank you to all the teams, ice volunteers, and spectators. Congratulations to the winners, Team Allison (Women’s Division) and Team Tesch (Men’s Division). Both teams will head to the 2023 USA Curling Arena National Championships in Eveleth, MN, from November 9-12, 2023

MCA Club Arena Winners:

Team Allison (St Louis Curling Club): Flannery Allison, Becky Reale, Marion Skillman, Ashley Alojipa

Team Tesch (Cedar Rapids Curling Club): Cale Tesch, Parker Abbot, Greg Schmitt, Stephen Spence


MCA Arena Playdown Runner-Ups:

Team Tamboli (Cedar Rapids Curling Club): Addie Tamboli, Emily Nelson, Lynn Benkusky, Beth Hinson

Team Allison (St Louis Curling Club): Michael Allison, Joseph VanArtsdalen, Caleb Bennett, Sam Pilla

Inaugural MCA Arena Bonspiel

The MCA Arena Bonspiel was established to create a fun, no-frill event for MCA regional arena curlers to compete against each other. The event will rotate between the arena clubs and be hosted simultaneously with the MCA Arena Playdowns, a new competitive national qualifier. Sponsored by the Midwest Curling Association, this event is offered at a low cost and allows curlers to socialize, curl, and watch some great games.

This year, we had three teams from Cedar Rapids Curling Club and St Louis Curling Club participate in this two-day, three-game guarantee event at ImOn Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids, IA. We look forward to welcoming more curlers and hopefully more regional arena clubs at the event in 2024!

1st Place:

2nd Place:

3rd Place:

2023 MCA Mixed Playdowns

From March 10-12, four teams participated in the 2023 MCA Mixed Playdowns at Chicago Curling Club. The event format was a double round-robin (double-elimination) format. Thanks to Will Hsiung who officiated this event; in addition, thank you to the ice crew, timing volunteers, teams, and spectators. Congratulations to Team Brundidge for winning the 2023 MCA Mixed Playdowns! They will represent the Midwest Curling Association at the 2023 USA Curling Mixed National Championships in Denver, CO from April 12-16, 2023.

Team Brundidge: Jed Brundidge, Bella Hagenbuch, Cameron Rittenour, Mae Hagenbuch

Team Cagann: Lorna Cagann, Phil Ledbetter, Brooke Borowiak, and Aaron Knowlton



Seeking Candidates for 2023-2024 Midwest Curling Association Board

The Midwest Curling Association is seeking applicants for several MCA Board Positions, including President, Vice President, Media & Communications Director. In addition, regional clubs are always looking for interested candidates for their MCA Representative position.

Volunteering for the Midwest Curling Association is a fantastic way to help grow curling in the region, contribute to region-wide events, and connect with a wonderful network of curlers. These positions all open in May 2023. Interested candidates need to send a message to midwestcurlingassociation@gmail.com by April 15, 2023

Job descriptions for all available MCA positions are below. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

2023 MCA Men’s and Women’s Club Playdowns

From February 3-5, the MCA Men’s and Women’s Club Playdowns were hosted at Windy City Curling. Six men’s teams and two women’s teams participated in the event. We want to extend our gratitude to Will Hsiung for officiating the event; in addition, thanks to all the teams, volunteer timers, and spectators. Congratulations to the winners, Team Rittger (Men’s Division) and Team Yaple (Women’s Division). Both teams will head to the 2023 USA Curling Club National Championship in Wausau, Wisconsin in March 2023.

MCA Club Playdown Winners:

Team Rittgers (Windy City Curling): Colin Rittgers, Keith Mandeville, Spencer Tuskowski, and Matthew Lewis

Team Yaple (Chicago Curling Club): Haley Yaple, Sara Gaum, Katherine Stewart, and Ellie Loughlin


MCA Club Playdown Runner-Ups:

Team Wright (Exmoor Curling): Jeff Wright, Steve Wright, Ken Brown, and Matt Brown

Team Collins (Chicago Curling Club): Elisabeth Collins, Kailey Meyer, Laurie Longee, and Ellen Dickson

2023 U18 Nationals – MCA Junior Teams

From January 12-15, the 2023 USA Curling U18 Nationals will be held at Rock Creek Curling in Colorado. This is a regionally-based, geographic championship that determines the top teams under the age of 18 years old. Team Hagenbuch (Windy City Curling) and Team Schallmo (Exmoor Country Club) represented the Midwest Curling Association.

Team Hagenbuch: Windy City Curling

Bella Hagenbuch, Rilee Kraft, Mae Hagenbuch, and Lauren Hein

Team Schallmo: Exmoor Country Club

Nicholas Schallmo, Joey Pieracci, Gideon Heltzer, and Tristian Knoll

2022 Arena Nationals – MCA Arena Teams

From November 3-6, 2022, one women’s team (Team Kozak from Cedar Rapids Curling) and one men’s team (Team Allison from St. Louis Curling Club) represented the Midwest Curling Association at the 2022 USA Curling Arena National Championships hosted by Curl Mesabi Curling Club.

Team Allison: St. Louis Curling Club

Dan Sovar, Joseph VanArtsdalen, Michael Allison, and Sam Pilla

Team Kozak: Cedar Rapids Curling

Kari Kozak, Emily Nelson, Anne York, and Lynn Benkusky

9th Annual Prairie State Challenge

The Prairie State Challenge was established in 2012 for regional curlers to compete against local teams during a fun weekend of comradery, gameplay, and socialization. Sponsored by the Midwest Curling Association, this open event is free to MCA members and provides curlers the chance to mingle with other teams in the Midwest region at the beginning of the curling season.

This year, 12 teams from four regional curling clubs participated in this two-day event hosted by Exmoor Country Club and Chicago Curling Club. Teams were randomly assigned into three pools where a round-robin commenced, then WCF criteria were used to rank teams and establish their position in our four-event finals. Games were 8-ends and teams were guaranteed 3 games.

We look forward to seeing more teams back for the bonspiel in 2023!

1st Event Winner: Exmoor Country Club

Jeff Wright, Russ Armstrong (not pictured), Steve Waters, Steve Wright

1st Event Runner-up: Chicago Curling Club

Tri Banh, Anthony Giannini, Jim Klus, Ryan Shaw

2nd Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

Adam Miller, Sara Gaum, Paul Conant, Kelly Zahn

2nd Event Runner-up: Exmoor Country Club

Russ Brown, Ken Brown, Matt Brown, John Vickery

3rd Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

Ryan Murphy, Aaron Horowitz, Steven Coberly, Melissa Dowling

3rd Event Runner-up: Exmoor Country Club

Sandy Stevenson, Robo Boyle, Steve Worth, Jack Manierre

4th Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

Kailey Meyer, Scott Meyer, Randy Choiniere, Jinnel Choiniere

4th Event Runner-up: Chicago Curling Club

Matt Peterson, Lis Collins, Eric Bertram, Bruce Stafford (not pictured)

2022-2023 MCA President’s Letter

Midwest Curling Association Member Clubs and Members:

Autumn is right around the corner, and I can almost hear the compressors whirring away to usher in the 2022-2023 curling season! That whirring mimics many of the conversations curlers had over this off-season about national, regional, and club-level issues. To cut through this noise, I would like to touch upon the MCA goals mentioned in my inaugural President’s letter last year and address some recent developments.  

Return to Safe Curling and Increased Number of Events: Last season, our clubs reported increased numbers and renewed interest in events. We anticipate a further increase this year. As always, the MCA offers our free, “no-frills” events to grow the sport of curling and increase camaraderie in our region. As all of our clubs are returning to normal operations, the responsibility of event hosting will also return.  MCA events will be split among clubs and follow our yearly rotational schedule to help our member clubs plan their seasons in advance. Please visit the 2022-2023 MCA Calendar to plan your next bonspiel.

Improve Member Club Support: As highlighted by recent events involving the GNCC region, a strong curling region is important to grow the sport of curling. In addition to the events mentioned above, the MCA advances our region and the sport of curling by:

  • Advocating for our regional clubs and members | USA Curling’s recent decisions involving U18 Nationals, the GNCC vote, and US Arena Nationals were poorly communicated to the MCA and its entire membership. I, along with other members of the MCA Board, have directly expressed our frustrations. As the regional association, we want it to be known that we expect:
    • Clear and transparent communication from USA Curling
    • Involvement in decisions that affect our region and our curlers
    • The actions and decisions of USA Curling benefit all types of clubs (paper, arena, and dedicated) and all levels of curlers, not just Olympic hopefuls
  • Rock rental | One of the biggest benefits of the MCA is our ability to purchase curling stones and rent them to new clubs at a reduced cost. Several of our clubs use this benefit and over the summer, we were contacted by Glenview Park District to help start a program at their ice arena. We hope we will be able to kickstart more clubs in our region to grow our region and sport.
  • Shared knowledge | The “spirit of curling” to share best practices for events, ice making, and club governance was never more evident than over the pandemic. We will continue to foster these connections to make curling better for everyone in and visiting our region.
  • Communicating regional events and successes | The MCA’s Website, Facebook Page, and Facebook Warm Room Page all experienced increased traffic and participation. We will continue to publicize not only MCA events and winners but any information provided to us from our member clubs. To us, club success is regional success and we want to hear from you.

Strengthen Our Region’s Curling Potential: As I stated last year, the Midwest is still filled with dedicated and passionate curlers and we want to harness that commitment and build toward a better Midwest curling community. Unfortunately, progress on most of these items was hindered.

  • Host a USAC Level I/II Officiating Clinic | Without these certified volunteers, our regional playdowns would not be possible. The number of officials in our region is in the single digits, therefore, the MCA believes a clinic is imperative. The MCA contacted USA Curling regarding these clinics all last season to no avail; however, we received more information this summer and plan to announce information about a Level I/II Officiating Clinic soon.
  • Host USAC Level I/II Instructor Clinic | We want to increase the number of certified instructors and, as a result, improve the Learn2Curl experience for new curlers. As part of our discussions with USA Curling, the MCA expressed a desire to have a yearly officiating and instructor clinic put into their trainer’s schedules. A successful clinic was hosted last year within our region, and we will continue to work with our member clubs to add these events to our regional calendar.
  • Providing resources and in-person timing instruction | Last year, our regional timing materials were updated, and many new volunteer timers were successfully trained at our numerous regional competitive events. The MCA will continue to work to grow our timer network and invest in the materials and equipment required to support these individuals.
  • Improving ice conditions at our clubs | We want all of our clubs to make great ice and for all curlers to enjoy it. In May, the USA Curling Ice Making Summit was announced for early June. The MCA notified all our clubs and committed to financially supporting the attendance of one ice tech per club. Two members from Windy City Curling attended. We aim to offer similar opportunities in the future, hopefully with more notice from USA Curling. Also, the MCA Board ice improvement sub-committee will continue to examine regional ice techs’ opportunities.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your MCA Rep or myself. 

Good Curling,

Sara Gaum

President, Midwest Curling Association