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Welcome to

2011 October 11
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by KenPoklitar

Welcome to the new website! We’ve been working over the past few months to give the LSCC website a fresh look and add some new areas of content to the site.

Please let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions for enhancing the site further. Big thanks to Ken Poklitar and Cody Dempsey for their many hours getting this set up and transferring content to this site.

Open House Successful

2011 September 12
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by KenPoklitar

Our open house on September 11th was very successful. We had 2 sheets dedicated to the many people who showed up to learn our wonderful game of curling. Thanks to Pat and Landon who were the primary trainers for the new curlers. Also thanks to the others who also helped including Dave, Dennis and Christina and anyone else I missed.

We also had a few practice games on the other 2 sheets of ice.

Next up is Learn To Curl on September 18th.

See some pictures here!

Austin Curling Center in the News

2011 September 12
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by KenPoklitar

Upcoming Curling

2011 September 7
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by KenPoklitar

We are having an Open House ($5 per person) on September 11, 2011 (9:30am – 11:45am). We welcome new and old curlers!

We will have a Learn To Curl ($20 per person) session on September 18, 2011 (9:30am – 11:45am)

Our Fall 2011 session of curling begins on September 25.

Board Members

2011 August 28
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by KenPoklitar

Congratulations to our newly elected board members:

Wayne Garman – President
Rob Klien – Vice President

Dennis Dunn, Buck Krawczyk, Ken Poklitar, Pat Popovich, Michelle Richter, Landon Russell, Randy “Melvis” Sabbagh, Uly Suchil

Only 2 Months to Curling

2011 July 10
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by KenPoklitar

Hope everyone is having a great summer. Can you believe that our curling season ended almost 3 months ago??!! The club’s board has been hard at work planning for the new season.

The following are the board positions for the 2011 / 2012 season:

    • § Vice President – Rob Klein
    • § Treasurer – Landon Russell
    • § Secretary – Michelle Richter
    • § Membership – Randy Sabbagh
    • § Communications and Web Site –Buck Krawczyk
    • § Special Events – Uly Suchil
    • § Pro Shop – Michelle Richter & Pat Popovich
    • § Competition – Ken Poklitar


  • § V My thanks to the past year’s board members who did not seek or were not re-elected to the board at the May annual meeting. This includes Bill McBeth, Christina Gilsbach, Darlene Barnes, and Zac Grantham. The strength of this club is its volunteers, and your efforts were very much appreciated.

Plans are well underway for the new season. The preliminary schedule starts with an Open House on Sept. 11. If you have any friends or acquaintances interested in curling, this would be the opportunity for them to give curling a try. An education and practice session is planned for Sept. 18, and the first league games would be on Sept. 25. The Fall season will run through to Dec. 18, with the Winter season starting again on January 9 and running till April 1. Games will be at the same time as years past, Sundays 9:30AM to 11:45 AM, at the Chaparral Ice facility on Anderson Lane. Watch your email for membership signup and more details.

For those of you in summer curling withdrawal, the club is looking to hold a practice session. This is tentatively planned for Sunday, August 14 from 9:30AM to 11:45AM. This will be an open ice session, so you can practice or pickup games. Pat Popovich is coordinating the event. It will require a minimum of 25 persons, so watch your email for sign up information.

Probably the most exciting development for the club this season will be the construction and opening of the Austin Curling Center (ACC). Anita and Dennis are working hard on making their dream a reality. Their target for opening is the Spring of 2012.

Another event in the planning stage is the 2012 Texas Open Bonspiel (TOB). Our club has committed to host this event, and if plans come together, it will be first major event held at the ACC. Ken Poklitar has accepted the position of bonspiel chairman. He has compiled a detailed list of activities and ideas for the bonspiel. This is a major event for our club, and will require much time and effort from the membership. There will be many opportunities to volunteer and help out with the event. Watch your email for the organizational meeting.

As always, please contact me if you have questions, comments, suggestions, or criticisms. I welcome your input. First rocks in the new season are less than 2 months away!!!!!

Curling in 2011

2011 January 3
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by KenPoklitar

Hope everyone had a good time over the Christmas & New Years holidays.

The curling club’s Winter season will begin soon with the first games on January 16. If you have not already done so, please let Christina know if you will be curling. Payment of $220.00 is due by January 9. This can be sent either to club treasurer, Landon Russell, or payment can be made on the club’s web site.

On Sunday, January 9, we will be holding an education session. This will be a chance for everyone to improve their curling skills, and I encourage all to attend. There will be sessions ranging from a Learn to Curl, Intermediate curling training, a practice sheet and an open forum sheet. Dennis will also be holding a session on stick delivery.

The charge will be $20.00 per person, and will be at our regular time from 9:30AM to 11:45AM. Pat, Zac and Landon are coordinating this session, so feel free to email questions or suggestions to them.

I will be handling the open forum sheet. I do not have any specific topics to cover, but instead will answer questions on any curling topics you want to discuss. Whether it is delivery, sweeping, strategy or rules, ask whatever you want and I will try to answer or demonstrate.

To help prepare for this, please email me ( any topics or questions you would like to cover. This will give me a chance to research and print out some reference information that I can hand out.

As a reminder, the Texas Open Bonspiel will be held in Dallas from April 29 to May 1. Watch their web site ( ) for details. The entry form should be posted sometime early in the new year. Last year the bonspiel filled up, so get your entries in early.

On another note, we recently heard that one of the people involved in the founding of the Lone Star Curling Club, Alex Legault, passed away in a traffic accident recently. Although Alex has not been involved with the club over the past few years, his efforts during the early years of the club were very helpful to get our club going.

As always, feel free to email suggestions, questions or ideas. All the best in 2011 and see you on the ice!!

Reading the Ice

2010 October 12
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by KenPoklitar

As a curler who grew up playing on curling club ice, it was a learning experience to adjust to curling on arena ice. Nothing else can quite generate more ice slapping, looks of bewilderment and frustration as arena ice. It is quite common to hear comments such as “what the h*** happened to that shot ??!!” or other colorful collections of adjectives to describe the wild things arena ice does with our shots. As skips, we urge our team members to hit the broom, but it is quite another thing to know exactly where to put that broom. In this column, I will elaborate on some tips for skips to handle some of the unpredictable ice conditions we find playing on skating ice.

First of all, skips should never assume that the ice surface is level. Playing hockey does not wear down the ice evenly. The majority of hockey action is played down the center of the ice, so it tends to get worn down the center more than ice near the boards. Also, a Zamboni does not have the capacity to level the ice to the ideal that curlers want. This is why we have special curling devices to prepare club ice. Wet cuts or dry cuts, a Zamboni will leave hills and valleys all over the ice.

Secondly, the hypothesis that a rock with the correct turn will curl an average of 2 to 3 feet is just a theory when it comes to arena ice. Don’t assume the rocks will do this under arena conditions. Rock will fall back, stay straight, curl 6 feet as they slow down, swing back and forth and many other unexplainable things. This is a great leveler of competition, as arena ice can make experienced curlers look quite ordinary until they get the hang of arena ice.

As a skip, one of the key things to do is make sure you carefully watch the path of every shot, especially during the initial ends. I am continually amazed at how some skips seem to be more concerned with running out and sweeping the rocks, rather than with learning how the rock moves. Learn from both your shots and your opponent’s shots. Devise a system to memorize what the shots do in various paths and with various weights. I find that crouching down in line with the path of the rock as it comes down the ice gives me the best view of its movement.

This habit can become an advantage. I have found that after I was curling on arena ice, I became much better at reading the ice. With club ice, you can generally trust the ice, as rocks will usually follow the theoretical path. With arena ice, you have to watch every shot, because you will learn something almost every time. Last season, when I played at the Rotary Can-Am bonspiel in Peterborough, ON, we won some games that we had no business winning because I picked up things about the ice that my club ice opponents did not catch. I attribute this to the habit of closely watching arena ice, as it sure wasn’t due to my shot making.

Another thing you can do is to use alternating ice on draw shots as a method to check different parts of the ice. Never assume that both sides of the ice react in the same way. It is more likely that the left side of the ice reacts nothing like the right side of the ice, or the center of the ice for that matter. If there have been a number of inturn draws toward the center, call an outturn draw from the other side. It will give you a chance to gauge what the ice does from the other side. For a crucial shot, you don’t want to be guessing at what the ice does.

Another thing to watch for is the dreaded Zamboni tire track. Our ice operators at the Lone Star Curling Club like to resurface the ice by driving in circles from the boards in. This works fine for hockey ice, but it results in Zamboni lines running along the curling sheets. If you can see the tire tracks on your sheet, it will have a definite impact.
Zamboni tracks will cause a ridge and a run. The ridge will tend to cause rocks to either not curl over edge of the track, or to sit at the ridge until they slow down. If a shot gets onto the Zamboni track, it will tend to stay there. You can use these characteristics to your advantage, as long as you recognize what they will do.

Another odd characteristic to look for is the amazing finish. Your draw shot stays straight or falls back for 95% of the running distance, and then curls 6 feet in the last 10 feet. This is actually fairly common on arena ice. As the rock slows down, friction between the ice and the rock increases, causing the curl motion to have more effect. Combine this with a ridge or Zamboni track, and you have the makings of a dramatic hook. This is great if you want to come around guards. But keep in mind that the takeout weight rarely displays this characteristic. Heavy draws or hack weight are usually the only ways to get at a rock that follows this path.

Watch for dead spots on your sheet. This can be from spots where the Zamboni blade skipped up, where the pebble was missed, where water dripped from the ceiling or where the ice gophers decided to come up ( OK, that only happens in Saskatchewan ). Whatever the cause, this can cause a rock to stop dead, lose or change turns, or to dramatically slow down. Remember these spots, and avoid them when you call a shot. On the other hand, they can also be used as a permanent guard, if you can draw around them.

With arena ice, you can also get into the situation where some sheets, typically the ones closest to the boards, have such a fall that they only curl one way. In Pittsburgh, the ice fell from the boards toward the center. In Austin, the end sheets tend to fall toward the boards. Either way, it makes for difficult curling. I haven’t found any good method to handle these other than holding the broom around the blue line, and hope the rock stops in the house before it goes out of play. Working with the arena ice makers is a whole different topic, and one I know little about. Making curling ice always reminds me of some form of black magic.

For strategy, tricky spots on the ice can also be used to your advantage. If you can get one of your rocks to a tricky spot in the house, it can be as good as having two guards in front. You may have to use an angled tap back, hit & roll or some magic words to get it there, but once in place, it has always amazed me how some rinks waste so many shots trying to hit it. And remember if the roles are reversed, don’t waste several of your shots at an opponent’s rock at some spot in the ice that is next to impossible to get at.

Calling ice for arena curling is much more an art than a science. And because the ice can change with every Zamboni run, it is hard to spot any trends. However, through careful observation, and by adjusting your strategy, it is possible to become reasonably proficient at calling the correct ice for your shots.

Lone Star Curling in the News

2010 March 13
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by KenPoklitar

The Vancouver Olympics brought curling into the spotlight.  The Lone Star Curling Club was lucky to be on the receiving end of some of this fantastic media coverage.

Olympic Open House

2010 March 8
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by KenPoklitar

The Lone Star Curling Club hosted two Learn to Curl Open House sessions in honor of the Vancouver Olympic Games.  At our first open house on Feb. 28, the last day of the Olympics, we had 410 people take the ice for their first curling lessons.  Club members arrived by 8:30 a.m. to get ready for a 9:30 start.  By 9:00 the waiting area was completely full. By the start of our session at 9:30 the lines were literally out into the parking lot.  We had 10 hacks set up and we were taking 100 people at a time onto the ice for a quick 20 minute lesson.  Rumor has it approximately 100 people or so left because of the long lines.  It was a fantastic event, one surely not to be repeated again the following week.  Just to be on the safe side we advised interested curlers to please arrive early for the second open house on March 7.  Again, by 9:00 the line was out the door.  We broke the previous weeks headcount and got 452 people on the ice!  Our “Olympic Mini-League” filled up in record time.  We are thrilled to have introduced the fabulous sport of curling to hundreds of Austinites. If you are interested in learning to curl, please send an email to and we will get your name on the mailing list to receive updates about future learn to curl opportunities.

A HUGE thank you to all of our club members who helped make these events such a success, it would not have been possible without all of you!

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