When Nic Ridder turned on the Winter Olympics in 2002 and saw curling, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of a sport which consists entirely of stones being slowly slid across an icy surface.

“It was something I wasn’t familiar with, it was really foreign to me,” Ridder said. The sweeping on the ice with curling was so otherworldly that I had to know more about it.”

For a while, Ridder’s curling fandom had to be kept to his television as opportunities to experience the sport were few and far between. However, curling began to grow as a sport and he finally got his chance when the United States Olympic Curling Trials came to Omaha in 2017.

Ridder and his wife Emily took an entire week off work to take in the whole event, and after enjoying it, decided to seek out curling opportunities for themselves.

“That’s when we found out about the local curling club and decided to try it for ourselves, and we’ve been doing it ever since,” Ridder said.

They joined the Aksarben Curling Club, which is a part of what Ridder said is a growing curling scene in Nebraska. In addition to the club, UNMC has curling availability and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has club curling as well.

Ridder’s team did well in last year’s Cornhusker State Games, finishing as silver medalists, but he and Emily have their sights on greater glory this year. They’ll be joined by Emily’s college friend, Melissa, and another friend from the curling club, Renee, to round out their four-person team.

And when they go for gold, they’ll be part of a budding rivalry, as one of the members of last year’s second-place team moved to an opposing curling team.

“There’ll be a little bit of teasing and trash talk, but not too much since curling is supposed to be a gentleman’s sport,” Ridder joked.

While he was once dumbfounded by the unfamiliar sport of curling, Ridder is all-in for the sport and he and his team are excited at the opportunity to compete in the Cornhusker State Games this summer.

Registration is currently open for the 2019 Cornhusker State Games. Featuring competition in 70 sports, participants can find more information and register online at our 2019 Sport Listing