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An unexpected sport in the heart of Oklahoma

How Santa Fe’s own is taking her childhood sport to the ice
Nicole Merrifield curling.
Nicole Merrifield
Nicole Merrifield curling.

When Nicole Merrifield and her husband moved to Oklahoma from Minnesota in 2011, she only required one thing: Oklahoma have a place where she could curl.

Curling is a sport that originated in Scotland, in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice toward a target area, similar to shuffleboard. 

For Merrifield, curling has been a big part of her life. Growing up in Minnesota, she and her family would curl together during holidays or social events.

“The state of Minnesota probably has over 100 curling clubs, and you could travel around and do bonspiels, which are tournaments,” Merrifield said.

Merrifield’s family has passed down the curling tradition for a long time. Her uncle was also an alternate for the 1998 Olympics. 

“My uncle, he was always like my idol,” Merrifield said. “He gave my oldest baby curling shoes when she was born. They were the cutest!”

In Oklahoma, there are only a few curling leagues. For the Merrifields, moving to Edmond made sense. It’s safe, has a good school system and a curling club that practices weekly at Arctic Edge. Merrifield’s group rents out the ice for Sundays 4 and 6 o’clock shifts. In Minnesota, there was dedicated curling ice, but here, the ice is shared. Even though curling is relatively easy, the cuts from skates on the ice make curling difficult.

“Anyone can curl on true dedicated curling ice, but curling down on the ice we have here? That takes real skill,” Merrifield said.

Although she believes her time curling competitively is over, Merrifield finds joy in discussing the sport with others and teaching people how to do it.

“I think I want the biggest takeaway from this is that anyone can do it. All ages, you know.” 

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  • D

    DennisDec 7, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    Wonderful insight on this staff member.