UNO to host U.S. Olympic team trials for curling

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Joe Franco
SPORTS EDITOR

November is generally synonymous with cold weather, warm turkey and football. However, this upcoming November, Omaha will include one more major event: curling. No, not a hair-style fashion statement the night before homecoming. Curling, as in one of the most detailed and studied sports of the winter.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is continuing its legitimacy as being one of the top universities in the state by adding another résumé builder in hosting the highly-anticipated 2018 United States Olympic team trials for curling at it’s own Baxter Arena.

The Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 are rapidly approaching, and in search for the
most balanced and talented curling team the United States can represent, UNO’s Baxter Arena will host the trials Nov. 11-18.

Though many Nebraskans are used to the Olympic Swim Trials in the summer, these curling trials will be the first time the Omaha Sports Commission has hosted trials on the colder side of the year.

UNO instructor Donald Bowen gave his thoughts of the winter exposure Omaha will receive for such a high-caliber event.

“You don’t think of Omaha as a winter sports venue, so it’s nice to get that exposure,” Bowen said. “And especially curling. I think curling is awesome.”

The trials will be a big hit in the city of Omaha nonetheless, and should bring in a lot of traffic for ticket sales. USA Curling Chief Executive Officer Rick Patzke said in a statement to UNO that Omaha is a great location to jumpstart the hype for the Pyeongchang Games.

“With the opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Games barely a year away, the launch of ticket sales for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials will further stroke the Olympic fever already evident in curling around the USA,” Patzke said. “Omaha beckons, and we invite all sports fans to join us in the city that never coasts to cheer on the athletes who will be proudly wearing the stars are stripes in pursuit of Olympic glory a year from now.”

Indeed, Omaha will be hosting a highly patriotic moment in U.S. history in less than a year from now. Junior UNO student and public relations and advertising major Ryan McNeil also weighed in his thoughts on how this opportunity is a good pub-lic relations tactic for the sports program.

“I think it will make the university’s sports programs more legitimate,” Mcneil said. “Adding curling will give us that manly-man appeal that we so badly need.”

Tickets for the event are already on sale on Ticketmaster.com. The tickets range from a cheap $70 up to $100 for all eight sessions. If you’re feeling the need to treat yourself, VIP Logo Boxes, which can accommodate a group of 10-12, range from $1,250-$1,500 each for all eight days.

So, when November comes around this year and the temperature drops and most people will be stuffing their faces with warm turkey and mashed potatoes, the colleges in Nebraska will be very busy. The University of Nebraska at Lincoln will have its football, Creighton will be starting men’s basketball, and UNO will have Olympic Team Trials for Curling. Who’s going to win the ticket sales? Let the games begin.

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