Curling is now the official sport of North Dakota

March 24, 2023

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFGO) – Gov. Doug Burgum signed Senate Bill 2229 on Thursday making curling the official sport of North Dakota.

Burgum was joined by Alaina Schmit, a sixth-grader from Horizon Middle School in Bismarck, who brought the idea forward and lobbied lawmakers to pass it. Bill sponsors, Sens. Sean Cleary of Bismarck, Judy Lee of West Fargo, and Scott Meyer of Grand Forks and Reps. Jason Dockter of Bismarck and Karen Rohr of Mandan were also on hand.

“We’re grateful to Alaina for having the courage to bring this idea to her local legislators. She really swept them off their feet,” Burgum said.

Burgum called curling a lifelong activity and the ultimate team sport that embodies what he loves about sports in North Dakota – honesty and fair play, respect for the rules and one’s opponent, and humility with good sportsmanship.

Sen. Cleary introduced the bill on behalf of Schmit, who – with friend and fellow Horizon sixth-grader Etta Knapp – made their case with a long list of facts about curling, including that fact that North Dakota has 11 curling clubs, the state’s first curling club was founded in 1901 in Drayton, the North Dakota State University curling team won the 2019 College Curling Championship, and that North Dakota has at least four members in the U.S. Curling Hall of Fame.

“Curling has a unique history in North Dakota and will make for a novel state sport. I’m grateful for my colleagues and advocates for their support of this bill,” Cleary said.

Schmit started curling when she was six-years-old.

“Curling is a good sport for hanging out with people, and it’s good exercise in the winter,” Schmit said. “Another great thing about curling is that it is a lifetime sport. Everyone can play young and old, a large number of people, a few people, and a whole family can play.”