Wausau Pilot & Review

UPDATED: Hours after the Wausau Curling Club sent a news release announcing the U.S. Wheelchair Curling Championships, organizers say they will cancel or postpone the event due to COVID-19.

Wausau Pilot & Review will provide updates as future decisions are made. See our initial story, below.

Wausau will host some of the best wheelchair curlers in the world when the United States Curling Association Mixed Wheelchair Curling Championships take place at the Wausau Curling Center on Jan. 12 and 13.

Following that, the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Curling team will be at the Center for special training vs. local curling teams from Jan. 14 through Jan. 16.

Spectators are welcome and there is no charge to attend. Masks are recommended. The Wausau Curling Center is located at 1920 Curling Way, on Wausau’s southeast side.

“We are pleased to welcome these outstanding curlers to our ice,” said Randy Brandner, Wausau Curling Club board president. “We expect to see some excellent strategy and shot-making.”

The mixed competition will feature two curlers per team—one male and one female. Six teams are expected to compete.

The U.S. Paralympic team is skipped (captained) by Weston resident Matt Thums. The team finished fourth at the Wheelchair World Championships last October in Beijing, China. Their place in the final four automatically qualified them for the Paralympics, to be held in Beijing in March, following the Winter Olympics.

In addition to Thums, the team includes Dave Samsa from Green Bay, Steve Emts from Connecticut, Pam Wilson from Denver, and Batoyun Uranchimeg from the Twin Cities.

Coaching the team is Rusty Schneider, from Oxford.

Wheelchair curlers employ long push sticks to shoot the rocks down the ice. There is no “sweeping,” so the game depends on expert shot-making. Wheelchair curling rules require that one member of the opposite gender be on the ice at all times.