The Bemidji Curling Club will host a challenge between the United States and Brazil on Jan. 27-29 for the final North American berth at the 2012 World Men's Curling Championship in Basel, Switzerland.
Brazil issued its third challenge against the U.S. for the berth and will get the opportunity to earn it in a best-of-five competition spread over three day. The Brazilians have previously challenged the U.S. for the men's world berths in 2009 and 2010 but have thus far been unsuccessful. The U.S. team for the challenge will be the defending U.S. champions, led by 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Pete Fenson of Bemidji.
The men's and women's World Curling Championships field features 12 teams, including two teams representing the Americas Zone, encompassing both North and South America. Since the inception of the world championships, the only two World Curling Federation member associations to represent the Americas have been Canada and the United States.
Canada has qualified for the 2012 Worlds because it ranked higher at the completion of the 2011 Worlds (Canada finished first to USA's 10th place showing). Brazil, a WCF member since 1998, is challenging the U.S. for the second Americas berth in Basel.
All five Brazilian nationals are currently training in Quebec. They'll face Fenson and his team of Shawn Rojeski, Joe Polo and Ryan Brunt.
January is a busy month for U.S. teams trying to qualify for the 2012 Nationals. As a result of this and the timing of the challenge, the defending champions will earn a bye into the 2012 National Championships in February in Philadelphia.