Bemidji Curling Club creates Continuing a Legacy campaign to raise needed funds

The club is now in the public phase of its Continuing a Legacy fundraising campaign and is seeking the town’s help to reach its next goal.

Joel Johannsen stretches out as he releases his stone on Tuesday at the Bemidji Curling Club. (Jordan Shearer | Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji's Joel Johannsen stretches out as he releases his stone at the Bemidji Curling Club in 2018.
Pioneer file photo
We are part of The Trust Project.

BEMIDJI -- The Curling Capital of the USA is asking for help from its community.

The Bemidji Curling Club has stood as a fixture since 1935, and the club is now working toward the future with its Continuing a Legacy fundraising campaign.

“The goal of this campaign is to keep the Bemidji curling legacy alive in our community,” secretary and marketing manager Jordan Stearns said.

The club recently received a $175,000 grant, with an additional $75,000 matching grant, to jump start the acquisition of a new ice plant and make improvements to the facility. The club is now in the public phase of its fundraising and is seeking the town’s help to reach its next goal.

“The support of our community and membership is crucial,” Stearns said. “We are a member-funded club (and) we've done a great job of managing our space and resources over the years, but just like everything else, things need attention and repairs over the years.”


A new ice plant and more

Bemidji Curling Club.JPG
Bemidji Curling Club
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

In spring 2022, the club’s old ice plant -- which is used to make ice and keep it ice -- reached the average lifespan of 25 years and went down. The problems weren’t repairable, and the plant needed replacing.

“We knew as a board we needed to act fast and act thoroughly,” Stearns said.

The club has vetted several ice plant companies, concepts and options. In that time, they’ve also assessed other necessary building improvements, repairs and upgrades that are overdue. Stearns said a more efficient ice plant, stronger insulation of the building and improved energy consumption will improve the quality of the club throughout the season.

But, as with anything, such upgrades cost money.

“We are committed to continuing to give Bemidji a curling club and experience that we can all be proud of,” Stearns said. “We hope the community sees that and wants to help us continue our mission.”

The Continuing a Legacy campaign covers funds for four areas: ice plant replacement ($210,000), interior painting, carpeting and IT ($76,000), building exterior repairs ($67,000), and pandemic-related debt ($42,000). The total amount for the campaign is $395,000. The fundraising committee hopes to meet the dollar amount by the end of October.

To learn more about the campaign or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit Depending on the amount given, donors may also be recognized with a gift respective to the tier they fall under.

Additionally, the club is hosting a fish fry fundraiser on Sept. 30 and is open to the public. The club bar opens at 4 p.m., while a walleye dinner will be served from 5-8 p.m.


Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
What to read next
The Pioneer wants to hear from you: Who is worthy of being named the Pioneer Sportsperson of the Year? The winner could be anyone: An athlete, a coach, an administrator or any other figure who’s made a mark within the Bemidji area’s sports landscape this year. Criteria considered are successes within sports, impact in the community and the lasting significance of accomplishments or influence.