Member Spotlight

Member Profile

  • Member:Michael Wenzel
  • Team:Denver Curling
  • Dragon Boating since:2015
  • Position:Captain
  • Quote:Hurry Hard!

Denver Curling
Curious about how a curling club found dragon boating, the Mile High Dragon Boat Race Club recently spoke with Michael Wenzel, captain of Denver Curling.
 

MHDRC:  So, tell me about your team.

MW: Most of the paddlers are from the curling team [Denver Curling Club].  We are racing on Sunday this year, in the 250m Flag-Catching event.  We have only 1 practice and mainly come to have fun at the festival.


MHDRC:  What drew your group to CDBF in the first place?

MW: Well, we learned about it through Jen Wen (Jen Nguyen).  She was the former Festival Director of CDBF so she knew all about it.  She also curls and that's where the connection comes in.


MHDRC: Do you like to compete or to just have fun at the races and the festival?

MW: We like to do both - to compete and to have fun.  Golden has a dedicated ice center and we have some members who compete nationally, so they are very serious.  In fact, some will use ice time from 10:00 PM - midnight.


MHDRC: How did you feel when you first started racing?

MW: It was pretty casual.  Jen said "You should come to race."  So we did and when we arrived we saw hard-core teams with all these black carbon fibre paddles, big tents set up and paddlers getting massages after a race!!!  I thought to myself, "I wonder if people feel this way when they come to the curling club and see us with all our gear!?"


MHDRC:  Hahaha, good point!  Do you find that dragon boating complements your curling fitness or not really?

MW: Oh, it definitely complements curling a lot!  We need a strong core and also a strong upper body for sweeping.  You get both through dragon boating.


MHDRC: How is your team organized?  You said you were captain "this year"?

MW: Yes, we found that being captain was a lot of work.  We like to compete and have fun, but there is a lot of paperwork and organizing, so we pass on the work from year-to-year.  We have a new captain annually.


MHDRC: Does that affect your race performance?

MW: We always have a game plan.  We have no official coach, but we have tribal knowledge that gets passed down.


MHDRC: I see. With this kind of fluctuation - changing coaches, do you think you'll return every year?

MW: Definitely!  We love seeing the other groups and being at the festival in general.  It's so much fun.  The food is good (like the coconut drinks), and the dragon dancers are great to watch.  Plus we've made our own banner that we'll be bringing every year.  It's our regular curling logo with a dragon coming over the mountain.  It looks really good!


MHDRC: Now that's commitment.  Glad to hear it!  How well have you done in the races with only 1 practice?

MW: In 2016, we only raced twice. The third race was cancelled due to weather.  We were happy we won the second race.  We got a trophy in 2017!!  We have the trophy displayed at the club.

[Ed Note: Denver Curling won First Place in the Flag Catcher A Division in 2017]


MHDRC: That's fantastic!  Is there anything else you'd like to add?

MW: We have "Curling Etiquette" where we wish "good curling" to the other teams.  It also means there is no insulting others and we don't cheer bad performance.  We found that CDBF has a similar ethic, so that fits our mindset and we are happy to add dragon boating as a summer complement to our winter passion.

Also, we invite everyone to come and try out curling!  Anyone can join a bonspiel to learn the sport and have fun!  There are several coming up.  Check out https://denvercurlingclub.com

MHDRC: That's great!  Thanks and good luck this year!