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'Curling Night in America' wraps up taping, but results will have to wait

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Event wraps up, but results will have to wait

USA's Vicky Persinger, left, and Monica Walker, right, have brooms at the ready as Jamie Sinclair throws a stone during a match with Scotland on Thursday at Baxter Arena. Results were not released for that match or any of the others contended in Omaha Thursday through Saturday, as they will be shown on NBC Sports Network’s “Curling Night in America” beginning in October.

Good luck and good curling.

That was the call to arms — in this case, to brooms and stones — the past three nights for curlers from four countries participating in “Curling Night in America” at Baxter Arena.

The three-day, made-for-TV event concluded Saturday. But you’re not going to see any results in this story, on the United States Curling Association’s website or on any NBC Sports property until Oct. 10.

That’s the night Episode 1 of the eight-part mini-series airs at 10:30 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network.

Those who attended the three sessions Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the only ones who know the results. Until the last couple of years, the USCA published these results before the broadcast.

Enough feedback from curling enthusiasts led to the change.

A new episode will air every Tuesday through Nov. 7 on NBCSN. The network then will broadcast the eight-night Olympic Team Trials, an event that runs Nov. 11 through 18 at Baxter Arena.

The “Curling Night in America” series will resume Nov. 21 for the final three episodes. The featured match Saturday night at Baxter — the mixed doubles dual between the U.S. and Scotland — may not air until Dec. 5.

That’s a long time to keep a secret. It’s also right before the mixed doubles Olympic Trials that run Dec. 13 through 17 at Fogerty Arena in Blaine, Minnesota.

The November Trials in Omaha will determine the U.S. participants for the 2018 Winter Olympics Feb. 9 through 25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Wes Hall, president and chief executive officer of the Omaha Sports Commission, said an estimated 7,300 attended the nine sessions of Curling Night in America. The biggest crowds were for the 7 p.m. sessions, for which Hall said roughly 1,300 people attended each night.

When the sessions air, viewers will enjoy the overhead camera shots from the Baxter Arena rafters that showed the house — the target participants were aiming for at each end of the ice — with the stones coming in for a visit.

This was the first time “Curling Night in America” took place in an arena. The previous three have been conducted in smaller ice rinks with fans watching from ice level behind glass.

USCA officials gave high marks to the entire event, especially to the arena and volunteers. One USCA staff member said having the competition in an arena was a “step up for the sport.”

This competition also served as a dry run for the U.S. Trials, as did the Swimvitational that preceded the 2008 and 2012 Swimming Trials at CenturyLink Center.

Hall said Saturday night that close to 2,000 all-session tickets have been sold for the Olympic Trials.

Some of those fans also got a preliminary round of pre-event partying that could be duplicated at the Trials. A group of approximately 50 people from a local accounting firm was tailgating in one of the Baxter parking lots.

When USCA officials found out about the tailgate, they took the five members of the U.S. women’s team to the party for an impromptu meet-and-greet.

For more details, wait until Oct. 10.

Steve covers swimming, softball, track and field, the Omaha Lancers and more for The World-Herald.

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