BY TERRY KOLESAR | OCT. 22, 2013, 12 A.M. (ET)
Jerome Larson, 73, Rio Vista, Calif., is the 41st individual to be inducted into the United States Curling Association (USCA) Hall of Fame. Larson will be inducted as a "builder" of the sport during the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling in Fargo, N.D., next month.
Nominees can be nominated in three key areas: builder, curler and curler/builder. The USCA Hall of Fame defines a builder of the sport as an individual who has made a major contribution toward the promotion, development and advancement of curling in the United States. Larson's nomination was put forth to the USCA for consideration by the Mountain Pacific Curling Association (MoPac). His induction in the builder category was approved by the USCA Board of Directors at the recent fall board meeting in Minneapolis, Minn.
"I'm blown away by the honor and the thing that is going to be really fun for me is that I'm going to have my family around me," Larson said about the induction ceremony. "I'm proud of what I've done, and I hope that I'm not prideful, but the fact that I was involved in getting arena curling to be a respectful way of curling ... I like to think that I was a leader in that."
Larson stated that he feels pride in seeing many of his dreams for growth of the sport fulfilled and cherishes the innumerable curling friendships and experiences that the sport has allowed for him to be a part of.
A native of Fargo, Larson began curling while at Fargo Central High School. He earned his undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University in Fargo and his juris doctorate from the University of North Dakota School of Law. He worked as a law clerk for the North Dakota Supreme Court and practiced law in Minneapolis for two years before moving to California. Larson then worked for about 17 years in California, primarily as counsel for a title insurance company. He eventually left the practice of law and became a licensed commercial real estate appraiser and is now enjoying his retirement years.
Known by many as the "Johnny Appleseed" of curling for all of the clubs he has helped become established, Larson notes that seeing the sport grow has been his most important contribution. He has been a member of four curling clubs - Fargo-Moorhead (N.D.), St. Paul (Minn.), San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.), and Wine Country (Calif.).
Larson said being directly involved with the growth of curling, seeing the emergence of arena curling as a viable curling alternative, and culminating in being the first USCA vice president arising out of the arena curling segment of U.S. curling are among his most fulfilling curling accomplishments. Other highlights include seeing the development of the first Arena National Championships, first Club National Championships, and college curling becoming a USCA-sanctioned national championship.
Larson was instrumental in the founding of the California Oregon Curling Association in 1978, which eventually grew to be the Mountain Pacific Curling Association, which he also co-founded. Larson was one of the driving forces to bringing arena curling to the forefront of curling growth in the United States. When curling emerged as a TV sensation during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Larson, along with counterparts in the MoPac region, traveled with curling stones to areas asking to be introduced to the sport. The growth was so large that the MoPac region formed and Larson became the region's first representative to the USCA's Board of Directors. He has served on local, regional and national curling boards in a variety of roles for more than 35 years, including two terms on the USCA Board, which concluded with Larson serving as a vice president.
In addition to countless curling lessons as a Level II curling instructor and his leadership roles on various boards, Larson served as a statistician at two Olympic Games (2002, 2006) and several world and European championships. More recently, he has volunteered his photography talents to USA Curling at many national championship events. He also was instrumental in the creation of the USCA's Volunteer of the Year Program.
And Larson isn't finished yet. He said he still has many more curling dreams to fulfill.
The first inductee into the USCA Hall of Fame was named in 1984. Larson is the 41st individual (two teams also have been inducted) and first from California. To see the complete list of HOF members, go to http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Curling/About-Us/Inside-USA-Curling/Hall-of-Fame.