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How the Waltham Curling Club grew into an Illinois icon that inspires Olympic dreams

TRIUMPH, Ill. - If you blink, you might miss it.

Triumph, Illinois, is a town of about 100 people. It spans three blocks with a church, a post office, a closed up bar and its century-old curling club.

The Waltham Curling Club stands tall in Triumph as the oldest curling club in the state of Illinois.

Alan Wilson is the oldest living member of the club.

"I think I'm the sixth generation," Alan Wilson said. "My dad's grandfather was one of the original members."

Wilson helped build the club's present building in 1940.

"The reason it landed in triumph is probably the very reason it should not landed in triumph," Wilson said. "The water table here is very, very high. All you have to do to have a well in Triumph is drill a hole in the ground and put a spigot on it."

Over the club's 140-year history, it has welcomed curlers from all over the world.

In its present day, it has become a home for the sisters Bella and Mae Hagenbuch. At the ages of seven and nine, the Hagenbuchs fell in love with curling.

"My favorite part of the game i meeting new people," Bella said. "I have so many new friends from around the world. To be able to do what I love and meet new people is my favorite part of the game."

"The people here, it's so much different," Mae said. "A lot of different ages and so much friendship."

The sisters from Utica, Illinois, now spend hours each week practicing curling.

Triumph might be a tiny town, but these girls play much bigger.

"This past year we won the U.S. National Mixed Championship and qualified for world through that," Bella said. "Outside of that, all around the U.S. East Coast, West Coast."

"It's taken me so many places," Mae said. "Arizona, across the country, the furthest so far is Abderdeen, Scotland."

"I really hope I can go to the Olympics one day," Mae said.

The two sisters can already teach the sport to anyone who wants to give it a try.

"The whole point of curling is to try and get as many of your rocks as you can to the close to the center of the house, which is the target," Bella said. "Sweeping is going to help the rock move farther and curl less."

On any given day, you'll see players, young and old, gathering in Triumph to play the game.

Over the generations, it's the one thing that's remained the same.