World championship and Youth Olympic medals. A double threat in two disciplines. Popular Instagram workout videos. The first U.S. men’s skip to win a Grand Slam title. A line of cool team merchandise. Two wall calendar appearances. U.S. $17,000 raised for charity – and counting.
All of this by age 25.
Not bad for Korey Dropkin. And since the global pandemic has temporarily paused his plans for global curling domination, he’s jumped right back into another busy charity project.
“Yeah, we’re doing the calendar again,” said the curler from Duluth, Minn. “This time it’s with my mixed doubles partner.
“It’s helpful to have a teammate with me on this one. It’s inspiring and she’s helping to push sales on her side.”
Last season, Dropkin set a U.S. record with over $17,000 in sales from his appearance in the 2020 Men of Curling Calendar, a Canadian-led program where athletes strike a pose and their selected charitable cause gets a portion of the proceeds. The 2020 project raised over U.S. $100,000 for charities in total.
Dropkin, a landscaper, doffed his clothes and grabbed his shears to raise funds for the Sports Matter Foundation, and the amount raised put some of his fellow Canadian, Scottish and Japanese models to shame. Dropkin assembled a volunteer sales force in 12 different curling areas of the country and also ran a bonspiel at his home club to make his modelling debut a success.
It was little wonder that organizers contacted him again for the 2021 edition, which has been rebranded as the 2021 Curling Cares Fundraising Calendar due to the pandemic. In addition to men and women, the variety of models from four countries are broken into individuals, couples, siblings, mixed doubles pairs, retired veterans – there’s even a recreation-level curler in the mix.
Dropkin and mixed doubles teammate Sarah Anderson have been meeting up every couple of weeks to autograph calendars and ship them to buyers who contact them via social media. Dropkin and Anderson have also created a mini-network of five volunteers who are selling calendars – safely – in other U.S. curling communities.
“It’s been tougher this year for sure,” said Dropkin. “With the curling clubs closing down, it’s almost impossible to sell the product in person. Last year I sold a lot going to local events at different clubs, and the project organizers would ship boxes to me while my men’s team was on tour.
“It’s tricky but everyone is managing expectations, and we still want to raise what we can for great causes, because they’re really struggling through COVID. We can’t forget about those who are in the greatest need.”
This year Dropkin and Anderson have chosen to support the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which provides active lifestyle and athletic competition opportunities to people with physical challenges.
Online sales are the main purchase vehicle, with proceeds being split among the 14 different charities involved.
A second American mixed doubles squad also appears in the 2021 calendar, although they compete at the world level under another nation’s flag. T.J. and Susana Cole curl at the Denver Curling Center in East Pleasant View, Colorado but moonlight as Nigeria’s first curling team to ever win a game at the world championship level (2019).
Dropkin and Anderson have won two U.S. mixed doubles titles. The World Curling Federation has the pair currently ranked fourth in the world, five spots ahead of the highest-ranked Canadian duo and 21 places ahead of the next American team.
Other curling stars participating in the calendar include rival mixed doubles pairing Brett Gallant and Jocelyn Peterman, four-time world champion skip Glenn Howard, two-time world champion skip Jeff Stoughton and Scottish superstar Eve Muirhead.