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West Central Broncos tackle Kris Biederstedt (No. 72) holds off his Twins City Rhinos’ adversary on the opening drive of the game June 29 at New London. Ben Sletta is the quarterback with fullback Jarrett McAllister. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

Biederstedt still going strong at 52

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sports Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

By Darcy Martin

For the Tribune

Kris Biederstedt is young at heart and truly defines the meaning of perseverance.

At 52, most people wouldn’t think of finding joy knocking pads on the gridiron. But the tale of the West Central Broncos lineman is very unique.

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Kris attended school in Willmar. As a fifth-grader, he looked up to his brother-in-law, who played high school football for the Raymond Dragons. Kris knew he would grow to play the game.

Indeed, he did.

He started playing in the seventh grade, and being undersized for his age, Kris started lifting weights in the dirt-walled basement of the farm house where he lived. His equipment at that time consisted of a 110-pound weight set and a wooden bench press his father made for him.

Kris played through his senior year for the Willmar Cardinals in Fall 1978 and he graduated from Willmar High School in May 1979.

Weighing 160 pounds soaking wet, Kris thought it would be the end of his football career.

In the years after high school, Kris continued weight training. He shifted his focus to power lifting and body building.

Kris started competing in both power lifting and body building, placing first in many lifting events and doing well in body building events.

His love of football still was deep within his soul.

In 2007, Kris learned about semi-pro football. He was running a business in Willmar and was asked to sponsor a newly acquired team from Alexandria. The team was named the Willmar Mustangs. Kris happily said yes. And he watched the games in 2007 and new he had a decision to make.

Because of his involvement in power lifting and body building, Kris had grown from 160 pounds to a solid 265. It was his strength and new image that convinced him to once again throw on the pads.

Kris played for the Mustangs in 2008 and 2009. The team ceased operations in 2009 but Kris wanted to continue playing and like the opportunities available in semi-pro football.

Kris helped build a new team, the West Central Rhinos, which now are the Twin Cities Rhinos. He helped name the team and pick its color scheme and logo. Kris played for the Rhinos in 2010 and 2011 under head coach Willie Holmes. After 2011, Kris parted ways with the Rhinos.

In 2012, Kris joined the Brainerd Lumberjacks and after the season contemplated retiring from the game he loves so much. But then he discovered that the West Central Broncos, a Willmar-based team, were forming to play in the Midwest Premier Football League.

Joining the Broncos would bring him back to his high school playing roots. Steve Peppin owns the team, which is coached by Holmes.

Kris became a wonderful addition to the Broncos’ family, giving the team many years of experience both as a player and because of his involvement in other semi-pro operations. He’s helped the MPFL grow into a moving force in Minnesota semi-pro football.

Kris’ perseverance, passion and dedication to the game, the team and its players is an inspiration.

After six seasons and playing in two championship games — and hoping for a third this season — Kris will be retiring from football. Or will he?

“Personal challenge,” Kris said of what motivates him to keep playing the sport he loves.

“It doesn’t matter your age, it’s the will, passion and burning desire that is inside a person,” Kris said. “You can accomplish so much more than you think. And those who set their minds to it can and will succeed. I also play for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has given me this ability at this age. And it’s to Him that I give all honor and glory.”  

EDITOR’S NOTE: The No. 4-seeded Broncos (5-4) will host the No. 5 Midwest Nightmare (4-4) at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Pederson Field in New London in the opening round of the league playoffs.

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