Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children.
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The Cardinals' fastpitch softball team opened the spring with 4 wins and then dropped 10 straight. The season ended with a 15-0 loss to Minnetonka for a final record of 6-13. After 10 years with the fast-pitch program, this was the first season as head coach for Shannon Cayler, a mother of 3 boys and a communications teacher at the middle school. So what happened after the fast and furious 4-0 start?
WILLMAR -- In the 13th spring, they waited. The Law Day/Memorial 5k from Flags of Honor Park has most often been blessed with fine weather but on the 13th anniversary it rained. So, some 200 hundred entrants waited, some in their vehicles, others in the beach shelter at Robbins Island. At 9:30 the Saturday morning rain still fell but everyone had grown tired of standing (or sitting) and it was announced the run would start no later than 9:45, or 45 minutes after the scheduled start. As the race got underway from the park along Highway 71/23, the rain began to back off and by 10 a.m.
A long time ago (but not far away), Manny Ronneberg and Rob Anderson were high school athletes. It was the 1960s. Think Beatles, Vietnam, assassinations, Civil Rights marches, men on the moon. Ronneberg graduated from Dawson High School in 1962. In football he was a 145-pound two-way end and played on the Blackjacks varsity baseball team four years. Soon after he graduated the school consolidated with the district a little to its southeast, the Boyd Rams. Anderson lettered 12 times at Renville. On May 2, 1967, he was named this newspaper's top prep athlete.
The Cardinals track and field team is something like a rock band. Willmar is their base but the performances are all on the road, excepting the Optimist concert, err, meet. So, to get a glimpse of this successful program one needs to attend a rehearsal. Monday, as it turned out was, was photo day under a blue sky. For the team photo, a low riser was hauled onto the backstretch. Steven Lottman, a professional photographer with a studio at Eagle Lake, had his hands full.
WILLMAR -- The Warriors conquered the long and winding road back to the national tournament on Friday. Ridgewater College (34-10) climbed out of the elimination bracket, belting Anoka-Ramsey 19-0 and then whipping Rochester Community and Technical College twice, 23-1 and 3-2, to gain a seat at the NJCAA Division III table for the sixth time in eight years. The championship win came in dramatic fashion at mid-afternoon under overcast skies after playing two games in full sun. Trailing 2-0 after five innings, the Warriors scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to knot the score. Then in th
Dean Stier and younger sister Brooke were 4 and 2 years old when their little sister Megan was born. Megan was a sickly child weighing only 11 pounds at 6 months. Complicating a weak heart, she fought a respiratory infection her first winter. Her parents, Mark and Lynn, spent a month sharing time at the infant's beside at Rice Hospital. Neighbors, friends, relatives and co-workers helped the Stiers through those difficult days, noted in this column 14 years ago this spring.
Cardinal Pride held its annual Red and White meeting Monday evening on the upper floor of the Pioneerland Library. I was able to attend, perhaps on your behalf, between ballgames and telephone calls. I took a seat next to Allan Backlund, Class of 1946 and 2004 Hall of Fame inductee. Next to Allan sat Vonnie Nelson (WHS '53) and the widow of Roy Nelson (WHS '54), honored by the HOF in the Class of '05. Dr. Mary Amon, Cardinal Pride board president, read from a handout listing 30 donations to Willmar schools since 2009.
The three area stock car tracks -- at Willmar on Thursday, Montevideo on Friday and Madison, now moving to Saturday -- belong to the Wissota sanctioning organization which touches on six states and two Canadian provinces. Experienced drivers will race these and other regional tracks two and even three evenings per week throughout the summer. The Grove Creek Raceway offers drag racing every other weekend. As one of only a few such facilities in the Upper Midwest, it pulls souped-up cars, roadsters, trucks, motorcycles, bikes and even snowmobiles from Minnesota and surrounding states.
On a Saturday morning in early October, 2009, a shotgun went off when a duck hunter stumbled in the field. Up ahead a few yards, the blast hit Brady Damhof in his back left shoulder and upper arm. His bone and muscle full of shot, a medevac helicopter landed and carried the 13-year-old from the field near Svea to North Memorial Medical Center on the northwest edge of Minneapolis in Robbinsdale. Devastating mishaps are life-changing events. But through eight operations, seven months of physical therapy, heartache, pain and bouts of gloom Brady persevered.
WILLMAR -- What would the Willmar/Litchfield Boys Golf Invitational be without weather? Just another standardized test of club control and course management! But throw in rain and cold and a little wind and it's also an exam on character and wardrobe. Eagle Creek Golf Club was not a fun place to be Saturday morning.