Vol. 19, No. 28; Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mar 15, 2018 | Parker's Midweek Update | 0 comments


“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.
— Stephen Hawking


Class ‘A’ boys at Rapid City March 15-17:
Upper bracket:
Sioux Falls Christian vs. Red Cloud.
Crow Creek vs. Tea Area.
Lower bracket:
Madison vs. Pine Ridge.
Sioux Valley vs. Dakota Valley.

Class ‘B’ boys at Aberdeen March 15-17:
Upper bracket:
Bridgewater-Emery vs. Lower Brule.
Clark-Willow Lake vs. Canistota.
Lower bracket:
Sully Buttes vs. Timber Lake.
White River vs. Langford Area.

Class ‘AA’ girls at Sioux Falls March 15-17:
Upper bracket:
Aberdeen Central vs. Rapid City Central.
Sioux Falls O’Gorman vs. Brandon Valley.
Lower bracket:
Rapid City Stevens vs. Harrisburg.
Sioux Falls Washington vs. Sioux Falls Lincoln.

Class ‘AA’ boys at Sioux Falls March 15-17:
Upper bracket:
Rapid City Stevens vs. Sioux Falls O’Gorman.
Harrisburg vs. Sioux Falls Washington.
Lower bracket:
Sioux Falls Lincoln vs. Yankton.
Rapid City Central vs. Douglas.

NCAA Division I men
West Region upper bracket:
#12 South Dakota State vs. #5 Ohio State, 3 p.m. Thursday on TNT (at Boise).
#4 Gonzaga vs. #13 North Carolina-Greensboro, 1:30 p.m. Thursday on TNT.
#1 Xavier vs. Texas Southern, 6:20 p.m. Friday on TBS.
#8 Missouri vs. #9 Florida State, 8:50 p.m. Friday on TBS.
(Thursday winners play Saturday; Friday winners play Sunday)

NCAA Division I women
Spokane Region upper bracket:
#1 Notre Dame vs. #16 Cal State-Northridge, 4 p.m. Friday.
#8 South Dakota State vs. #9 Villanova, 6:30 p.m. Friday on ESPN2 (at South Bend, Ind.).
#5 DePaul vs. #13 Oklahoma, 11 a.m. Friday.
#4 Texas A&M vs. #13 Drake, 1:30 p.m. Friday.

WNIT women
Upper quadrant of the left bracket:
South Dakota vs. Houston (7 p.m. Thursday at Vermillion)
Colorado State vs. Northern Illinois, Thursday.
Michigan State vs. Cincinnati, Thursday.
Toledo vs. Wright State, Friday.
(Second round between Saturday and Tuesday; third round March 21-23; quarterfinals March 24-28; semifinals, March 25-29; championship, March 31; all games at on-campus sites)

NCAA Division II men Elite 8 at Sanford Pentagon Tuesday:
Upper bracket:
West Texas A&M vs. LeMoyne (N.Y.), noon.
Ferris State (Mich.) vs. Barry (Fla.), 2:30 p.m.
Lower bracket:
Queens (N.C.) vs. California Baptist, 6 p.m.
Northern State (S.D.) vs. East Stroudsburg (Pa.), 8:30 p.m.
(Semifinals Thursday, March 22; championship game Saturday, March 24)

NCAA Division II women Elite 8 at Sanford Pentagon Monday:
Upper bracket:
Lubbock Christian (Texas) vs. Central Missouri, noon.
Carson-Newman (Tenn.) vs. Union (Tenn.), 2:30 p.m.
Lower bracket:
Ashland (Ohio) vs. Montana State-Billings, 6 p.m.
Stonehill (Mass.) vs. Indiana (Pa.), 8:30 p.m.
(Semifinals Wednesday; championship game Friday, March 23)


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes, then come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?


Spring sports opening dates:
Track—March 24 @ SDSU indoor meet.
Girls golf—April 12 @ Harrisburg tournament.
Boys tennis—April 3 @ home triangular.

Boys basketball: Governor senior Peyton Zabel was named to the Eastern South Dakota Conference’s all-conference basketball team. Earlier in the week Peyton also was recognized as All-American for football.

Girls basketball: Emily Mikkelsen, a junior this year, this week was named to the all-conference basketball team of the Eastern South Dakota Conference.

Wrestling: Senior Will Turman was named Wrestler of the Year by the South Dakota Wrestling Coaches Association. He will be honored at the state SDWCA youth wrestling tournament in Sioux Falls on March 25.

Football: Michael Lusk, Easton Swartz and Peyton Zabel of the state champion Governors team have been named to the Blue team that will play in the South Dakota all-star game at the DakotaDome on June 9.


“Whether they marched or chose not to march or took part in the planned conversations or spontaneous ones; whether they reached out to classmates or legislators or social media, it matters only that so many of them made thoughtful choices to do something. It is an awesome thing when a generation seeks to find its voice in the democratic process. We would do well to stop talking and listen right now with hearts and minds.”
— Beth O’Toole


Boys basketball: On the Western Great Plains Conference’s all-conference basketball team, Brady Hoftiezer was selected for the second team and Cale Meiners for the third team.

Football: Stanley County’s Tom O’Boyle will be one of the assistant coaches of the Red team that will play in the South Dakota all-star game at the DakotaDome on June 9.


Girls basketball: The Chargers completed a 23-3 season with a sixth-place finish at the state tournament in Aberdeen, after a 19-1 regular season. In Thursday’s quarterfinal against Ethan the biggest spread throughout the game was four points either way, and Ethan survived, 37-36. Lauren Wittler and Marinda Archer scored 14 points each, but Ethan held SB’s leading scorer, Rachel Guthmiller, without a point. In the consolation semifinals, with the score tied and :03.5 left, Guthmiller took a rebound the length of the court, was fouled as she drove for a layup and sank a free throw with :00.3 left to beat Avon, 41-40. The Chargers had rallied from a 31-26 deficit after three quarters. Guthmiller had 25 points, 11 rebounds, a block and a steal while the rest of the team accounted for the other 16 points. SBHS shot only 22 % from the field but made 13 of 21 free throws. In the fifth-place game Warner beat the Chargers, 54-44, as Guthmiller, who was named to the all-tournament team, scored 18, Wittler 11 and Archer 10. A second quarter in which Warner outscored SBHS 20-9 proved to be the difference. A 50-35 loss to Warner on its home court was the only loss the Chargers sustained during the regular season.

Girls basketball note: The fact that Sully Buttes and Ethan played at the state tournament is no surprise—this was the fourth straight year that the two schools’ girls teams had played each other at the state tourney. In 2015 SB lost to Ethan in the finals, 31-28. In 2016 SB beat Ethan in the finals, 33-25. Last year SB won in the semifinals, 37-35, and this year Ethan beat SB in the quarterfinals, 37-36. That’s a total of 14 points’ difference in four games. This was the seventh straight year that the Sully Buttes girls team qualified for the state tournament and the 13th time in the last 15 seasons. Over that stretch the Charger teams have been state champions four times, runners-up twice, third place twice and consolation champs three times. Another regular opponent of SBHS is Warner. The Charger girls teams lost to Warner in the semifinals in both 2013 and 2014, and Warner went on to win state both times. Then SB and Warner played each other this year in the fifth-place game
with Warner winning again.

Football: Jacob Howard and Devan Kleven of the Chargers have been selected to play on the Blue team in the South Dakota all-star game at the DakotaDome on June 9.


“I’ll have to telegraph him again,” Tom said remorsefully.


4 days: NCAA Division II women’s basketball national tournament, Sioux Falls (March 19, 21, 23).
5 days: NCAA Division II men’s basketball national tournament, Sioux Falls (March 20, 22, 24).
6 days: Riggs High musicians at large-group regional contest (March 21).
7 days: Buchanan Elementary spring concert (March 22).
8 days: NCAA Division I men’s hockey West Regional, Sioux Falls (March 23-24).
9 days: All-State Band concert, Rapid City (March 24).
11 days: Kennedy Elementary spring concert (March 26).
12 days: Jefferson Elementary spring concert (March 27).
14 days: Baseball opening day (March 29).
15 days: NCAA Division I women’s basketball Final Four, Columbus (March 30, April 1).
16 days: NCAA Division I men’s basketball Final Four, San Antonio (March 31, April 2).
17 days: Easter Sunday (April 1).
17 days: “Jesus Christ, Superstar” live in concert, NBC-TV (April 1).
21 days: NCAA Division I men’s hockey Frozen Four, St. Paul (April 5,7).
22 days: Pierre high school baseball season openers (April 6).
30 days: Stanley County High prom (April 14).
36 days: Pierre Legion Relays (April 20).
44 days: All-State jazz band, Aberdeen (April 28).
49 days: Pierre Educational Foundation’s Evening of Excellence (May 3).
63 days: State boys tennis tournament, Rapid City (May 17-19).
65 days: High school baseball regional tournament (May 19).
67 days: Voter registration deadline for June 5 primary and local elections (May 21).
70 days: NCAA Division Ii men’s and women’s national track and field championships, Sioux Falls (May 24-26).
71 days: State track meets, Rapid City (May 25-26).
72 days: Pierre Trappers home opener (May 26).
73 days: High school baseball state tournament, Sioux Falls (May 27).
81 days: State ‘B’ boys/girls golf tournaments, Watertown (June 4-5).
81 days: State girls golf tournaments, ‘A’ Dell Rapids, ‘AA’ Aberdeen (June 4-5).
82 days: Primary and local elections (June 5).
84 days: South Dakota Shakespeare Festival, Vermillion (June 7-10).
87 days: Tony awards, CBS-TV (June 10).
91 days: Men’s soccer World Cup (June 14-July 15).
92 days: Unveiling of new Trail of Governors statues (June 15).
93 days: College World Series, Omaha (June 16-27).
98 days: Capital City Children’s Chorus 25th anniversary reunion, Drifters (June 21).
99 days: Oahe Days (June 22-24).
99 days: Riggs High Class of ’98 reunion (June 22-24).
106 days: Bass Anglers Sportsman’s Society Elite Series fishing tournament (June 29-July 2).


“How to Write Big Books” by Warren Peace
— Literary Wordplay


Dakota Wesleyan women: Can you say “national champs”? After winning their first-round game last week, the Tigers swept through four more opponents to win the NAIA national tournament in Sioux City. In the second round DWU ousted Southern Oregon, 76-61, with Kynedi Cheeseman scoring 22 and Amber Bray 19. In the quarterfinals Saturday it was a 78-64 win over Southeastern (Fla.). Ashley Bray scored 26 and Cheeseman 20. In the Monday semifinals where three of the four teams were from the Great Plains Athletic Conference, DWU took down St. Xavier, 81-66. Cheeseman scored 27, Ashley Bray 15 and Kylie Osthus 14. In Tuesday’s national title game DWU went from a 26-19 lead on a 14-0 run to a 40-19 halftime edge and never looked back in destroying Concordia (Neb.), 82-59. Cheeseman, the tournament MVP, scored 26 and Ashley Bray 21. DWU finishes its title season with a 32-6 record.

Northern men: The Wolves had to go to Missouri to do it, but they won the Central Region title and advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite 8 at the Sanford Pentagon next week. NSU beat Washburn (Kan.) in the quarterfinals, 91-75. Gabe King scored 20, Darin Peterka 18, Carter Evans 18, D.J. Pollard 13 and Logan Doyle 10. NSU shot 68.6% from the field, including 59% in three-pointers. In the semifinals NSU defeated St. Cloud State, 68-61, going on a 12-6 run in the last four minutes. Doyle scored 14, Pollard 12, Evans 11 and King 10. In the championship game NSU beat fellow NSIC team Minnesota State-Mankato, 90-83, earning its first Elite 8 trip in 20 years. NSU sank 10 of 12 free throws in the last minute as the Mavericks resorted to a foul-and-hope-they-defense. From the field NSU shot 58.5%. Ian Smith scored 22, Doyle 21 and Pollard 19 as NSU improved to 34-3 for the year so far.

Black Hills State women (Remi Wientjes, Racquel Wientjes): In their first game at the South Central Regional in Lubbock, Texas, BHSU was eliminated by Angelo State of Texas, 87-75. Julia Seamans led BHSU with 18 points. Remi went 3-of-5 and 4-of-5 for 10 points with five rebounds and two assists. Racquel saw action for four minutes. The Yellowjackets’ final record was 24-8.

Dakota Wesleyan men: The Tigers won their opener at the NAIA national tournament in Sioux Falls by 84-67 over Governors State of Illinois. Ty Hoglund led DWU with 25 points and nine rebounds. In the second round DWU was eliminated by College of Idaho, 62-60. Jason Spicer led the Tigers with 28 points, and Hoglund scored 13. DWU’s final record is 23-11.

Northern women: The Wolves won their Central Region quarterfinal over Arkansas Tech, 76-65. MIranda Ristau scored 25 and Jill Conrad 20. In a classic semifinal against Augustana, Northern led by seven with 1:54 left, but the Vikings forced overtime and won over NSU, 90-86. Conrad had 17 points, nine boards and five assists; Ristau 15 points and Brianne Kusler 15 points. NSU finishes the season at 26-6. The senior tandem of Ristau, Conrad, Alexis Tappe, Gabby Leimer, Brynn Flakus and Haley Froelich helped the Wolves to five straight regional tournaments, two NSIC tournament titles, three NSIC North titles and one overall regular-season title.

Augustana women (Katie Bourk): Hosting the Central Region tournament in their on-campus gym, the Vikings got to within one game of the national tournament at the Sanford Pentagon. In the quarterfinals #1 seed Augie defeated Lindenwood, 75-41, led by Logan O’Farrell’s 21 points and Paige Peterson’s 17. In the semifinals Augustana won a classic overtime game over Northern, 90-86. Lynsey Prosser scored 21, and four others were in double figures. But in the championship game Monday, the Vikings fell into a 17-2 deficit right at the start and were never in the game against Central Missouri, losing 81-42. Allie Koehn with only eight points was Augie’s high scorer. The Vikings shot 24% from the field and were outrebounded 45-29. The Augustana season ends with a 29-4 record, the most wins ever in school history.

South Dakota women (Chloe Lamb, Ciara Duffy): As regular-season and unbeaten champions of the Summit League regular season, the Coyote women were assured of a spot in the WNIT tournament. USD will be home against the University of Houston at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday) in the first round. The game will be on Midco Sports Network. The winner of tonight’s game plays Colorado State or Western Illinois in the next round.

Tennessee women (Caleb Currier): The Lady Vols (24-7) for whom Caleb is a manager earned a #3 seed in their region of the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee will play #14 seed Liberty on their home floor in Knoxville at 1:30 p.m. Friday. That winner will play Oregon State or Western Kentucky on Sunday for a chance to advance to the Lexington, Ky., regional the following weekend.

South Dakota men: The Coyotes’ season ended with a 26-9 record when they lost at home in the opening round of the CBI tournament last night to North Texas, 90-77. The Mean Green advances to the next round with a 16-17 record. Matt Mooney had his first career double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. North Texas scored 51 second-half points to pull away, then stifled a late USD rally with final-minute free throws. The USD careers end for seniors Nick Fuller, Joshua Doss, Carlton Hurst and Austin Sparks.


An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.


Northern Michigan women (Karissa Guthrie): The Wildcats opened their spring season near Tampa, Fla., as their Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools challenged teams from the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. NMU placed second of six teams, defeating Tiffin, Trevecca Nazarene, Ferris State and Walsh and losing to Grand Valley State. Karissa placed 13th with a 162 score. A highlight of the girls’ trip to Florida was attending the PGA Tour event, watching Tiger Woods play and being photographed with Jordan Spieth. Next meet on the NMU schedule will be March 24-25 at the Perry Park, Ky., Spring Fling.

South Dakota women (Katie Bartlett): The Coyotes placed sixth among 16 teams at a tournament in Farmer Branch, Texas. Katie tied for 28th place with a scorecard of 80-78-74=236. USD’s best was Abby Dufrane, tying for fifth at 227. USD next plays March 24-25 at Northern Arizona’s Red Rock Invitational in Sedona.


A: “Have you heard of Murphy’s Law?”
B: “Yeah.”
A: “What is it?”
B: “If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.”
A: “Right. Have you heard of Cole’s Law?”
B: “No. What is it?”
A: “Thinly sliced cabbage.”
— The Humor Train


Mary (Jack Wollman): The Marauders’ outdoor season opens at Black Hills State’s meet March 23-24.

South Dakota Mines (Theron Singleton): The outdoor season for the Hardrockers starts this weekend at CU’s meet in Boulder, Colo.

Black Hills State (Kelsey Van Den Hemel, Allan McDonnell): The outdoor season’s opening meet is at home March 23-24 at the BHSU Spring Open.

Liberty (Cortney Dowling): The Flames open their outdoor season this weekend at Charleston, S.C.

South Dakota: At the NCAA national indoor championships at Texas A&M, pole vaulter Chris Nilsen placed second with a best jump of 18’4 1/2″. He had vaulted 19’1/4″ earlier this season. The winner, Hussain Alhizam of Kansas, won at 18’8 1/4″. Women’s pole vaulter Helen Falda of USD placed 14th at 13’5 3/4″. Shanice Cannigan placed 15th in the pentathlon. The Coyotes’ outdoor season opens this Friday at the Baldy Castillo meet in Tempe, Ariz.

South Dakota State (Riley Sears, Max Reinke, Rachel Propst): The Jackrabbits’ outdoor season begins Friday and Saturday at the Tulsa duals.


If you really think that the environment is less important then the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.
— Dr. Guy McPherson


Augustana (Lane Lettau, Jebben Keyes): Aero Amo finished his career with his second straight All-America designation after placing seventh in the 184-pound division at the NCAA Division II national championships. His record this season was 17-4, and the Rapid City Central alumnus finished his Augie career with a 130-31 record and two All-America honors. The other Viking at the national tournament, Lukas Poloncic, was eliminated in the consolation round, and the sophomore finished his year at 19-17.

Northern: The Wolves’ qualifier for the national tournament in Cedar Rapids, Blake Perryman, placed third at 165 pounds and earned All-America status. His senior-year record was 25-4.

South Dakota State: The NCAA national tournament begins today and runs through Saturday in Cleveland. Seven Jackrabbits are there, including #1 seed Seth Gross, Nate Rotert, David Kocer, Luke Zilverberg, Martin Mueller, Connor Brown and Henry Pohlmeyer.


Blessed are the weird people—poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters and troubadours—for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.
— Jacob Nordby


Division I men’s update:
— Western Michigan: Lost best-of-3 series to Minnesota-Duluth, 5-0 and 2-0.
— Omaha: Lost best-of-3 series to North Dakota, 4-0 and 4-3 in overtime.
— Denver: Won best-of-3 series vs. Colorado College, 0-2, 3-2 and 6-1.
— St. Cloud State: Won best-of-3 series vs. Miami, 5-2, 2-3 in overtime and 4-3.
— North Dakota: Won best-of-3 series vs. Omaha, 4-0 and 4-3 in overtime.
— Miami: Lost best-of-3 series to St. Cloud State, 2-5, 3-2 in overtime and 3-4.
— Minnesota-Duluth: Won best-of-3 series vs. Western Michigan, 5-0 and 20.
— Colorado College: Lost best-of-3 series to Denver, 2-0, 2-3 and 1-6.
— Minnesota State: Lost best-of-3 series to Michigan Tech, 2-1, 2-4, 1-2 in overtime.

WCHA championship game (Sunday at Marquette):
Michigan Tech @ Northern Michigan (winner gets automatic bid into NCAA tournament).

NCHC Frozen Four (Friday and Saturday at St. Paul on CBS Sports Network):
— St. Cloud State (24-7-6) vs. North Dakota (16-12-10), 4 p.m. Friday.
— Denver (20-9-8) vs. Minnesota-Duluth (21-14-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday.
— Third-place game, 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
— Championship game, 7:30 p.m. Saturday (winner gets automatic bid into NCAA tournament).

Nebraska men (Derek Burke): The Husker club team is 0-2 in pool play at their national ACHA tournament after losses to Georgia, 5-1, and Farmingdale State in overtime, 6-5. Nebraska plays Oakland today to wrap up pool play.


“Your dinner” vs. “you’re dinner.”
One leaves you nourished. The other leaves you dead.
Correct grammar saves lives.
— SomEEcards


South Dakota State (Landon Badger, Quinn Reimers): The Jackrabbits lost their last five games last week and are now at 2-14. In an 11-7 loss at Air Force, Quinn pitched two innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs, striking out one and hitting two batters. SDSU lost all four games at Northern Colorado, 3-2 in 11 innings, 5-4, 8-2 and 11-7. Neither Pierre athlete played in those games. SDSU opens Summit League play at Oral Roberts with three this weekend, then plays at Creighton Tuesday.

Northern (Spencer Sarringar): The Wolves are 5-4 after finishing their spring-break week in Tucson. NSU lost to Northwestern (Iowa), 10-4; beat Waldorf, 15-3; split with Concordia (Neb.), winning 6-4 and losing 14-11; and split with Concordia-St. Paul, winning 5-2 and losing 2-0. Spencer did not play in those Arizona games. NSU opens NSIC play with two doubleheaders at Augustana this weekend.

Minnesota (Nolan Burchill): The Gophers beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 5-4; lost to Creighton 7-3 and 7-3; beat Creighton, 15-1, and topped George Washington, 12-5. Now 12-6, Minnesota played at Texas-Arlington yesterday, then moves down the road to TCU for a three-game weekend series.


From Josh Radnor, actor who plays Lou Mazzuchelli, who takes over the drama program at Stanton High on NBC-TV’s “Rise”: “I do think that the theater programs are relegated to second-class status. When people start thinking about budget cuts, they cut arts programs first, which is the very last thing they should cut. They should quadruple the arts budgets because that’s what creates complicated, compassionate human beings.”


Thursday, March 15:
Ward Judson, Arlene DeVany, Allison Klucas, Cassie (Rausch) Stoeser, Lance Spears, Tavis Weidenbach, Kasey (Anderson) Cappellano, Justin Elrod, Mariah Heiss, Loren Thompson.
— 4th anniversary, Andy/Rachel Lampy.

Friday, March 16:
Leah Ries, Jennifer (Brink) Anderson, Deb Mortenson, Ava Bauck, Avery Askew, Patrick Burger.

Saturday, March 17:
Jack Aadland, Peggy Stout, Melissa Brock, Jackson Jennings, Bill Markley, Chad Cooper, Chris Derry, Nick Burke, Joe Gormley, Jesse Krell. We fondly remember Jon Olinger on his birthday.

Sunday, March 18:
Travis Benbow, Kendall Light, Jane Brehe, John Palmer, Madeleine LIndberg, Daniel Mayer, Nickolas Rabern, Ryker Schumacher, Asher Yackley, Jamey Howard, Jamie Karber.

Monday, March 19:
Hadley Bryant, Brenda Badger, Donald Tassler, Heather Forney, Mary Welsh, Craig Long, Betty Garrett, Layndon Dewell, Darlene Neiles, Stacy (Hull) Cottrell, Sarah Yackley-Ploeger.
— 35th anniversary, Chuck/Dawnita Forelll.

Tuesday, March 20:
Jessica (Wood) Steele, Beth (Cruse) Dokken, Scott Jones, Jayde Englund, Rachel Beck, Debby Wagner, Samantha (Lytle) Irvine, Ben Johnson, Misty Burton, Max Huber.

Wednesday, March 21:
Loni McQuistion, Ben Gilmore, Mark Hardwick, Gerald Johnson, Diana Vogel, Jacob Tschetter, Grant Wosick, River Fischer, Linda Knox, Kara (Knadle) Schumacher, Ben Brown, Bentley Frost, Wanda Meyer, Matthew Heintz.
— 3rd anniversary, Zach/Ashley Parsons.
— 20th anniversary, Dan/Lora (Den Ouden) Moore.

Thursday, March 22:
Travis Fitzke, Olivia Smith, Eric Gednalske, Sharla McCaskell, Betty Eddy, Dane Dodson, Serena Norman, Nicole Ogan, Wendy Birhanzel, Leo Schmidt, George Ford, Nellie Holsten, Josephine Karim, Oaklie Cruse.


A passenger in a taxi heading to the airport leaned over to ask the driver a question and gently tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over a curb and stopped inches short of a large plate-glass window.

For a few minutes everything was silent in the cab. Then the shaking driver said, “Are you O.K.? I’m so sorry, but you scared the daylights out of me.”

The badly shaken passenger apologized to her driver. “I didn’t realize a mere tap on the shoulder would startle someone so badly,” she said.

The driver replied, “No, no. I’m the one who is sorry. It’s entirely my fault. Today is my very first day driving a cab. I’ve been driving a hearse for 25 years.”


Gillette Wild (Coleman Varty): The Wild lost to Yellowstone, 13-4, Friday, ending their season with a record of 21 wins, 21 losses, three overtime losses and two shootout losses.

Rapid City Rush: Colorado swept the Rush in a weekend series, 4-3 in a shootout, 2-1 and 6-1. Rapid City was home vs. Allen last night, stays home against Wichita Friday and Saturday and goes to Idaho next Wednesday.

Sioux Falls Stampede: The Stampede beat Sioux City, 7-2. On Saturday they won at home over Chicago, 5-1, in front of a sellout crowd of 10,678. The Herd then lost to Lincoln, 5-2. Sioux Falls goes to Des Moines Friday and to Sioux City Saturday.

Minnesota Wild: After a 5-2 win over Vancouver, the Wild slumped in a 4-1 loss to Edmonton and a 5-1 loss to Colorado to tighten up the playoff race again. Minnesota plays at Las Vegas Friday (9:30 FSN), at Arizona Saturday (8:00 FSN) and at home Monday against Los Angeles (7:00 NBCSN).

Oahe Capitals: The boys varsity earned fifth-place consolation championship honors at the state tournament at the Expo Center in Fort Pierre. Rushmore won the tournament with an overtime win over Sioux Falls. In the Caps’ quarterfinal game Friday, they lost to Huron 2-1 Spencer Wedin scored an unassisted goal in the second period to cut the deficit to 2-1, but they couldn’t get it tied up. Tristan Fuerst made 15 saves. Oahe had 39 shots on goal. In the consolation semifinals the Caps swamped Sioux Center, 7-2. Wedin scored twice, and Jacob Molseed, Clay Ambach, Carsten Mueller, Jackson Lake and Riggs Sanchez each lit the lamp twice. Fuerst had 20 saves. Oahe earned the consolation title with a 6-2 win over Watertown in a game in which the Lakers had one player ejected and another who forced a successful Caps penalty shot. The latter was one of two goals by Mueller. His two goals, one by Ambach and one by Wedin gave the Caps a 4-0 lead in the first period. Sanchez scored for a 5-2 lead, and Wedin scored again to finish the scoring. Fuerst made 24 saves. Spencer Wedin, who is only a sophomore, was named a first-team All-State player, and Talon Griese was named to the All-State second team.

Television note: The Caps’ consolation title win over Watertown will be rebroadcast on Oahe TV at 6 p.m. tonight (Thursday) and again at 8 p.m.


Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
— Camille Pissaro


Pierre Trappers: The latest addition to the roster for this first season is sophomore pitcher/outfielder Niko Piazza of Scottsdale Community College in his hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Live telecasts this week:
Thursday: Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 3:05 p.m., MLBN.
Friday: Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh, 12:05 p.m., MLBN.
Friday: Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox, 3:05 p.m., MLBN.
Saturday: New York Yankees vs. Detroit, 12:05 p.m., MLBN.
Saturday: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago White Sox, 3:05 p.m., MLBN.
Saturday: Oakland vs. San Francisco, 6:05 p.m., MLBN.
Sunday: Minnesota vs. Philadelphia, 12:05 p.m., FSN and MLBN.
Sunday: Texas vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, 3:05 p.m., MLBN.
Monday: New York Mets vs. Houston, 12:05 p.m., MLBN.
Monday: Chicago White Sox vs. Arizona, 3:05 p.m., MLBN.
Monday: Colorado vs. Texas, 8:05 p.m., MLBN.
Tuesday: Toronto vs. Philadelphia, 12:05 p.m., MLBN.
Tuesday: Texas and Chicago White Sox, 3:05 p.m., MLBN.
Wednesday: Houston vs. Washington, 12:05 p.m., ESPN2.
Wednesday: Oakland vs. Milwaukee, 2:05 p.m., MLBN.

Colorado Rockies:
Thursday: Los Angeles Angels, 2:10 p.m. MDT.
Friday: Los Angeles Angels, 2:10 p.m.
Saturday: Milwaukee, 2:05 p.m.
Sunday: San Francisco, 2:10 p.m.
Monday: Texas, 7:05 p.m., MLBN.
Tuesday: Milwaukee, 2:05 p.m.

Minnesota Twins:
Thursday: Tampa Bay, 12:05 p.m.
Friday: Tampa Bay, 12:05 p.m., and Boston, 5:05 p.m.
Saturday: Pittsburgh, 12:05 p.m.
Sunday: Philadelphia, 12:05 p.m., FSN and MLBN.
Monday: Pittsburgh, 12:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Pittsburgh, 5:05 p.m., FSN.

Chicago Cubs:
Thursday: Arizona, 3:05 p.m.
Friday: Chicago White Sox, 3:05 p.m., MLBN.
Saturday: Cleveland, 3:05 and 6:05 p.m.
Sunday: Cleveland, 3:05 p.m., and Kansas City, 3:05 p.m.
Monday: Cincinnati, 8:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Texas, 3:05 p.m.


Two times a week we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food and companionship. She goes on Tuesdays. I go on Fridays.


Toyama Grouses (Sam Willard): The Grouses are now 17-25 after two losses to Osaka. In a 99-85 loss Sam didn’t start and was 0-for-2 in two-pointers and 1-of-2 in three-pointers for three points with four rebounds and two assists. Back as a starter in a 92-82 loss, Sam went 4-of-4 in twos, 1-of-7 in threes and 2-of-3 in free throws for 13 points with 13 rebounds, two steals and a block. Toyama plays two this weekend vs. Hokkaido (21-19).

Minnesota Timberwolves: After a 117-109 loss to Boston, the Wolves won over Golden State, 109-103, and Washington, 116-111. Minnesota goes to San Antonio Saturday (7:30 FSN+), then returns home to face Houston Sunday (6:00 FSN) and the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday (7:00 FSN).

Sioux Falls Skyforce: The Skyforce lost to Austin, 113-94; beat Salt Lake City, 138-127, and lost last night to Memphis, 140-112. The team is home Saturday vs. Austin and on the road to Iowa Tuesday.


PGA Champions Tour (Tom Byrum): At last weekend’s Tour event at Newport Beach, Calif., Tom earned a paycheck of $33,600, bringing his money earnings for the new year to $40,130. He had rounds of 68, 71 and 69 for a 5-under-par 208, tying for 12th place but only six shots behind the winner, Vijay Singh, who was at 11-under 202. The next Champions Tour stop is at Biloxi, Miss., March 23-25 in the Rapiscan Systems Classic.


Minnesota United FC: The Loons evened their MLS season record to 1-1 with a 2-1 win at Orlando Saturday. Minnesota next plays at Chicago at 1 p.m. Saturday on Fox Sports North.


The LIbrary of Congress contains approximately 838 miles of book shelves, long enough to stretch from Houston to Chicago.


Sioux Falls Storm: After losing their season opener at Arizona, the Storm won their home opener Monday over Cedar Rapids, 70-33. Sioux Falls next plays at Iowa at 3:05 p.m. Sunday.


April 7: Scott Pavlisick/Tonya Reed.
April 14: Kai Hanson/Kayla Saxe.
April 28: Chris Pope/Morgan Peterson.
May 19: Prince Harry/Meghan Markle.
June 2: Ethan Fife/Heather Mangan.
June 2: Cole Cruse/Kadence Feininger.
June 16: Matt Blaseg/Taryn Wolf.
June 16: Brandon Vockrodt/Kayla Nuese.
June 29: Jack Markel/Eileen Leong.
July 7: Matt Tetzlaff/Korie Lebeda.
July 14: Shawn Hlavacek/Rebekah Hartmann.
Aug. 11: Steve Long/Cassie Amundson.
Aug. 18: Jason Noyes/Micki DeCurtins.
Sept. 29: Tyler Arbach/Rachel Hartmann.
Oct. 6: Rodd Bauck/Megan Vockrodt.
Oct. 6: Cale Pell/Sarah Lihs.


I wonder what people who spell “U” instead of “you” do with all of their spare time.


Thursday-Friday: tutti fruitti.
Saturday-Sunday: lime.
Monday-Tuesday: pineapple.
Wednesday-Thursday: coffee.


— If you live somewhere along the Appalachian Trail up and down the eastern states, be on the lookout for Jamie Zepp. The long-time sportscaster for Black Hills Fox, KEVN-TV, has left his position there and starting next Monday will be going on a seven-month hike along the trail.

— Just as the measure which would have allowed independents and all voters to vote in primary elections was turned down by the secretary of state’s office (not enough valid signatures, etc.), so now the measure which would have taken legislative redistricting out of the hands of the legislature and given it to a commission composed of members of both parties has been kept off the ballot (not enough valid signatures). Of course we assume the majority party in charge of everything in this state can be trusted to do what is best for the state rather than the party’s interests.

— Sioux Falls area readers, be aware that, while there are tons of things to do and shows to see in your area, Sioux Empire Community Theatre gives local people the chance to perform and participate. They are going through a financial crisis right now and are reorganizing to get back on their feet. However, their April show will go on as scheduled. Hopefully you can buy a ticket or two and see “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Show dates are April 12-13-14-15 and 19-20-21-22. Check out their Facebook page for details.


Two blondes living in Oklahoma were sitting on a bench talking. One said to the other, “Which do you think is farther away—Florida or the moon?”

The other blonde said, “Helllllloooooo! Can you see Florida?”


It’s show time at the Grand Opera House for a show not on the regular Pierre Players season schedule. The Little Players’ children’s production of “Accidental Friends” will be onstage at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. General admission tickets sell for only $5 per person. The cast includes Cael Fulton, Ashlyn Pitlick, Harper Reichling and Ciara Tipton. The story of the play: A 12-year-old boy recovering from a head injury sits alone in his hospital room, wondering why his popular friends have not come to see him. But a geeky classmates does come, and together they learn about self-confidence, loyalty and personal integrity.

Services for Roger Weaver, 73, Pierre, were held Saturday at Resurrection Lutheran Church. He passed away March 6 at Avera Maryhouse where he had lived since 2002. Roger developed polio at the age of 6 and spent time at the Crippled Children’s Hospital and School in Sioux Falls as a young boy. He graduated from high school at Miller in 1964. He attended Goodwill Industries vo-tech school in Omaha. He came to Pierre in 1966. He worked at the St. Mary’s Hospital laundry, the Holiday Inn, and the Sooper Dooper and Dakotamart grocery stores. Among his survivors are his brothers and sister and their spouses, Norm and Joann Weaver, Prentice and Susan Weaver, Glenna and Bo Ethridge and Michael Weaver, and their families.

The Sanford Pentagon and the Keloland Media Group have announced the teams for their all-star basketball weekend April 7-8. The weekend will include a Saturday all-star banquet at which the Players of the Year will be announced and all-star games on Sunday. Peyton Zabel of Riggs High will play on the Team Navy boys team, Lincoln Jordre of Sully Buttes on the Team White boys team and Rachel Guthmiller of Sully Buttes on the Team White girls team. The games will be live-streamed at www.keloland.com.

Graham and Samantha Schuetzle have a second son in their family. Gray Wade Schuetzle was born March 7, weighing 8 pounds, 11 ounces, and measuring 20 3/4 inches.

Brian White, who coaches the Pierre Post 8 Legion baseball varsity team, has been named Teacher of the Year in the Agar-Blunt-Onida school district where he teaches and coaches. He now becomes a candidate for regional Teacher of the Year.

Services for Marilyn (Miller) Nystrom, 83, were held March 14 at Feigum Funeral Home. She died March 2 at Good Samaritan Society in Miller. An internment service for her and her husband, Norman, will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 16, at Black Hills National Cemetery. The former Marilyn Miller spent her childhood in Onida until her parents’ jobs brought them to Pierre. She married Norman Nystrom in 1963, and he adopted her son, John, from her first marriage to Frank Rathbun. The Nystroms lived on their farm in the Spring Creek area until their health declined. She is survived by her son, John Nystrom and his wife Deann; grandson Keith in Pierre and granddaughters Kylie in Nashville, Kassandra in Manchester, Tenn., and Kourtney in Brookings.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association’s annual art gallery will be on display in Sioux Falls at the convention center adjoining the arenas this weekend during the basketball tournaments. The gallery will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

Kyle Kurth, who works as an engineer for the city of Pierre, is officiating his first state basketball tournament this weekend. He will be working the boys “A” tournament in Rapid City. This is his second year of officiating.

Sully Buttes ’74 alumnus Pat Jolley, who played with the Chargers as a starter on Dan Sutera’s team in the state “B” tournament his senior year, is this week coaching his Canistota team at the state “B” for the second time. The Hawks also went to the tourney in 2011. The fourth and last son of Pat and his wife Brenda, Scott Jolley, is a senior this year.

All four Pierre swimmers on the South Dakota State University swimming team were recognized for their academic achievements at the end of the season. Chris Rumrill was named to the Summit League Academic All-League team for the fourth time; he is an electrical engineering major with a 3.98 grade-point average. Daniel Jacobson, with a 3.41 GPA in biology and microbiology, earned the recognition for the second time. Wyatt Rumrill, 4.0 in human biology, was named for the second time in his career. Ashley Theobald earned the recognition for the first time. She is a 3.93 political science and agricultural leadership major.

Our sympathy to the Mortenson family. Clarence Mortenson passed away at his home in Sun City, Ariz., on March 3 at the age of 88. A private service to celebrate his life will be held at a later date, and his ashes will be scattered on the ranch he loved. Mr. Mortenson grew up at Eagle Butte, attended eighth grade in Fort Pierre but returned to Eagle Butte and graduated from high school there in 1947. He attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. In 1949 he left college and took over the ranch owned by his mother, Margaret, and her husband, Ben Young. Clarence and his wife, Jean, raised their seven children on their ranch. The couple moved to Pierre in the late 1970s. He was an addiction counselor at River Park, a lobbyist and director for the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, a distinguished conservationist, a land appraiser and a public servant on several boards. He was a loyal member and participant in Masonic organizations. After he married Rosemarie in 1981, they lived in Omaha, then moved to Pierre. They moved to Arizona in 1995. Among his survivors are his seven children—Pamela Patterson and her husband Jeff of Frederick, Colo.; Curt Mortenson and his wife Kimberley of Fort Pierre; Jeff Mortenson of Pierre; Doug Mortenson of West Hollywood, Calif.; Wendy Prost of Scottsdale, Ariz., Lynne Mortenson of Broomfield, Colo., and Todd Mortenson and his wife Debra of Hayes—as well as eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Audrey Borsch of San Marcos, Calif., several nephews and nieces and his stepchildren.

Pierre native Jason Young’s son John, goalie for the state boys hockey champion Rushmore Thunder, was named second-team All-State at his position. In the state tournament last weekend John stopped all 12 Mitchell shots in an 8-0 win; in the semifinal overtime win over Brookings he stopped 13 shots in a 3-2 win, and in the championship game he made 25 saves against Sioux Falls in a 4-3 victory.

Jeff Sampson and his wife, Valerie, of Sioux Falls are the parents of a daughter, Penelope James, who was born Feb. 19. Jeff owns his own photography business.

The PIerre-cussion drumline from Riggs High School will perform at the state “AA” tournament in Sioux Falls later today (Thursday). They will perform at halftime of the O’Gorman-Brandon Valley girls game in the Sioux Falls Arena which starts at 5 p.m., so the drumline may go on at about 5:30. Games in the arena are not televised live (only the Premier Center games are), so to see the drumline you will have to watch the livestream of arena games at www.sdpb.org/basketball.

The Riggs High chamber choir is also singing the national anthem ahead of one of the sessions of the “AA” tournament in Sioux Falls today (Thursday).

At Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls where Pierre native Robyn Starks Holcomb is one of the vocal directors, their show choirs had a field day at last Saturday’s competition at Washington High. Roosevelt’s Executive Suite show choir won the grand championship and also won for best vocals, best choreography, best band and best male soloist. Roosevelt’s Capital Harmony was grand champion of the unisex division and was fifth runner-up overall.

Police captain Jason Jones was appointed as Pierre’s chief of police and will take over that position Friday. Jones has been with the Pierre police department for 17 years. (News courtesy of “Today’s KCCR News.”)

A celebration of life open house remembering Lyle Hunsley will be held at Feigum Funeral Home from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20. Mr. Hunsley died at the age of 94 Feb. 27 at Pierre Care and Rehabilitation Center. He lived all of his life in Sully County. He worked first on the Dr. Riggs ranch on the river bottoms north of where Oahe Dam now stands. He and his wife, Annis, made their home on a farm in Sully County for decades. He retired from farming in 1977. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, Larrie Hunsley; his granddaughter, Amy McTighe, and his great-grandchildren, Kade and Jessa McTighe.

The St. Patrick’s Day parade will step off from the middle school parking lot at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, move over to Pierre Street, go down to Dakota Avenue and turn west there for a block before heading toward the Legion cabin parking lot. The Lions club’s Irish stew feed begins at the cabin at 4:30 and goes until the food is gone. Admission prices will be $8 for adults and $4 for children 10 and under.

The Rapid City Hansen brothers’ wives, Pierre natives Melissa (Luers) Hansen and Karin (Unkenholz) Hansen, are advertising their third annual Hansen 3-on-3 basketball tournament to be played Saturday, June 9, starting at 10 a.m. The cost is $20 per player. The first 10 teams that sign up get onto their bracket. Teams can be co-ed and consist of 3 or 4 players. Games go to 11 points or 15 minutes in the double-elimination event. Payouts go to the top three teams, and the rest of the proceeds will be given by the ladies to the bicycle rodeo at Meadowbrook Elementary School. Interested? Check out the Facebook page entitled “Melissa Luers Hansen.”

Sheridan Cronin was married March 10 to Camille Morgan. They make their home in Rapid City.

Former Pierre coach Jon Horning will observe his 80th birthday on March 24. An open house in his honor will be held Saturday, March 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Barn Theater on 4th Street in downtown Willmar, Minn. Horning coached in Pierre from 1965 to 1973 before he and his wife, the former Terry Lamster, moved to Willmar. After the coach retired from teaching and coaching in 2002, he became an actor. Since then he has appeared in 26 community theater shows in Willmar, so having his party at the theater is a no-brainer! Friends can send greetings to Horning at 601 E. Augusta Ave. SE, Willmar MN 56201.

On March 8 Kristen Job, her partner Cindy Royer, and Kristen’s parents attended the Omaha Film Festival’s screening of the Andrew Kightlinger film, “tater Tot & Patton.” The film was introduced by Andrew himself and the festival organizers. Andrew asked the audience if there were anyone there from Pierre, and when the Job party waved, he was shocked. “The film opened to very familiar shots of the highway between the interstate and Fort Pierre,” Kristen said. “It was crazy to see my hometown on a big screen at a major film festival.” She said “the use of short and wide angles to propel the story along was outstanding. The film was beautiful to see. The story was at times hilarious and ridiculously sad but so well presented.” In the question-and-answer session following the screening, Andrew said he was amazed at how film-savvy the audience was, noticing the different shots used, the ability of a man to tell a powerful woman’s story and the representation of love and loss in the Midwest.” Kristen said she eagerly awaits the chance to see the Kightlinger film again.

Fort Pierre native and Stanley County High alumnus Lynn Frederick of Brookings is one of five men being inducted into the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association’s Hall of Shrine this weekend. Frederick will be honored at halftime of one of the first semifinal games at the “AA” tournament in Sioux Falls Friday night. He had a successful coaching career in boys basketball at Agar before going to Brookings where he coached the Bobcats boys teams.

Our sympathy to Tom Barnett, Fern Barnett and their daughters, Brianne Roby and Mallori Barnett Johnson. Their daughter and sister, Whitney Barnett, passed away in Mexico Monday night. She had fallen ill about a week earlier from a sudden bacterial infection. Her parents and sisters had been with her since late last week. Whitney was a 2004 graduate of Riggs High School. A celebration of her life will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, followed by a time of remembrances and socializing at View 34.

South Dakota State University just posted its December graduation list. Belated congratulations to these area students:
Heidi Becker, bachelor of science (summa cum laude).
Matt Blaseg, bachelor of science (summa cum laude).
Annilynn Hanson, bachelor of science.
Calla Holzhauser, master of science.
Ian Krekelberg, bachelor of music education.
Jasmine Louis, associate of arts.
Caleb McKinley, bachelor of science and bachelor of science (magna cum laude).
Sydney McLaury, bachelor of science.
Amanda Peterson, bachelor of science (summa cum laude).
Aaron Propst, master of science.
Cody Somsen, bachelor of science (summa cum laude).
Caleb Stoltenburg, bachelor of science.
Seth Varty, bachelor of science.

It’s another “Break a leg!” night. Black Hills Community Theatre’s spring musical, “Gypsy,” has its Preview Night tonight (Thursday), then regular performances Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons for this weekend and next, ending March 25 at the Performing Arts Center of Rapid City. Holly (Knox) Perli plays Mama Rose’s grown-up daughter June; older daughter Olivia plays several roles throughout the show, and younger daughter Audrey plays Baby June. Parker Knox is pianist in the pit band. Another Pierre guy, Rodger Hartley, has been deep in work on the show as his job as BHCT’s technical director. Rodger has another show heavy on his mind these days, however, as he has the lead role as “Sweeney Todd,” the demon barber of Fleet Street, in that musical which opens a long run of weekends from March 30 through May 5 at the Firehouse Brewing Company Theater in Rapid City.

Former Pierre resident Wes Tschetter, who has been employed with the state since the 1970s and with SDSU since 1982, announced his plans to retire from the university in June. He has been chief financial officer for SDSU for 26 years. Tschetter began his state employment with the Legislative Research Council where he worked for 10 years, the last seven as its director. His wife, Lois, is a faculty member and interim associate dean for undergraduate nursing for SDSU. The Tschetters’ three children are Paul Tschetter, Jane Lucas and Emily Willett.

Our sympathy to Kacy (Hutchinson) and Matt Gill on the death of Kacy’s grandfather. Robert L. Johnson passed away in Rapid City March 8. He was a life-long rancher and former president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. He and his wife of 70 years have been ranching in the Rockyford area since 1953. Services were held at a funeral home in Rapid City Wednesday.

The Rogue Theatre in Tucson, Ariz., where Ryan Parker Knox is a member of the company, has announced its 2018-19 season:
— “Galileo” by Bertolt Brecht
— “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Simon Stephens
— “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare
— “The Secret in the Wings” by Mary Zimmerman
— “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller

Brian and Kaija Bonde, who have performed in Pierre many times over the years, are among recipients of this year’s Sioux Falls Arts Council awards. The Bondes will receive the Charlotte Carver Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts at a social event on the Augustana campus tonight (Thursday). The Bondes have been active arts advocates and performers in Sioux Falls and across the Midwest for a combined total of more than 75 years. Dave Bonde of Fort Pierre is Brian’s brother.

Jim Smith, who greeted customers at his dad Milo Smith’s sports shop for many years, passed away this week.


“Curtain up! Light the lights!”

In these columns over the years I have often told the story of my one spoken line onstage in my theater “career.”

On the stage of the old Huron College gym in the fall of 1958 it was up to me to say profoundly, “Don’t touch him!” That was a moment after poor Jud Fry, the filthy ranchhand who lived in the smokehouse, fell on a knife while fighting Curly over Laurey’s affections in “Oklahoma!”

My three dramatically spoken words never won any award, but neither did I have any trouble remembering my lines (that is, line. Singular.).

I was in one other show at H.C. In “Camelot” I was one of the palace guards. Wearing a chainmail vest, the other guards and I each had to carry an unwieldy banner attached to a pole up the sidesteps onto the stage. That darn thing was heavy, and I stumbled and wobbled as I climbed the seven steps up to King Arthur’s courtyard. It was not my best moment.

So from these examples, it is likely the genes that carried an infatuation with the theater over to my children did not come from me. Their mother would likely agree that the theater bug came, not from her either, but from the likes of Donna Fjelstad, Kathy Valnes, Hyrma Zakahi, Larry Johnson and others who saw to it that the arts were alive and well in Pierre during the time my kids were growing up and advancing through school as well as their friends who were equally smitten by the thought of performing onstage and working offstage.

Son Ryan has made for himself a meaningful, rewarding life in the theater, first in Minnesota and now in Arizona. Jason is busy with work and helping raise a young son, but he finds time to go onstage in community theater as often as he can work it in. He just finished a four-weekend run as The Writer in “The Good Doctor,” a great role but one which demands hundreds of lines of memorized monologues. No wonder he began working on it way before Christmas!

Daughter Heather would be great onstage, but she has a demanding job, not to mention a teenage son with around-the-calendar sports and a pair of very active 4-year-olds whose very existence does not permit a mom to devote six weeks of nightly rehearsals to something outside the home.

Since coming to Rapid City, even I have kept a finger (actually all 10 fingers) in theater by playing piano for auditions—and now in a pit band—and by working as an usher and house manager for plays and other events at the Performing Arts Center.

And that leaves Holly, and this week she and her two girls are making memories by being onstage with each other in Black Hills Community Theatre’s production of the Broadway classic, “Gypsy.”

This show is special, especially to me, because it brings back such great memories of Pierre Players’ “Gypsy” in the summer of 1992 as well as the other big musicals that Pierre’s community theater took on as challenges—“Oklahoma!” and “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Stop the World, Want to Get Off” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” and others.

There was such a sense of family in those productions, to such an extent that, when the curtain closed on the final Sunday matinee, there was a distinct and emotional letdown.

If there ever were a role written for our dear friend and fellow Class of ’97 parent Kathy Valnes, it was that of Mama Rose, the ultimate stage mother who tried to live her dreams of being a star through her daughters in “Gypsy.” Kathy, who coincidentally passed away three years ago this Sunday, belted out “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Small World,” “You’ll Never Get Away from Me” and the other Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim tunes in a blast-furnace fashion for which even the legendary Ethel Merman herself would have stood and applauded.

Ron Lutz played Rose’s sometimes boyfriend/sometimes agent Herbie in the role that Jack Klugman created on Broadway. Mandy Johnson was Rose’s older daughter June, and Robyn Starks was Louise, the supposedly less-talented daughter who rose to the top to become Gypsy Rose Lee herself, the queen of the burlesque circuit, a stripper extraordinaire. John Beranek was Tulsa, one of the young men trying to make it in the theater by playing a kid in Mama’s act.

Those Pierre Players musicals were awesome. One evidence of that fact is that the South Dakota Superintendents Association for years scheduled a performance of our show as part of their summer convention.

That summer 26 years ago this coming July I was at the keyboard in the Riggs theater pit, and that’s where I am now this week, much older, no wiser, but enjoying it just as much, especially with three of my favorite people right there in the show.

In our BHCT cast this week we have another worthy Mama Rose in Michelle Martinson, who will lift the audience out of their seats with her finale songs at the conclusion of each act. A strong cast of both veteran and newcomer actors supports her.

As the show began to come together one evening earlier this week, I marveled at how this is one gigantic jigsaw puzzle of which, by curtain Friday night, every piece has to fit perfectly. The onstage actors, singers and dancers are only a small part of the army it takes to pull this off—costumers who transform 2018 people into 1930s characters; microphone checkers who guarantee that each and every actor’s microphone is live at the right time; the arts center’s technical people who are electricians and handymen and anything else the show requires; the stage manager who has an unenviable task of assuring each scene change goes off without a hitch; the curtain pullers; the props people; the makeup artists; the man in the booth directing things backstage through mikes and earphones; the instrumentalists from various walks of life who band together a dozen times or so to prepare the music; the box office people; the ushers and ticket-takers; the concessions workers; those who have built and painted sets; and, oh yes, the show’s director himself, Zach Curtis, who has lived, breathed and slept every aspect of this show for months.

It’s an exciting thing of which to be a part, whether one’s role is major or minor.

Now if we in the orchestra can get our act together in time, in Mama Rose’s own words, “we’ll be swell; we’ll be great.” Because, as Lou Mazzuchelli said on the premiere of “Rise” on TV Tuesday night, “We are a troupe,” and it takes every member to do his thing to make it work. Such is the magic of theater, and the applause at curtain call—along with the memories—is our reward.

Break a leg, one and all!


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