Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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A 2007 study indicated that the fishing industry in Minnesota creates 47,000 jobs and generates $2.8 billion in direct annual expenditures. Fishing also contributes more than $640 million a year in tax revenues to the treasuries of the state and federal governments. Those figures were recently announced by Minnesota DNR Fisheries Chief Dirk Peterson. The numbers are based on a study that analyzed the economic impact of Minnesota's 1.4 million anglers. "As an economic engine, fishing is more like a Mack truck than a mo-ped," Peterson said.
In recent years the Bemidji softball team has held the upper hand over Moorhead but most of the games have been up for grabs into the late stages. "The typical game is about 7-2 or 6-3," said BHS coach Brad Takkunen.
Alex Schoneberger captured the 800 and the mile to lead the Bemidji boys track and field team to sixth place at Thursday's Section 8AA True Team meet in Brainerd. The home team took top honors with 795.5 points and Buffalo was second with 722.5. Moorhead tallied 691.5, Alexandria 686.5 and Monticello 638.5. Bemidji finished with 513, Sauk Rapids with 449 and St. Cloud Apollo with 267.5. "We did very well in the distance events and did all right in the mid-distance and sprints," said BHS coach Steve Sneide.
The good old days of fishing have returned to Leech Lake as the combined efforts of state and tribal officials have helped restore the fishery to its previous renowned status. A decade ago Leech Lake walleye populations were in decline and the drop prompted the 2005-10 Leech Lake Management Plan. The plan sought to improve walleye abundance and size structure through a variety of methods including protection of the female walleyes through the implementation of a protected slot, the reduction of the cormorant population, an aggressive stocking campaign and protecting the shoreland from human
The rod and reel donation program in Bemidji is alive and well, according to Bruce Aalgaard who is among the donation program volunteers. Begun in 1995 by Aalgaard and Jo Clayton as an offshoot of the community's Take a Kid Fishing event, the rod and reel project has presented 713 completed outfits to area TKF youngsters. The goal is to provide 1,000 rod and reel combinations to area youngsters by 2015. Another 130 rod and reel combos are ready to give away at this year's Take a Kid Fishing event on June 15. "About half the kids (at Take a Kid Fishing) do not have their own rods and reels,
Bemidji needed only three pitches to score its first run Wednesday at Grand Rapids but the Lumberjacks' offense struggled the rest of the way and the home team saddled the Jacks with a 5-2 loss. Back-to-back doubles to open the game by Mitchell Hendricks and Tyler Follis gave BHS the early 1-0 advantage.
The Bemidji tennis team made only its second home appearance Tuesday but the home-court did not prove to be an advantage as the Lumberjacks lost 4-3 to Detroit Lakes and 4-3 to East Grand Forks. BHS coach Mark Fodness was hoping for better results although both matches could have gone either way. "Against Detroit Lakes there were four tie-breakers and we lost all four," the coach said.
Convincing people to attend an awards ceremony but not letting them know that they will be among those under the honored guests can be a difficult task. And accomplishing that feat with a set of brothers seems almost impossible. Bemidji High School officials, however, were able to complete that task Monday when Jerry and Frank Sargent attended the high school Hall of Fame and athletic awards banquet. Frank was coaxed into coming because Steve Johnson, a friend and former school board member, told him Jerry would receive some sort of recognition.
A steady rain did not dampen the spirits of the Bemidji boys golfers who hosted their annual invitational Monday at the Bemidji Town & Country Club. "It has to rain long and hard to stop a golf meet," said BHS coach Seth Knudson. The 19 complete teams were greeted by a steady rain when the meet began at 9 a.m. and the precipitation continued until about noon. The rain, however, stopped for the final few hours of the competition and the golfers could finish their rounds in more comfortable conditions. "My only concern during the morning was a thunderstorm," Knudson said.
When Jerry Lee was in eighth grade he was in great shape and outweighed his friend and classmate Billy Dunlap by more than 30 pounds. Dunlap, however, was out for wrestling. "Billy was a 98-pound weakling," Lee said. "One day we rolled out the old red picnic tablecloth in his basement and went at it. And Billy kicked me. That is why I got into wrestling." A few years after that encounter Lee was celebrating the school's first individual state wrestling championship as the senior captured the 154-pound title.