Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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The Senior Championship Division of the Birchmont features a Bemidji flavor as nine of the 16 match-play qualifiers consider the Bemidji Town & Country Club their home course. Headlining the group are co-medalists Rob Noren and Eric Niskanen. The other Bemidji qualifiers are Joe Mayer, Scott Curb, Rick Curb, Don Dale, Paul Welle, Bob Kobilka and Rob Jacobson. Niskanen had the low round in Tuesday's play as the Bemidji High School boys golf coach carded a 2-under-par 70.
For Rick Passolt of Edina and Curt Howard of Salpulpa, Okla., the Birchmont is more than a golf tournament. "I spent all of my summers here and when I was 12 years old my grandfather, Tams Bixby, started me in the Birchmont," Howard said. "This is where I call home. My dearest friends aren't in Texas and they aren't in Oklahoma.
Tim Skarperud held off his brother, Matt, to win men's championship medalist honors Tuesday in a rain-delayed Birchmont golf tournament at Bemidji Town & Country Club. Tim, a two-time runnerup in this event, shot an even-par 72 to post a 5-under 137 in two days of qualifying. Matt Skarperud finished second at 141 after firing a 4-under 68. Another Skarperud brother, Chad, also advanced to match play with a 36-hole total of 148.
Mark Fodness, who coached the Bemidji High School boys and girls tennis teams from 1986 to 1993, officially returned to those posts Tuesday when he was hired by BHS activities director Troy Hendricks. Fodness replaces Scott Engelstad who assumed the tennis coaching duties after Fodness retired and maintained the positions for 17 years until announcing his retirement this spring. "When I stepped down we had a young family and I knew that I couldn't be away from them that much," Fodness said.
Brad Anderson of Staples is a veteran of the Vandersluis tournament. And he is fast becoming a fan of the Birchmont. "I'm been coming to the Vandersluis for 15 years and coming to Bemidji is like 'Old Home Week,'" Anderson said.
Alyshia Moe of Bemidji capped her first appearance at the National High School Rodeo with a third-place finish in the barrel racing competition. Moe, a freshman at Bemidji High School, posted the ninth-best time (17.535) in Saturday's final and finished with a three-run cumulative time of 52.601. Rachel Primm of Washoe Valley, Nev. was the overall barrel racing champion with a time of 51.952. NaLynn Cline of Bernalillo, N.M. was second at 52.269. At the start of the national rodeo 178 cowgirls were competing in the event. "It was really fun," Moe said.
If you want to find Trey Dale this summer the first place to search is the Bemidji Town & Country Club. "I'm a member here, I play a lot of golf here and I also work in the pro shop," Dale, who is entering his junior year at Bemidji High School, said. "I like being at the golf course." Monday during his qualifying round of the Birchmont Junior Division Dale transferred his knowledge and love for the BTCC into the division's best score.
Alyshia Moe of Bemidji advanced to Saturday night's final of the barrel racing event at the National High School Rodeo in Gillette, Wyo. Moe and her horse Cheetah earned the top seed in the final after posting qualifying times of 17.371 and 17.695 and a cumulative time of 35.066 Qualifying right behind Moe with a total time of 35.225 was Kyra Stierwalt of Leedy, Okla. Saturday's final included the top-20 qualifiers. Moe did not make it to Saturday's final in the pole bending as she finished 64th after two rounds of qualifying with a total time of 46.272. She posted a time of 20.42 in her
The Bemidji VFW baseball team saw its domination of the district field end Saturday afternoon as the Vets dropped a 10-9 decision to Moorhead in the winner's bracket semifinals of the district tournament in East Grand Forks. The loss forced Bemidji to win three more games if it wants to claim the district title. The first was played Saturday evening against the winner of Saturday late-afternoon contest between East Grand Forks and Perham. If the Vets won that game they will tangle with Moorhead again today at 1 p.m. and, hopefully, again at 3 p.m.
The first step on way to a district championship was successfully taken Friday by the Bemidji VFW baseball team as the Vets overcame first-game jitters to thump Detroit Lakes 14-4 in East Grand Forks. Bemidji owned a tenuous 6-4 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth but settled the issue with an 8-run explosion. Friday's victory vaulted the VFW into today's noon winner's bracket semifinal against either Perham or Moorhead. Those teams played later Friday and that winner will tangle with Bemidji. If the Vets win today they will advance to the district title game 1 p.m. Sunday.