RUBADO COLUMN: I am honored to be the Bemidji Pioneer’s sports editor
This is an introductory column written by Jared Rubado, the new sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer.
How often do you call your parents?
If you asked my parents, they’d probably say I call them too much.
My name is Jared, and I’m your new sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. I was born and raised in Brainerd before graduating high school in 2014. I attended Augustana University and graduated with journalism and sports management degrees, then moved to Alexandria to start a career in sports writing at the Echo Press.
When thinking about how I want to write this introductory column, memories of the little things that got me here keep popping up in my head.
When you get your first pair of hockey skates two months before your third birthday, the trek up State Highway 371 to Bemidji becomes regular. Whether it was playing in youth games or venturing into the Sanford Center on the weekends, there were plenty of excuses to be in the area.
I was the only one of roughly 500 Brainerd High School graduates to attend Augustana in 2014. Despite its imminent arrival to Division I men’s hockey this next winter, Sioux Falls wasn’t exactly a hockey town.
Instead, I spent time interning for the athletic department, which meant attending a bevy of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference games. I was there when Augie won men’s basketball and baseball national championships, and I worked for the football team for two years. I also spent my summers interning at the Brainerd Dispatch.
Contrary to the market now, jobs in sports media were tougher to find in 2018. I applied for a sports reporting position in Alexandria and was so nervous about the interview I forgot to wear the suit coat that burned a $250 hole in my dad’s wallet.
Five days after the interview, I got offered the job. The call came in the middle of a midterm exam. I was so excited I forgot to return to the classroom to finish the test.
I spent over three years in Alexandria working with Eric Morken, one of the best sports writers I’ve ever met. In August of 2021, I was approached with an opportunity to replace Bob Williams as the Detroit Lakes Tribune’s sports editor.
My role in Detroit Lakes expanded to Perham and Wadena. I like to joke that I’m just making my way through the northern Minnesota Forum Communications properties, which became less of a bit when Micah Friez told me he was leaving the Pioneer.
I’ve known Micah for a few years now. We covered a Section 8-3A boys basketball semifinal game at the BHS Gymnasium together in March of 2020. We also survived the heat wave that crashed the Section 8-3A softball playoffs in June of 2021 in Sartell.
When Micah told me he was leaving the Pioneer, I was shocked. When he asked if I would apply to replace him, I was intimidated. How am I supposed to replace Micah?
The hardest part was leaving Detroit Lakes, a place that truly became my home. But the opportunity was too good to turn down.
So what is the point of all this, and why am I asking how much you call your parents? For me, the constant on this entire path to Bemidji has always been the phone calls.
It was calling my parents after I got my first college internship with the Augustana athletic department. I called my mom, telling her I forgot to wear the suit coat and wouldn’t get the Echo Press job because of it. I forgot to return to class after receiving my first job offer because I called my dad in the parking lot outside of the building.
It’s calling my mom and telling her I got my first chance at being an editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune, and then again when I heard of the Pioneer’s opening.
I love this job so much. I have an undying passion for sports writing. I live for telling stories and showcasing local athletes. I love being there for the big games, meeting great people and calling my dad on the way home to brag about what I will write before the night ends.
I’m excited to be your sports editor and eager to learn more about the great people of Bemidji. I can’t wait to call my parents and tell them what makes this place special, like all places I’ve been.