As a bald guy, one thing I have a lot of appreciation for is the hockey hair awards given out during the state hockey tournament each year.
The curls, the mullets and helmet hair makes me yearn for the opportunity to run my hands through the top of my hair once again (I would need to get a killer comb over if I want to have flowing hair on the top of my head again).
While the state amateur baseball tournament may not have hair awards, they do bring with it some unique team names.
After glancing at the Class C bracket there are some of the classic teams like the Milroy Irish, who seem to advance to state just about every year, but there are a few unique names that I can only assume have a fun story behind them.
For example, there is the Loretto Larks (which is a small bird), the Watertown Red Devils, the Monticello Polecats (according to Wikipedia, which my children inform me is not a reliable source in school, a polecat is a colloquial nickname for the skunk and are related more closely to dogs than cats), Bird Island Bullfrogs (which isn’t uncommon necessarily but just has a nice ring to it), Bemidji Blue Ox (kind of obvious given Babe the Blue Ox) and the Stark Longhorns (not sure we have a lot of Texas longhorns in Minnesota).
Perhaps my favorite name of any of the teams in the Class C state tournament goes to the Buckman Billygoats. Let that one sink in for a minute and tell me you aren’t smiling a little bit with the idea of a baseball team named the Billygoats.
Last weekend the New York Mills Millers had their state tournament come to an end at the hands of the Cold Spring Rockies. While the outcome wasn’t what the team was hoping for, it should be noted this is the first time the Millers have advanced to state in five years.
What’s more, the Bluffton Braves will get their state tournament underway this weekend when they play the Hutchinson Huskies on Saturday in Faribault.
NY Mills and the surrounding area has become known for its high level of baseball and softball each spring during the high school seasons. Many of the members of the Braves and Millers played high school baseball at either NY Mills or Wadena-Deer Creek High School so they have had quite a bit of success during their years on the baseball diamond.
Even so, to have two teams separated by just a few miles advance to state is pretty remarkable. Especially considering that having so many town teams in such a small area means the players get stretched out as they simply do not play for the one town team in a 20 mile radius of their hometown.
I guess what I am saying is there is a lot of great baseball being played in the area and it is exciting to have that continue for another generation to come.
End of parade season
The Koenen family attended three parades last weekend to bring our busy summer of celebrations to a close.
This summer we went eight parades, most of which we attended to take pictures for the Henning, New York Mills and Frazee-Vergas newspapers. To be honest we probably would have attended a few more had a few of the parades not conflicted with one another (Henning and NY Mills’ parades are the same night at basically the same time).
Even though a lot of the parades have a number of the same entrants, each parade has a certain uniqueness to them.
For example, the best and most candy on a per parade entrant basis is hands down the Bluffton and Deer Creek parades.
If you want a freezie or to listen to more than one band, go to the Henning Festival Parade in July.
NY Mills has one of the largest parades in the area and even has quite a few Lund boats that I can drool over and dream about purchasing one day.
The Ottertail parade has one of the best endings of any parade as the Ottertail Brewing Company has a number of water cannons, water balloons and water guns that spray those in attendance.
The best theme and perhaps the best parade overall is the Watermelon Day parade in Vining (though that might be because it is the last parade of the season).
That doesn’t even include the Vergas, Wolf Lake and Parkers Prairie parade we went to this summer as well.
Truth be told the summer goes fast, but it is amazing how many activities we can jam into a 12 week period. We still have a little more than a week left before Labor Day, but as Bluffton Hometown Day and Watermelon Day in Vining came to an end it feels as though summer is basically over.
I’m definitely looking forward to next summer already and hopefully we continue to see our community’s come together for unique summer celebrations.