Wheelin' With Web: Snow doesn’t deter Chatfield Fire Department from hosting Trout Classic

By : 
Bill Bentson
Bluff Country Reader

Dateline Minnesota…enough already. I think it’s time to launch the WEB version of scheduling of seasons for sports and activities in Minnesota, or any northern tier school for that matter. I will get into all that later in the article.

I’m one article over half-way into year three for the WEB. How time flies when you’re having fun. And I’m serious when I say that. I really enjoy going to high school events and I really like writing about them. I really need to get on my website and maybe start doing a little advertising.

Did you all get your taxes in on time? As usual, I got ours postmarked on Monday, April 16, a whole day before the deadline. I usually end up paying a few bucks because nothing gets taken out of my “writing” check. Sure puts a damper on any spring break plans that I have!

And speaking of Monday, April 16, that was “Go to Work in Your PJs Day.” What? I thought every day was “Go to Work in Your Pajamas Day!” I hope I’m not giving you “TMI” (too much information), but I’m in my PJs until noon every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, for sure. And if I don’t go shake dice on Wednesdays and Fridays, you can include those days too. I write my articles for the papers on those days and I usually sit and watch Good Morning America for a while, have a cup of coffee, or two, and then head to my office and start writing the sports. What a life, I’m so lucky.

Speaking of lucky, how about those two youngsters from Chatfield, winning the 31st annual Chatfield Trout Classic and collecting a trophy and a gift card at Scheel’s from the Chatfield Fire Department?

Here’s what I had to say.

In “horse language” there were no hitches, but that’s because there were no horses involved. And just like the entertainment world (the show must go on) or the post office (neither snow, nor rain or foul weather), the Chatfield Fire Department delivered the annual trout fishing contest and breakfast, just as advertised, this past Saturday.

The weather did hamper the total number of participants for the pancake breakfast, but not as bad as one would have thought with the ugly weather that prevailed for the majority of the morning of the event. According to official numbers from the firemen, about 365 pancake lovers took part in the breakfast, down a bit from the normal 450-500 of past years.

As for the fishing contest, there were two awards available, and there were two awards presented. Prizes and trophies were awarded for the largest trout and for the largest “rough fish,” kids only.

Winning the prize for the largest trout was Dallas Delaney, son of Cameran and Ashlee Delaney, Chatfield. His brown trout weighed in at .39 pounds. The location of the fish’s capture remains a “top secret.”

Prize for the largest “rough fish” went to Eddie Gorczynski, son of Karl and Ann Gorczynski, also of Chatfield. His sucker weighed .41 pounds. Eddie’s fish was caught at Mill Creek Pond.

Talking with the fisher-boys and fathers, they said they saw a few others fishing, but not nearly as many as past years.

The firemen were quite upbeat and are looking forward to the 32nd annual Chatfield Trout Classic, but are hoping for a bit more cooperation from the “lady upstairs” (Mother Nature). They also seemed to be pleased with the response for their silent auction, which has also become a tradition along with the fishing contest and the pancake breakfast. They would also like to thank all of the sponsors for the auction items and to all the locals who enjoyed their pancakes.

I’ve been covering the Chatfield Trout Classic for quite a few years now. We’ve had bad weather, but this has to go down as the worst, weather-wise, in all the years that I’ve been involved. Congratulations to the Chatfield Fire Department on a job well done. You definitely made lemonade with the lemony weather!

Here’s a special note from Chris Mensink, athletic director at Fillmore Central: “Good morning, the (Frank) Jaszewski Field Dedication scheduled this Friday at the Fillmore Central baseball field has been postponed and will take place now on May 11 when we host Caledonia in a double header at 4 p.m. Ceremony will be at approximately 3:45 p.m. that day. Thanks.” Frank was a longtime teacher and coach at Preston-Fountain, retiring a few years ago. It is a great honor to a GREAT man! The tennis court is next!

I’ve noticed in the local papers that I receive, that several FFA teams have won trips to the state contests. Congratulations to them and to the FFA advisors. I love the FFA, FCCLA, speech teams (state is going on right now), drama groups, music groups. All of these extra-curricular organizations, groups and clubs are an INTEGRAL part of the education that our students receive in our schools. I’m willing to bet that a large portion of our students stay in high school because of their involvement in the extra-curricular activities, and NOT just athletics.

I read the article our boss, David Phillips, wrote in last week’s papers, “Even birds are confused by wintry April.” I have four feeding sites I can see from my office window, and I keep them well supplied. Sometimes it’s popcorn, cereal, crackers, yes bird seed, and even flavored Doritos. They like it, just ask Mikey! I’ve had sparrows, blue jays, blackbirds, cardinals, finches, woodpeckers, doves and robins. In the midst of all the heavy snowfalls that we’ve had recently, they would fly from site to site, literally, in appreciation of their good fortune in the miserable weather. Mr. (Al) Batt would be amused. You also get a feel for who’s in charge, and it’s not Charles. When the jays show up, everyone else steps aside.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t think we should be doing any sports outside during March or April, and not just because of the lousy weather we’ve been having right now. Many years it is just too cold, too wet and even too windy sometimes for any sports to be conducted outside in Minnesota during those months. It’s just a total disservice to our athletes to expect them to perform at peak level when they have to get nine games in during an 11- to 12-day stretch, or worse. We need to extend the spring season into the summer.

I know, the naysayers are already saying, what about Legion baseball, what about the off-seasons for the other sports, what about summer jobs, what about family vacations, what about a little time off? I get it!

What about an eight-game football schedule, a 15-game volleyball schedule, a 10-game soccer schedule, a cross-country season that is done by MEA weekend? Cut back on the number of teams that make the playoffs and be all done with fall sports by mid-November, or sooner. After one week of the playoffs, at least half, and maybe more, are done with their fall sports season. Here’s where it gets revolutionary. Don’t start the winter season of sports until after the first of the year.

During the six weeks prior to the first of the year you can have music concerts, speech contests, knowledge bowl schedules, FFA contests, FCCLA events, etc.

After the first of the year you can start the winter sports activities and go until the middle of March and then start your tournaments. Who says the state basketball tournament has to be March 24-27? As teams are being eliminated from the tournaments, you can be running some more of the events you had following the fall sports season. Again, you’d have about 4 to 6 weeks of uninterrupted time for the fine arts, clubs and other organizations. Then you start your third season and extend it into June, July and early August.

Your athletes would have their games and the non-athletic activities would have 8 to 12 weeks during the school year when kids wouldn’t have to choose between a sporting event or a non-sporting event. As Mr. Suk would say, “think about it.”

I don’t envy the coaches and athletic directors one bit regarding the making up of games and re-scheduling. I’m putting together composite schedules for both baseball and softball, so we can get a better picture on who’s playing who, and where. If you need updated schedules, check out the Three Rivers Conference website, www.3riversconference.org.

Have a great week, one day at a time. Hey to the Great 8 and my wife, Carol, you are the greatest. And to Melissa, thank you. She’s off to Spain. Speaking of lucky. The weather-person says, “No more snow.” Will save my comments for an article in June or July. Hasta luego. Get out and support your kids! WEB