Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cruel Summer

It definitely has been a "Cruel Summer" as Ace of Base puts it. Cruel mainly because it is going far too fast. It is nearly a third of the way over already.

I covered legion baseball, the Lansford threshing show and races at Thunder Mountain Speedway.

Have a few pictures to share this week. Keeping it light in honor of the summer that is still left:

Bottineau's Devin Bercier dives back into first against Harvey last Thursday.

Third basemen Ging Martin tries to fire out a Harvey runner at first.

Mark LaCroix starts to celebrate after successfully stealing home plate.

LaCroix celebrates as the umpire explains the call. The run was the eventual game-winner.

Martin successfully makes a catch despite colliding with shortstop Justin McCloud.

Garrett Lynnes fouls off a pitch in the second game last Thursday.

Cody Brooks fires a pitch in the second game.

Cody Smith loses control and smashes into Russ Reimer last Sunday in the sport stock feature race.

Jeff Smith (center) Norm Reitan (left) and Chris Romfo (right) toss balls to kids in the crowd.

A gentleman takes a rest on a bench and takes in the sights of the Lansford Threshing show.

Dave Iverson forks a pile of wheat into the thresher.

The Lansford threshers hard at work.

Chaff comes out of the spout at the end of the threshing process.

Lansford Threshers president Roger Sauer checks to make sure everythign is working properly.

The entire operation from start to finish for the Lansford Threshers and Historical Association.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Come Rain or Come Shine

The oft-covered song "Come Rain or Come Shine" has been performed by timeless artists such as Frank Sinatra, Etta James and B.B. King/Eric Clapton, and it perfectly encapsulates the Bottineau County Fair,  of which I was privileged enough to photograph this past Thursday through Sunday.

Many people grumbled to me about how the fair always produces at least a day of rained out events and diminished crowds, and in the two years I have covered it, that has come true.

The 2012 fair was no exception as rain drops were dodged and sun rays were basked in. I have many pictures left from my fair escapades that did not make the cut for the paper.

Jackson Bernstein rams into Austin Mastvelton, which spurs a radiator leak last Sunday at the Bottineau Jaycees demo derby.

Travis Lehman (left) colides with a car last Sunday at the Bottineau County Fair's demo derby.

John Stevenson roars into a car in the second heat.

Verdell Ovitt's wagon nearly tips during the third heat.

The side of Ovitt's wagon had Spongebob on it.

Jeff Smith signals cars to start up a derby heat.

This white wagon had parts spraying and falling all over the place.

The number nine car of Jackson Bernstein starts aflame in the finals with only three drivers left.

Firefighters extinguish the flame.

Rick Gustafson emcee's the amateur night on Thursday.

This grizzled cowboy tries to rope a steer during the Ranch Rodeo last Saturday.

Dokken Construction team members try to rope up a steer.

Contestants try their hand at wild cow milking.

Crowd members enjoy as Johnny Holm (and guests) perform last Saturday evening.

Johnny's daughter Jordan sings last Saturday.

Many young people had fun in the beer gardens during Johnny Holm Band's set.

These two young men joined Johnny for a sing-a-long.

Johnny rocks out with Eli during the concert.

Gary Fulsebakke sings to the crowd last Thursday at Amateur Night.

One half of the Artz sisters, Kelsey, sings on the stage as the wind roars into her face.

The other of the Artz sister's, Heidi, sings last Thursday.

Heidi belts out a note near the end of their third-place performance.

Katja Bartsch or Bottineau delivers a power note.

The crowd watches during Thursday's Amateur Night.

Krystal Heth awaits her turn on stage.

Darryl's racing pigs spring around the oval.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This week I chose the rap duo Zion I (Zion eye) song Coastin' because that's what I got to do last week, was just coast and have a more or less relaxing week for once. Check the song out, it has an old school hip-hop vibe, from a fairly modern and under-the-radar rap group.

Anyway, I only had a legion baseball game to cover, so only a few pictures this week.

However, I again would like to share an opinion piece this week. Any feedback on these opinions (positive or negative) would be fantastic. I might start posting these in the paper if I get some positive reinforcement.

Not long ago I might have been one of the biggest haters that the NBA had. I didn't just dislike the league, the players, the game itself, I loathed it. From the 'gangsta' attitude of the players, to outrageous style, the lack of fundamentals, the 'I before we' mentality. None of it appealed to me at all. Perhaps what made me the most furious was seeing a highlight from a game where someone made an 'amazing play' in which they traveled. I guess I just didn't understand the reason for having a rule, if the refs aren't going to enforce, and I still don't.
And well I still like March Madness much more than the NBA, I have gradually pushed my qualms about the game behind me and become a genuine fan. This past season I logged more minutes watching NBA, following stat lines online and cheering for my favorite team (Da' Bulls) than ever.
Quick tangent on the Bulls, they aren't my favorite because they are one of the best teams in the league (though it doesn't hurt to be able to cheer for a winner) they are because they play the old-school style of basketball. They play with solid fundamentals in which they promote a defense-first philosophy. The Bulls fight hard for rebounds and most of all hustle, things that teams in the NBA don't normally do these days. Not to say they don't completely lack flair or excitement, DRose brings that to the table with some of the ridiculous things he can do, but first and foremost they are a traditional and solid basketball squad, which is why they are my favorite.
Ok, so anyway, I am a fan of the NBA now. Which brings me to the pending NBA finals that begin tonight between the Thunder and Heat. Now, these are both teams that I loathe, and not love to hate, but purely I despise them.
So, it makes it interesting who I am going to decide to cheer for, I mean, I could tune it out all together, but what fun would that be? I continued to turmoil over the deal, contemplating which team deserves it the most, who had the easier road? Certainly it was the Heat, as I had previously been cheering for the Spurs (similar style to the Bulls) and the Spurs were really the team to beat. However, just because the Thunder beat the Spurs, doesn't mean I'm going to cheer for them.
I hate the Thunder. I hate everything about them from Harden's homeless-man beard, to Russell Westbrooks faux-swag (and oft detrimental play) to Perkins face, which just makes me want to punch him, all the way to Durant's inexplicable ability to just pull up in someone's face and drain a 26-footer (not that it's a bad thing for him, but as a fan of the other team it pisses me the hell off). All of it just irks me, not to mention they are some of the worst actors on the planet. Some of those flops make Vlade Divac look like an Oscar-winner.Yet they still get the calls.
Not to say I'm a huge fan of the Heat either, what Lebron did to Cleveland still hurts to think about. He completely mishandled the situation, and made a fool of himself in the process. Sure he's probably the most talented person to play the sport ever, but that doesn't mean he's not a douche. And speaking of douche's, enter Dwayne Wade. Another example of overconfident and often poor and selfish play, Wade is another athlete that I plain despise. Plus, Bosh looks like an alien or a raptor, I can't quite decide.
With two teams that I abhor, who am I supposed to cheer for? I've come to the gritty conclusion that the Heat are just a little bit more worthy of my attention and applause.  Though the brandish, individualistic atmosphere of the finals is not one I'm looking forward to, as a newly dubbed fan of the NBA I will no doubt tune into the finals and be cheering for the Heat. Just don't expect me to be sporting a Lebron jersey.

Anyway, enough with that, here are my pics:

Bottineau's Taylor Milbrath delivers a pitch last Friday against Velva.

Hunter Braaten scoops up a ground ball during the 10-2 loss to Velva in game one.

Second baseman Devin Bercier applies the tag on Zach Podoll of Velva after a strike from Bottineau catcher Mark LaCroix.

Lee Schneider rips one of six singles in the double header.

Schneider snags a pop fly from his third base position.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Addicted to Chaos

I wouldn't say that I'm exactly "Addicted to Chaos" as Megadeth puts it, but I certainly have had my fair share of it the past week or so. With the all the family issues (wedding and a funeral) as well as a few state tournaments to cover, the past week was indeed chaotic.

I was unable to post last week as I was on the road at the Class B State Boy's golf tournament.

I would like to post a brief opinion about the use of range finders in golf tournaments:

Recently the NDHSAA and the golf coaches brought up that Class A is going to begin allowing the use of range finders during tournaments. Class B agreed to see how Class A likes it before pursuing it, but I think that the idea is ludicrous.
Golf is the ultimate game because it takes so much mental capacity to become a great or even good player. Duffers must use their brain to solve mini 'problems' in course management, club selection, shot shape and even the way a putt will break.
Estimating distance to the hole is just another factor in that mental equation and is very much a part of the game.
There are distance markers out on the course to give one an idea of the distance, but it is up to the individual (or their caddy in the pros) to determine a close estimate of that distance and then select a club in which they believe will give them the best possibility of getting the ball close to the pin.
Having a range finder will completely remove that part of the mental game, as the golfer will be able to pull out a device and know exactly the distance and select their club accordingly.
Supporters of this action will say that it would be a fair ruling because everyone would be allowed to use them, but what they fail to understand is that it will ruin the game for three reasons: first and foremost, as I stated earlier, it removes part of the mental aspect of the game; secondly, it will drastically slow down play, as all the players will have to go into their bag, pull out a range finder try and make it work and so forth; lastly, not all players will have access to range finders, sure most of them can either have their parents get them one, or save up to get one themselves, but these things are expensive, and as much as I hate to admit it, it gives an unfair advantage to those more fortunate (I know that sounded pretty socialist of me, but it's true in this instance).
Plus, if I see a guy out on the course over the weekend with a rangefinder dialing in every shot, I assume that he is a hack. Any good golfer knows the game and appreciates it enough to do the honorable thing and estimate the distance with their mind.
It's part of the game, leave it that way.

Anyway, enough babbling, here are the pictures I had left from the past couple weeks:
Bottineau players celebrate on Thursday, May 24 after winning the region title in Surrey.

Sophomore Lee Schneider makes a stop at second base during the region tourney in Surrey.

Matt Bowers powers a ball to the fence during the region title game.

The Braves bench clears and congratulates Justin McCloud after he hit a two-run homer.

McCloud fives Head Coach Nate Simpson as he rounds third after the home run.

Schneider rips a pitch.

Schneider makes the play.

Senior Cody Brooks about to deliver a single during the region title game in Surrey.

Schneider awaits the ball as he tries to turn two.

Schneider flips the ball to second.

Ging Martin turns on a pitch and hits to the outfield in the May 22 loss to Bishop Ryan.

Parker Englehard connects with an inside pitch.

Freshman Brock Hiltner delivers a pitch from the hill in the loss to Bishop Ryan.

Hiltner about to deliver.

Schneider slaps a ball to the infield.

Schndeider fires to first base.

LaCroix tags out the Lions' Jake Magnuson after an excellent block of the plate.

McCloud fires to first base at the state tournament last Thursday in Jamestown.

McCloud hurls a pitch in the loss to Bishop Ryan in Surrey.

Bowers swings at a pitch during the 4-3 loss to Washburn-Wilton-Center-Stanton.

Sophomore Andrew Hill awaits the pitch while leading off of first base.

Westhope-Newburg senior golfer Trevor Hulse tees off during the Class B State Tournament at Oxbow.

Sioux sophomore Hunter Braaten tees off on his final hole of day two.

Bottineau junior Zack Monson hits a putt during the state tournament.

Monson hits a tee shot on the water-surrounded 15th hole.

Monson strokes another putt.