On The Road Again : A Year in the Life of the State President

State Hoop Shoot: Hutchinson

This installment of On The Road Again finds Lynn traveling to Hutchinson for the State Hoop Shoot contest.

Greetings Fellow Minnesota Elks!

I've just returned from a relaxing weekend stay at the Mankato House at MN Elks Youth Camp. Unlike my visit a couple of weeks ago, it was actually nice enough for us to have a couple of bonfires during our stay.

Unfortunately, it was on Saturday, February 2, 2013, that I received a phone call that State Chaplain and State Hoop Shoot Director LeRoy Belanger from International Falls #1599 had suffered a fall and was not expected to make it. Later in the day, I learned that LeRoy had been taken off of life support and had passed away.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I begin my journey today, Friday, February 8, 2013, to Hutchinson, Minnesota, for the Minnesota State Elks Hoop Shoot. The weekend will not be the same without LeRoy. And, in typical Minnesota fashion, the weather forecasters are calling for a big storm this weekend and I have been taking many phone calls wondering if the shoot was going to take place. I thought to myself: "What Would LeRoy Do?" I indicated to all that the shoot was going to happen and that if they did not feel safe traveling, they should stay home.

I arrive in Hutchinson at the Victorian Inn and know that one of the first faces I should be seeing is LeRoy's and we would share a couple of Budweisers as we unpack his car.

After checking into my room, I meet up with Bob Brown, AKA Brownie, in the Eagles for a couple of beers and a few stories about Leroy. After unpacking the car, it's time to head down to the Hutchinson Elks Lodge to visit and play bingo.

Saturday morning arrives and I check in downstairs to see how things are going. Roger, Brownie, Lane and Sheila are busy getting the registration table set up and the goodie bags packed for the shooters. The kids are starting to arrive and check in and Brenda and Jerry Shoults are busy in the banquet room putting the trophies together. It's almost time to head over to the gym. I am happy to report that there is no snow yet and all of the shooters have arrived safely.

It's time for the shoot . . . We begin with the 8-9 year old Boys and Girls, move on to the 10-11 year old Boys and Girls, and finish up with the 12-13 Boys and Girls. It has been a fantastic shoot and MN has crowned the six champions that will advance to the North Central Region #3 Hoop Shoot Contest in Iowa City on March 16, 2013. Now it's time for the kids to go back to the hotel and spend a little time in the pool before the banquet and trophy presentations.

While the kids are enjoying the pool, the Hoop Shoot crew has made their way to the Hutchinson Elks. Some of you are aware that the District Hoop Shoot Directors have their own "friendly" trophies: the "broom" and the "cheese head." The results are in and the winner of "friendly" competition and the coveted "broom" is Dan Holm, North District Director. In Dan's absence, I gladly accept the "broom" on his behalf. Tying for second were Pete Schroetke, South District Director, and Lane Schlecht, Central District Director. Coming in last, but not least, our newest director and now proud recipient of the "cheese head," Jerry Shoults, Metro District Director.

It's time for the banquet and awards presentation. It's nice to see each group of kids sitting at the front of the room together. The sportsmanship shown by this group of kids is extraordinary. The meal is served and I can see the kids eyeing up the trophies and certificates. Finally, it's time to present the "hardware" and invite the paparazzi to "do their thing."

Another great MN Elks Hoop Shoot is in the books. I think LeRoy would have been proud!

Now, it's time to meet with the six shooters who will be advancing to Iowa City. Shooters advancing to the Regional Shoot are:

8-9 Girl: Brylee Lingen, Thief River Falls Lodge #1308, North District
8-9 Boy: Carsen Turk, Brainerd Lodge #615, Central District

10-11 Girl: Camryn Schwab, Thief River Falls Lodge #1308, North District
10-11 Boy: Mayson Brown, Hibbing Lodge #1022, North District

12-13 Girl: Shayla Loiland, Brainerd Lodge #615, Central District
12-13 Boy: Oakley Baker, Owatonna Lodge #1395, South District

It's back to the pool for some and "on-the-road" home for others. We still haven't seen any snow, but they are still forecasting bad weather.

Some of us head back to the Hutchinson Lodge to visit and share a few more stories about LeRoy. Then, it's back to the hotel.

I'm up early and ready to hit the road by 7:00 a.m. As I pack my car, a little bit of snow has fallen and it has just started to rain. Not what you like to see in early February. The temperature is around the freezing mark, so I'm hoping the roads are good until I get home.

As I make my way up Highway 15 toward St. Cloud, it's a bit snowy and slippery, but I'll just take it slow. By the time I get to St. Cloud, it is a bit colder and it's stopped raining, so that's a good thing. Highway 23 over to 35W is dry. 35W to Duluth was the same. I'm happy to be home and hope that the rest of the people have made it home safely as well.

In closing, I want to thank the District Hoop Shoot Directors and District Presidents for stepping up and helping to insure that this Hoop Shoot went off without a "hitch." As you all know, LeRoy left some pretty big shoes to fill . . . Also, a big thanks to the other Elks who helped out with the event. I'm not going to list names, as I know you know who you are.

Well, I'm going to take a weekend off and I won't be hitting the road again until Saturday, February 23, 2013, when I have a day trip planned to Hibbing for the Elks International Bonspiel.

Until then, please remember to: "Rock The Boat!"


Lynn Rohlf
Minnesota Elks Association State President