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Let’s Cook: Hoops, They Did it Again

By Chuck Repnow - | Mar 20, 2021

Ground Beef Pastry

This weekend all across the state, eyes and ears will be paying attention to the Class B Boys’ Basketball Tournament which will be held at the Minot State University Dome. It is a time when folks gather to cheer on their favorite team. For those of us who have been born and raised here in North Dakota, we completely understand what it means when your team’s hard work has them headed to “the B.”

Being raised in Underwood, I can remember folks talking about 1958 Championship game that featured Kulm and Underwood. Kulm won the title by one point–with the final score being 50-49. This game had Comet fans which included not only parents and students, but community members as well–all of whom talked about it for years.

The Underwood gym, like many small towns, had their mascot painted proudly across one of the bleacher sections. The lettering for the “Comets” was done in deep of purple and outlined with a lighter shade of violet. I was in grade school when I witnessed Burnell Johnson painting this. As I stood and watched him work wonders with his paint brush, he too talked about highlights of Comet basketball.

Fast forward to 1984. This is the year that Jan started teaching at Wolford. Now basketball in Wolford, ND was a community event. My first attendance at a game made a real impression. Several community members not only wore green and gold to show their fan support, some even brought their band instruments and played in the pep band. Over the years, I had the delight of hearing many great stories about the Wolford team that played for the state championship in 1968 against Casselton Central Cass. The final score was Casselton Central Cass 96 and Wolford 77. It was during this game that Wolford’s Vance Bowersox, scored 38 points. The entire community was proud of the team’s accomplishment.

An added homespun charm to the Wolford basketball picture is that of the concession stand. I can’t leave this bit of homespun charm out of this reflection. For many years, Jan was the Junior Class advisor and in charge of organizing the concessions. To say that the lunch counter was brimming with star quality was an understatement–homemade pies of every variety, delicious homemade potato salad, macaroni, ham sandwiches and let us not forget the sloppy joes. The depth and range of the many junior class mothers cooking abilities could be featured on any of the popular cooking shows today. They certainly knew how to “assist.” This is an example of community pride that continues to involve people who no longer have children or even grandchildren in sports. I use to love to stand in the stillness of the Wolford gym–everyone was gone, the air still thick with moisture, the smell of sweat lingering, and I would say to myself “what a night, what a community.”

Let’s move on to the Rugby Panthers–they are going to play at the 2021 tournament. Congratulations! Much of our involvement with the Panthers centered around operating Strand Studio of photography. We photographed many Panther teams and now reflect upon that with fond memories. It back in the day of film photography. Paying attention to every detail was important because coaches didn’t like retakes! Many times, we were the only people that took a group picture; unlike today when everyone can with a cell phone! We could often rush back to the studio and develop the film to make sure that all players’ eyes were open and that their uniform number could be clearly seen. If not, we had to make the dreaded call to the coach!

We attended a number of games in Rugby and seeing several generations of Panther fans in the stands cheering was always inspiring. Grandma and Grandpa decked out in orange and black and the cheerful panther mascot walking about the fans. I can still hear the roar of the crowd when an alley-oop was made. Rugby coaches, players, and cheerleaders have worked hard and their efforts have brought them much success.

Coffee time at the Hub during basketball season always included talk about the Panthers. They and other Rugby business places decked out their windows in support of the orange and black.

Curt and Maxine Strand, who were the original owners of Strand Studio, started the tradition of making sport statuettes. They made hundreds of these 18 inch cut outs of each senior players and mounted them on hardboard. We continued that tradition as well. They were sponsored by area business places and proudly displayed for the community to see. Every hometown has uplifting stories about their basketball team, and that is what makes the tradition of North Dakota boys basketball the best gift we can get in the middle of March.

We most often eat our meals at our dining room table; however, during the tournament is it TV tray time as we want watch the games from the comfort of our recliners. We often make a main meal that we can serve a couple of times with different salads or vegetables. After all who wants to be in the kitchen when the boys are playing basketball!

We are fans of anything in a pie crust. This recipe does just that and makes a large pan as well. This was a recipe that we received from Alyce Liming, a former Ely School teacher and Rugby resident. She had noted this recipe by Alan Pecarina in a cookbook from the Parkville School located in Minnesota.

Ground Beef Pastry

1 1/2 pounds ground hamburger

1 1/2 cups raw potatoes thinly sliced

1 medium onion finely chopped

3/4 cup thinly sliced carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Brown the hamburger and onion; when done, combine with the rest of the ingredients and set aside. Make your favorite pie crust recipe and add to it 1 teaspoon celery salt. Roll pastry to fit a 10 x 15-inch baking pan. Fill with meat mixture. Roll out top crust. Place over meat and seal edges. Cut in several steam vents. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Allow to stand 15 before cutting and serving. (For this size pan, I used a pastry recipe that had two cups of flour, and it worked well.)

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