By Bill Anderson
On Saturday, February 4, after more than a week in the deep freeze, winter finally relented and allowed the temperature to soar all the way up to 37 degrees above Zero in Rutland, that’s 5 degrees above freezing. Snowdrifts that had been the consistency of granite since November were turned to mush by the combination of sunshine and higher temperatures that brightened spirits, warmed aching joints and removed some ice from streets and sidewalks. The local groundhog, Rutland Roscoe, would have seen his shadow had he been out on Thursday, February 2, predicting 6 more weeks of winter, but the temperature barely got above Zero on Ground Hog’s Day, and Roscoe stayed snug and warm, curled up in his burrow. Daily high temperatures in the mid-30’s continued from Saturday, February 4, through Wednesday, February 8, and then dropped back down to single digits before rallying back up to the 30’s for Super Bowl weekend, and even up to 42 on Monday, February 13. Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14, started out nice, with no wind and the temp getting up to 34, but the bottom fell out at about 5:00 p.m. and the mercury plummeted as fast as the wind speed rose. A blizzard warning was posted, and the Weather Service meant business this time. There wasn’t a lot of snow, but what there was got piled up in front of doors and in driveways by the 50 mph winds, creating obstacles to foot and vehicle traffic alike. The spell of mild weather at the beginning of February did not mean that winter was over, but it did restore hope that this winter will end, one of these days.
The Rutland Sportsmen’s Club held its regular monthly meeting for the month of February and its 2023 Annual meeting to elect officers and chart the course for the coming year on the evening of Thursday, February 2, in the back room of The Lariat Bar in Rutland. Before and during the meeting members enjoyed a supper of soft-shelled tacos, tater tots & chips prepared by The Lariat, as well as beverages served by the staff of The Lariat. Club President Shannon Hajek was re-elected for another 3 year term. Vice-President Kyle Mahrer and Secretary-Treasurer Mark Wyckoff had been re-elected to their respective offices in 2022. The Treasurer’s report indicated that the club currently has approximately $27,000 in its operating fund, and approximately $33,000 in its gaming fund. Several events and activities have been scheduled for the coming year, including: Coyote Hunt on Saturday, February 11; Annual Great Northern Pike Fish Fry on Friday, March 3, at the Rutland Town Hall; Second Annual Gopher Classic on Saturday, May 6; Annual Youth Day on the Sunday before school starts in August at the John Narum Memorial Trap & Rifle Range 3 miles west and 1½ mile south of Rutland; and, a 50th Anniversary celebration on Saturday, September 9, at the John Narum Memorial Trap & Rifle Range 3 miles west and 1½ mile south of Rutland. Additionally the High School Trap League will be shooting on the Sportsmen’s Club’s range this spring, and the regular Trap league will be shooting at the range this coming summer. The Rutland Sportsmen’s Club was organized around a table at The Lariat Bar back in February of 1973, after Darwin Brakke had posted a notice on the wall asking anyone interested in getting a club organized to write their name on the signup sheet. The response was good, and in short order Attorney Bob Case had filed the paperwork to organize the club as a North Dakota not for profit corporation, and John Narum had volunteered to sell his farmstead north of Silver Lake to the club for use as a trap shooting range and rifle range. Club members volunteered to clear the old buildings from the farmstead, except for an old boxcar granary and attached lean-to shed that became the clubhouse for several years. A used manual clay pigeon thrower was purchased from the Cogswell Gun Club to get the club’s first trap shooting range going. Volunteers also leveled the south side of the property and constructed a dirt berm backstop for the rifle range. Tree belts were planted on the north and east sides of the property, and other trees were planted to mark the edges of the rifle range. Over the years there have been many improvements constructed on the club’s grounds. Some have come and gone, and some remain. Back in 1973, some of the powers that be at the time thought that no club organized in a bar by a bunch of guys who enjoyed a good time could long endure. Now, half a century later, in 2023, however, the Rutland Sportsmen’s Club is still going strong, bigger, better and more active than ever, with the club members still doing good things, and still enjoying a good time. Most of the original members are now gone to their reward, but their spirit remains, evident on the faces of the young sportsmen and sportswomen who now utilize the club’s facilities. Sometimes you can do a good thing and have a good time at the same time.Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – February 10 and 17, 2023”