By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 8/22/17 (Tue)
Ever since Carson Wentz was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, it appears to have changed the entire dynamic of
Wentz, a Bismarck Century product, is getting a lot of media coverage these days and rightfully so. He’s a good football player and is very popular back here in
In 1995, that same dynamic changed in baseball when Darin Erstad, a three-sport standout at
Prior to that, the biggest household name of any professional athlete from North Dakota was Roger Maris, a Fargo Shanley graduate who went on to hit 61 home runs for the New York Yankees in 1961.
When Erstad broke into the Major Leagues, a number of people commented that they now knew how it felt when Roger Maris became a Major League baseball player.
There are certainly a lot more people from the state who have excelled in sports and the first name outside football or baseball that comes to mind is Virgil Hill.
Hill, who attended
One professional football player who hasn’t received a lot of media coverage is Weston Dressler, who plays wide receiver for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League.
He played football at
He broke into the professional ranks with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2008 and has been in the CFL ever since, except for a short stint with the Kansas City Chiefs.
He was also part of the CFL championship team in 2013 after the Roughriders defeated the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
When we talk about or write about professional athletes from
We don’t often think about it but
Following are a few who have made their marks in professional sports, some of them coming from small towns in
• Dave Osborn, a running back with the Minnesota Vikings who grew up in Cando.
• Jim Kleinsasser, a punishing running back with the Minnesota Vikings who grew up in Carrington.
• Phil Hansen, an Oakes native who played defensive end for the Buffalo Bills.
• Travis Hafner, the valedictorian of Sykeston High School who spent 11 years with the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees.
• Brad Gjermundson of Marshall, a small community in
• Randy Hedberg, Parshall, became the quarterback at
• Les Jepson, Bowbells, played college basketball in
Sports Illustrated recently named the top 50 professional athletes in
Rick Helling, baseball and Fido Purpur and Mike Peluso in hockey have all made names for themselves. Peluso played for the Chicago Blackhawks but later moved back to his hometown of Bismarck and still coaches the Bismarck High Demons, a team he single handedly developed and groomed.
Every kid dreams of being a “big leaguer” but as they grow up they begin to change their minds.
The above list of people is proof that athletes from