Rolfe, Iowa, 6-on-6 Girls Basketball: 1970-71 Road to State and 1971-72 Highlights


If you are looking for nostalgic video à la Christmas Vacation, then this is for you, especially if you have at least a speck of fondness for Iowa 6-on-6 girls basketball. (If you aren’t interested in the details and want just the video, here’s the first part/first 17 minutes and here’s the second part/last 6 minutes.)

I know by not including a lot of photos and white space, I risk losing you after reading maybe just a couple of paragraphs. Please hang in there by reading this blog post and PLEASE watch the video (both segments). It is SO FUN!!!!!

I was a Rolfe Rammette (yes, what an odd mascot name) and put together this video ten years ago for the 40th anniversary of our playing in the Iowa girls 6-on-6 state basketball tournament. There were no school-size classes then; school size didn’t matter. We were one of 16 teams from the entire state of Iowa that made it to Vets Auditorium, also known as “the Barn.”

When I was a sophomore, the year we went to state, our head coach, Al Van Houten, told me he thought we could get to “The Barn.” That’s the first I’d ever heard anyone express any belief in us to get to State. His vision and passion motivated us and taught us how to get there.

Mr. Van Houten was such a special man. After one of our away-game bus rides, he stood at the front of the bus before letting us go to our cars. He told us he had a plutonic love (he used that exact phrase) for us. I believe we had the same for him.

The video shows what I think to be a sense of community that exists in small towns across Iowa and the Midwest. Much if not all of the video is a bit blurry, but when watching it for about the 20th time (it’s addicting) I believe that the blurry video is kind of like an impressionistic painting. It can make us kind of extrapolate what we see and envision it in our own current or past situation. If you have nothing to do with Rolfe, but love 6-on-6 basketball, maybe looking at our little community basketball experiences will make you think of your own or that of someone you know or knew.

March of 2021 was the 50th anniversary of the Rolfe Rammettes playing in the state tournament. This coming March 2022 is the 50th anniversary of the culmination of our 24-2 season.

Ironically, Manson, the same team we beat to go to State in 1971, was the team that beat us in 1972 denying us of a trip to State that year. (We had already beaten Manson twice that ’71-’72 season.)

If you want to watch the video, THE NEXT THREE SENTENCES are SUPER IMPORTANT. The entire video is about 23 minutes long, but I had to upload it in two different files. TO WATCH THE FIRST 17:23 YOU’LL NEED TO CLICK ON THE FIRST LINK. TO WATCH THE LAST 6:11 YOU’LL NEED TO CLICK ON THE SECOND LINK. If you’ll watch both, you will have watched approximately 23 minutes.

The videos include footage of the following teams:
Rolfe (of course!)
Rockwell City, I’m pretty sure
Twin Rivers
I think that’s it, but there might be more.

My dad would film the games, drive the film to Fort Dodge to Don Peterson (sp) Photo so it could be developed right away, and then get it back to Rolfe right away so we could watch it during basketball practice. I think at the time I didn’t realize nor appreciate what work he didn’t get done while doing this for us!

In the first video/first link, some of my favorite clips are:
14:26 Julie Brinkman (now Mintz) and her exuberance over Carol making a free throw. So fun! (Julie was later the head women’s BB coach at Wayne State.)
15:03 So many spectators, so many gone now. We had such an amazing large following.
15:21 At this Twin Rivers game our algebra teacher/track coach/AD Al Gilbertson was a third official. He stood at half court to moderate the officiating because apparently the two officials who were hired for that game either had never seen a girls basketball game or were not certified to officiate girls games. It was a ROUGH game. In the second link there is more from that same game.
16:30 Michelle Pomerenke being so tough on defense that a TR player got rolled. I said it was rough!!!
17:23 Julie, Julie do you love me! I couldn’t help putting this song together with clips of Julie.

In the second video/link, some of my favorite clips are:
0:46 There’s about one second of a halftime performance of I believe Audrey Ricklefs and Troy Pederson
1:35 Our supporters storming the floor.
2:24 Gotta love the cameras!
2:42/3 Hank Baade. “BE THERE!!!”
3:16 I will forever remember this moment. Four teams played that night, including Rolfe against Manson. The first game was the regional consolation game. Our game – regional final – was the second game. When we stood and walked down the bleachers to the locker room to dress for our game, my recollection (which may be biased) is that 3/4 of the gym/spectators stood to cheer us on. There was so much respect for our team. ALSO, those red dresses were all homemade by us team members, and we wore them to every game.
4:11 Al Gilbertson is at mid-court again.
4:44 Oh, the red and gold station wagon! It was red and white when purchased. My dad had the shop boys paint red and gold (Rolfe’s colors and Iowa State’s, too!). Stepping out of that car I have on my red dress and it was SHORT!

I thought about adding current last names for players, when applicable, but I’m not sure how to do a thorough search for them. As I have time and also know more of them, I’ll try to update them here.

As long as I have a WordPress account, this blog post will be here. As long as I maintain a DropBox account, the video links will work. If at some point the links don’t work, feel free to email me and I’ll see what I can do for you to see the videos.


2 Responses to “Rolfe, Iowa, 6-on-6 Girls Basketball: 1970-71 Road to State and 1971-72 Highlights”

  1. Syd Beckord Says:

    There was no radio or TV coverage of the first game at State so Beckord’s Hatchery had KWMT Ft. Dodge broadcast our girls first game for people back home and I got Al Budolfson to be the halftime radio guest. Al took Rolfe boys to 2nd and 3rd in state tournament in late 1930’s, was a 3 yr starter at Iowa State. FYI – John Grace, my Rolfe Jr. High Principal, Teacher and Coach was head referee when girls beat Manson to go to state. Grace’s father, Rolfe school attorney, ran the clock for that game. Thanks Louise.

    • Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

      Syd, what wonderful “behind the scenes” information. Thank you for sharing. Do you happen to know if a recording of that broadcast of the game-at-State exists anywhere? Your comment reminds me that I’ve got a recording of the game where Rolfe won vs Manson to go to State. That recording is on this web site. I’ll post it in the Rolfe school FB group, as well. Thank you, again. I’m so glad Beckord Hatchery provided that broadcast! Your parents were so community minded and kind to do that.

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