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

December 31, 2021

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.


For anyone touched by breast cancer, this (pink Clydesdale) bud’s for you.

July 11, 2013

This weekend is Rolfe’s (Iowa) sesquicentennial. The dates are Friday through Sunday, July 12-14, 2013.

The pink Clydesdale “world’s largest” rocking horse (in the video below) will be in the 10:30 Saturday parade. Except for during the parade (and if it “travels” anywhere temporarily) its location is just west of the water tower in Rolfe. While it beckons the public to walk over to it and take photos, it is from the heart of Dan Allen whose wife, Mary, was diagnosed — a second time — with breast cancer. Mary is a survivor!

Yesterday, the 10th, Dan and his brother Roger brought the horse from its “secret location” on the farm into town for unveiling. PLEASE watch the video. When I shared it last night there were tears in a few eyes thinking of Dan and Mary and so many others touched by breast cancer.



There’s more you’ll see this weekend in Rolfe. On Dan and Mary’s property just west of the water tower are four very unique attractions:

1) the Freedom Rock painted in April by Ray “Bubba” Sorensen

2) the 11.5 feet-tall statue of Cy built by my dad in 1975. It stood at the north end of Iowa State University’s football field until the 1990s

3) the Bud Barn. In the Bud Barn are TONS of Budweiser paraphernalia. Even for those who don’t enjoy beer, it’s fun to take in this museum-like barn. It was originally located in Section 24 of Roosevelt Township where my dad was born. In 1982 it was moved into Dan and Mary’s. (If I find a good photo of the Bud Barn, I’ll post it.)

4) THE HORSE! (Click here to see a blog post that includes a photo of the horse, before it was painted pink.)

All four of these attractions are open to the public this weekend. The rock, statue and horse are always available for people to walk over to and take photos. No permission is needed. The barn is not always open.

In addition, this weekend in Rolfe there will be an exhibit of watercolors painted by four women in the 1940s through 1990s. Three of the artists are deceased including my mom. Many of the paintings are of local landmarks and scenes, long gone. The exhibit is at Wild Faces Gallery, one block south of the library. The hours are Friday (3:30-5:30) and Saturday (9-3, except from 10:15 until the 10:30 parade is over).

The full schedule for the sesquicentennial is here, although I’m not sure everything at the link is 100% correct. (I’ll try to scan the newspaper schedule and post it. I think it is more up-to-date.)

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

Jen Bowen … a Fox (or three or four) … Rolfe’s 1960 Senior Class Play … Chicago

May 4, 2013

This post is a result of a communication thread on the “Rolfe Community School” Facebook page. There is a lot of educational and entertaining information on that Facebook page. If you are interested in historical tidbits (and even some current) about Rolfe, Iowa, if you have not already done so, I encourage you to join the “Rolfe Community School” Facebook group.

Earlier today there was a query on the Facebook page about Cora Lighter pans. In response to the query I posted a photo of Cora Lighter, a sister to my grandmother DeElda, who is also in the photo.

Clicking on any of the photos below will enlarge them. Clicking a second time will enlarge even further.



This is the photo I posted earlier today in response to a query on Facebook about the history of Cora Lighter pans. Cora Lighter was my great-aunt on my dad’s side. This photo is of L to R: DeElda Lighter Gunderson (my paternal grandmother), Cora Lighter (sister to DeElda), ? , and Jen Bowen. The three named ladies were from Rolfe. The hotel, in which I assume this photo was taken, opened in 1927. Cora Lighter died in 1951. This photo was in a cardstock frame with an outer cover. That cover is shown in the next photo. (Click on photo to enlarge.)




Since this was the cover for the photo at the top of this post, I am led to think that picture of the four women was taken at The Stevens Hotel in Chicago. My oldest sister, Clara, saw the photo of the four women and commented about it on Facebook. Her comment* is immediately below. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Clara said this about Jen’s fox stole, “When I enlarged the photo of these four women dining in Chicago, I noticed Jen Bowen was wearing her fox stole (complete with head), which she let me wear for our senior (1960) class play. I played Angela Boyd, Eve’s (Pam Jordan Wolfe) ‘domineering, wealthy aunt.’ The 1960 RAM devotes a page to this play. In one of the pictures, I’m wearing the fox stole. By the way, Jen Bowen sang in the Presbyterian church choir for many years.”

Information about the Stevens Hotel, which opened in 1927, is here.



When Clara saw the photo at the top of this post of the four women, she realized that Jen Bowen (in that photo) was wearing a fox stole. (You have to click on that photo to enlarge it to see the stole’s furry detail.) In the lower right photo of this RHS 1960 yearbook page, you can see Clara sitting on a chair in the background. You can barely tell that she is wearing a stole … Jen Bowen’s! (Click on image twice to see to Clara.)


In response to Clara’s FB comment, Sally (Webb) Kish commented*, “I loved Jen Bowen. She had such a happy spirit. I sang in the choir with her many times.”



Well, lookie here! This stole includes three fox heads! And, the fox feet, as well!!!!! I just happened to have this in a closet. (Click on this photo TWICE to see the beady little eyes and toenails!)




And, here’s the head at the end, squeezed to open the mouth so, with the stole around a woman’s neck, it could clasp to the other end of the stole so it wouldn’t slip off the woman. (Click on photo to enlarge.)




Here is the same stole as in the previous two photos, plus another stole which does not have any feet or head attached. However, it DOES have a label that says, “Stevens’ — Chas. A. Stevens & Co. . . Chicago”! (Click on photo to enlarge.)




This is the label on the stole pictured in the previous photo … the one without the heads or feet. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


Information about the Chas. A. Stevens department stores is here.

Now, who knows if the Stevens family that owned the hotel had any connection to the Stevens family that owned the department store in Chicago. At first I was so excited because I figured they MUST be connected somehow. I mean, Jen was at the Stevens Hotel with my grandmother and great-aunt, she was wearing a Stevens stole, and I have a Stevens stole. What more proof do we need that there is a definite connection?!!!!! ; )

Sigh … Obviously we don’t know for sure if there was a connection. But, researching did help me have more insight to Chicago and the Great Depression, knowing the Stevens hotel opened in 1927 … terrible timing with the Crash of ’29 looming.

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*Sally and Clara gave permission for their comments to be included here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

Crazy April weather needs a Burrometer, don’t you think?!

April 12, 2013

I’ve been looking through a ton of digital scan files trying to locate what seems to be a needle in a haystack. However, I did run across this gem. I think it is appropriate to post today as the midwest’s weather stays crazy-cold in April.

When Bill was a little boy, he made this (pictured below) official weather forecaster. I guess his weather-predicting talent started way back then. To this day, people from all over call him to pick his brain about short- and long-range forecasts.



Bill made this when he was a little boy. (Click on image to enlarge.)




On the back side of the burrometer is Bill’s signature. He must have just started learning how to write cursively!


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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s  blog’s home page.)

Icicle/Water Droplet = Inverted Image (but not spring weather in Iowa … yet!)

March 25, 2013


Icicle Dripping. March 14, 2013

Icicle Dripping. March 14, 2013. Clicking on this photo will magnify the inverted image in the water droplet. (Click on image to magnify the droplet where you’ll see an inverted view of our backyard.)


I took these photos eleven days ago on March 14. When looking at this image (above) on my computer, I was excited to see the inverted sky/treeline/snow scene in the dangling water droplet. The image was our backyard, but upside down.

This principle is explained and further illustrated (via a beautiful photograph) at this link.

Within an hour of taking the photos, the entire icicle melted. I was excited that spring weather was just around the corner. Silly me!



This photo was taken eight minutes prior to the photo at the top of this post. If you click on this image to magnify it, you’ll see the spiral above the water droplet as the droplet starts to separate from the icicle. (Click on photo to enlarge.)



Top photo: Shutter: 1/4000 sec.; f/4.5; ISO 800; Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Bottom photo: Shutter: 1/1000 sec.; f/7.1; ISO 400; same lens

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

About Rolfe, Iowa, in 1976: “Smile (click) — the future awaits” (Part III)

February 23, 2013

In the January 30 post I included an explanation about the Rolfe Public Library’s 1976 project. That was the year of our country’s bicentennial. During that special year, over 1,000 photos were taken of Rolfe-area residents.

In the February 19 post:

A) I said, “That project was featured in a  1976 Des Moines Register column by Chuck Offenburger. The AP wire picked up Chuck’s article. The result was … drum roll … national recognition for the little town of Rolfe’s photo project.”


B) I included five pages of several clippings, etc. from around the country about Rolfe’s 1976 photo project.

The remainder of the articles, clippings and notes from around the United States are below and in the next post.

To Read the Those FUN Clippings …

1) Click on any thumbnail below to enlarge it and to see the images in slide show view.

2) To enlarge further, once in slide show view, click on “View Full Size” at the lower right of your screen. (If nothing happens when you click on “View Full Size,” you might need to scroll down a little on your monitor so that “View Full Size” is two or three inches above the bottom of your monitor.)

3) To enlarge even more, hover the mouse over the image to see a “+” sign. When you see that plus sign, click on the image and it will magnify even further.


Remember … more clippings are included in the February 19 post. More will be included in the next post. And, the original article that started all the hubbub is in the January 30 post.

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

July 2013 Rolfe Alumni Reunion and Rolfe Sesquicentennial: Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful

February 1, 2013

Before I post more regarding the 1976 Des Moines Register article about Rolfe that received national attention, here is information regarding the:

July 13, 2013, Rolfe Alumni Reunion ( and the

July 12-14, 2013, Rolfe, Iowa, sesquicentennial.


Today my oldest sister Clara posted on Facebook the following two entries.


The flyer to which she refers may be downloaded here.


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This next screen shot tells about the web site for the alumni reunion. Not only does the site present info about the reunion, it also includes dozens of links to information, photos and videos regarding this July’s sesquicentennial events, fundraisers (from which most anyone associated with Rolfe can benefit), and the town of Rolfe in general.




I will be tending to the Barr Art Exhibit on early Saturday of the weekend. But … I want to be EVERYWHERE! It all sounds so much fun and interesting. Not just for people who have been around the block a few times, but literally for kids of all ages. Starting the Saturday with the 5K walk/run sounds sweet!

I am especially looking forward to the Cemetery Walk taking place at noon on Sunday, July 14. The one-room school program at Streit Memorial Park on Sunday is also important to me; my dad attended that school (the one now at the park) in the 1920s when it was still in the country.

Saturday night’s rodeo sounds like an action-packed evening with something for everyone, even for someone like me who doesn’t wear boots and hasn’t been to a rodeo in decades.

On a side note about the rodeo, apparently the lights at the rodeo (formerly the football field) currently are not functional. The rodeo group’s fundraiser this year focuses on the lights, once again, becoming functional. Details are at the FAQ page of the reunion web site.

Mention of those lights makes me think of crisp fall evenings. The cadence of the RHS marching band before the game and at half time. Someone from the crowd hollering, “Put Lumpy back in!” And, Harold Calligan announcing the game.

Two other fundraisers* especially near and dear to me are:

1) tax-deductible contributions to help keep the RAMS Event Center (what remains of the school) a viable community facility and

2) helping the VFW women raise funds for replacing worn flags at the cemetery. Both of these causes are addressed at the reunion web site.

I digress.


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A little bit about the Rolfe Community School Facebook group is here in this next screen shot. As of today, the group has 112 members.




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*Of course, having prints of Mother’s watercolors available to help raise funds for the library is also very near and dear to my heart.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

The Monday after the Super Bowl … a National Holiday?

January 25, 2013

People who know me very well know I’m in favor of smaller government as opposed to bigger government. So, while I’m not all that excited about the government declaring more national holidays, I can’t help but be fascinated re: my nephew Josh Moore and his petition receiving so much publicity.

Yesterday, January 24, Josh launched a petition at The focus of the petition is for the Monday immediately following the Super Bowl to be declared a national holiday. One hundred thousand signatures are required for the petition to have a chance to receive official consideration by the administration. As of 6:20 PM today (one day after the petition was launched) there were 5,369 signatures.

In the YouTube video below, Josh is interviewed via telephone by Shepard Smith.

In addition to the video, I’d really like to post a bunch of photos from when Josh was a little boy! Like, when he, his brother, and Abby and Katie went to the field to pick Iowa sweet corn. (Priceless.) Or, when the four of them were in swim suits on the street curb eating Fruit Islands cereal. Or, when they were all out on the driveway making miniature pop machines out of boxes. Next to them was a great big (oven? refrigerator?) box. Josh had converted it to a huge Pepsi vending machine and wore it for his Halloween costume.

Josh has always been a creative spark plug for getting things done. Knowing Josh, it is fun and interesting to watch as the number of signatures increases.

On a side note, for anyone who is interested in children’s literature and a teachable moment, it seems to me that this petition could be paired in grades 4, 5, or 6 with Frindle by Andrew Clements.

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

Rolfe, Iowa: 1988 Quasquicentennial Parade — Part V

January 21, 2013

In separate previous posts I published the firstsecond, third and fourth of seven segments of the Rolfe, Iowa, 1988 quasquicentennial parade. Below is the fifth segment. All seven segments are about ten minutes in length.

The remaining two segments will be posted over the next few days.

Update 1-23-13: Today the last two segments were posted here.

If the video seems jerky, start it and let it play through (with its jerkiness) while you do something else. Then click to run through the video again. Doing so usually works for me.




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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

Rolfe, Iowa: 1988 Quasquicentennial Parade — Part I

January 17, 2013


This summer the sesquicentennial — 150th “birthday” — of Rolfe, Iowa, will be celebrated*.

From 50 Years Ago

In a previous post, I included a video of the parade and socializing from Rolfe’s centennial taking place in 1963.

From 25 Years Ago

The video below is the first of seven clips from Rolfe’s 1988 125-year celebration … its quasquicentennial. Each of the seven clips is about ten minutes in length. The original footage isn’t crisp; this online version isn’t either. Still, I think it is priceless.

Greg Lund, KCAU news anchor, was the announcer for the 1988 parade. DeAnn Cooper Sindergard assisted Greg with parade line-up details.

The 1988 video was initially in my parents’ (Deane and Marion Gunderson) collection. On the label is written (in handwriting not like that of any family member), “Parade — Rolfe, June 25, 1988, Sesquicentennial.” Obviously it is of the “quasquicentennial” parade and not “sesquicentennial.”

Over the next few days I’ll post the additional six clips of the 1988 parade.

Update 1-21-13: The second segment is posted here. The third and fourth segments are posted here. The fifth segment is posted here. Also, if any video seems jerky, start it and let it play through (with its jerkiness) while you do something else. Then click to run through the video again. Doing so usually works for me.

Update 1-23-13: Today the last two segments were posted here.



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*Rolfe’s sesquicentennial will take place July 12-14, 2013. The Rolfe alumni reunion will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2013. Information about the alumni reunion will be mailed by the end of January 2013 (or, if delayed, by early February). The alumni reunion committee will also have a web site offering many details about the three-day weekend.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)