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Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).
Reproduced exactly as published in 1971 - no updates, no corrections.


photo: sports

  FRED PARKER and friend, "Knibbs" ready for a toboggan - ride. Parker ran the Brainerd Electric Streetcar Co., and was the grandfather of Brainerd's Parker Campbell. His father, C. N. Parker, ran the C. N. Parker & Topping Foundry in early 1900s.

Games, Sports Popular Even In Early Days


Games and sports were flourishing in Brainerd even in its first decade, the 1870s. The first baseball club was organized in 1873 when a clearing was made in the heart of the town for a ball park. The ladies made the suits of white flannel, trimmed with blue and a big 'B" on the chest. The team played mostly with soldiers at the Fort although other trips were made, such as to Fargo.

Baseball enthusiasm reached its peak some 40 years later when Leslie "Bullet Joe" Bush brought fans to his home city by winning his World Series game from the New York Giants. When he returned to Brainerd the entire population turned out to see him.

One hundred and fifty high school students stayed after in school until 5 o'clock for an entire week as a penalty for cutting school to see him.

Even football, in an unorganized fashion, was played as early as 1872 when a crowd of men gathered in the streets and "kicked a large round ball high above the trees." Football, for years, was the leading high school sport with the 1908 team standing out during its early history.

photo: sports

  THE FLYING QUEENS added a colorful note to Brainerd's independent basketball play in 1927. Up from an unbeaten season in high school competition the previous year, the team included (left to right) front row: Edna Turner, Helen Beggs, Gladys Reuter,. Iva Trask, Kay Nolan; back row, Edna Fogeistrom, lone Hollingsworth, Katherine McGarry, Alta Storm, Gladys Smith. Girls' basketball was abandoned at Washington high school in 1926. The Flying Queens played preliminaries to men's contests featuring the Rainbows, who were managed by Les Peterson.

Old timers also recalled many sleigh rides, toboggan rides and races on homemade speeder skates. An ice skating rink was advertised in 1872-73. Bicycle racing also was popular. The lakes in and near Brainerd also provided good times, fishing, swimming, rowing, canoeing, sailing and for wild game the region ranked supreme. The country was a paradise for hunters -- countless deer, bear, moose, ducks, geese, partridges and prairie chickens.

Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).

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