Mother Nature puts a damper on Tiger fans’ excitement
Katie Zerr –
The euphoria felt by fans of the Mobridge-Pollock Tigers as the team earned a berth in the State A Boy’s Basketball Tournament by beating the Miller Rustlers Monday, March 4, was quickly tempered by Mother Nature.
As fans left Pierre, it became apparent that snow squalls driven by high winds would make the going slow. So slow in fact, that many residents didn’t make it home Monday night.
In typical March fashion, winds gusting to 50 miles per hour kicked up any snow on the ground and kept it flying horizontally.
According to those making the trip, the roads were dry, but it was near zero visibility.
Kathy Dockter said her family left Pierre soon after the game ended, but the 100 mile trip took them more than three hours to complete.
“It was slowing going and was hard to see,” she said. “There was a group of vehicles traveling together and you just kept sight of the taillights.”
Mobridge-Pollock High School Principal Andrew Overland said the visibility was spotty and hit zero in some places, but there was really not that much snow falling. He said he just watched the lights ahead of him and made the trip in just more than three hours.
Sharon Martin, her daughters and some friends who went to the game, kept in contact with other parents along the way. Reports about the terrible visibility made Martin decide it was time to find a safe place to ride the storm out. On the north side of Onida she knew she would need to find a place to stop. They pulled off the highway at Agar, finding an open business, and she inquired about a place to stay.
A volunteer fireman from the Agar crew overheard the conversation and offered the new fire station as a safe haven for the night. He followed the car to the new firehouse and made sure the group was safely inside the building.
Martin said she and the girls made beds with new bunker gear that was hanging in the lockers. It wasn’t very comfortable, but the group was safe and warm through the night.
Early Tuesday, they continued their trip home.
Others stopped for the night in Gettysburg as the trip north on Highway 83 had become increasingly difficult in the areas with heavier snow cover.
According to Mobridge Tribune Sports Editor Jay Davis, who was one of the fans that decided Gettysburg was the best choice, the hotel had three rooms sold before the Mobridge-Pollock groups filled more than 30 rooms.
The player bus sat in the parking lot of the Pierre Wal-Mart until nearly 1 a.m. until the wind subsided a bit. The team made it home after 3 a.m.
“It is kind of an understanding day up here today,” said Overland.
– Katie Zerr –