August 30, 2022 at 6:22 p.m.

Border Battle brings together local towns

Border Battle brings together local towns
Border Battle brings together local towns

By Evan Michealson- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Melrose, Sauk Centre Lions clubs form community-minded competition


Melrose and Sauk Centre have long fostered a rivalry when it comes to its local sports, a product of small-town, fiercely-loyal fan bases. 

In advance of the fall sports season, the Sauk Centre Lions and Melrose Lions clubs are coming together to provide a fun “frenemy” bonus to these highly-anticipated competitions: the Border Battle trophy. Starting this year, Melrose Area High School and Sauk Centre High School will earn points throughout the year’s sports season to decide the winner of the annual Border Battle. 

“Melrose and Sauk Centre already have this teammate system for wrestling, for boys swimming, so a lot of the kids know each other, but they’ve also had this intense rivalry for decades,” said Paul Kluempke, Melrose Lions member. “The Lions wanted to demonstrate to those student-athletes that we support what they do, and we have interest in their achievements. We want to see them be successful.”

The Melrose and Sauk Centre Lions have operated out of separate districts for over three decades, but given their proximity, came together four years ago to start a cooperative event, the Wine, Beer, Liquor and Cheese Tasting night. 

“It really started out with the Wine, Beer, Liquor and Cheese Tasting, and our two clubs started to collaborate together to work together, one Lions club with another as opposed to against each other, and developed a friendship and camaraderie,” said Bob Dickhaus, Melrose Lions president. 

It was during the first planning meeting for this year’s tasting that the towns brought up the possibility of an added incentive to the upcoming fanfare-filled activity season, but the members were not sure of the legality of putting on the Border Battle with Minnesota State High School League guidelines. After meeting with Melrose Area Public Schools activities director Jonathan Ruoff and Sauk Centre Public Schools activities director Scott Bergman in the spring, the clubs were given the OK to move forward with their idea.

Jason Kerfeld, Sauk Centre Lions member, worked with All-Star Trophies and Awards in St. Cloud to get a trophy made, with the Melrose Lions and Sauk Centre Lions splitting the cost evenly.

The activities directors submitted a list of 16 activities that would be included in the Border Battle: football, volleyball, girls swim and dive, girls tennis, boys and girls cross-country, boys and girls basketball, dance teams, speech, baseball, softball, boys and girls track and field and boys and girls golf. The winner of each event, determined either through head-to-head competitions or finishing higher at an invitational or meet, would gain a point, and whoever ends the year with more points is the victor and will hold onto the Border Battle trophy until the following year’s winner is determined. 

“The trophy is the same as the Axe (Paul Bunyan’s Axe) or the Pig (Floyd of Rosedale),” Kerfeld said. “It’s something to physically represent it and to document the rivalry over the years.”

The Border Battle point totals will be updated every week in The Star Post and Sauk Centre Herald.

This spirited showdown, which includes only regular-season activities and sports, goes far beyond simply achieving hardware. The losing Lions club will award either a $500 scholarship to the rival school or a $500 donation to the other school’s booster club.  

“It’s a fun challenge, something to keep our clubs connected and keeps our schools connected,” Kerfeld said.

Both Lions organizations hope that this Border Battle not only maintains a long-standing tradition of friendly competition, but gives people another reason to attend these sporting events. In the end, the catalyst behind Sauk Centre and Melrose’s new Border Battle is to support the towns’ wondrous group of student-athletes and activity participants.

“In the end, the kids win,” said Russ Reller, Melrose Lions member.



You must login to comment.


Top Stories

Today's Edition