Faces: Black Woods Blizzard Tour raises over $1.6M for fight against ALS

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Brian Carlson, vice president of the Itasca County Agricultural Association and District 8 representative of the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs, from left, Tammy Anderson, president of the ICAA, and Leo Trunt, District 3 commissioner for Itasca County.
Contributed photo

Itasca County Commissioner Leo Trunt was recently selected Minnesota Fair Person of the Year by members of the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs, which includes 95 fairs statewide.

Trunt has been recognized for his many years of association with the Itasca County Fair since his years in 4-H, serving on the parks board and helping to secure funds for handicap accessibility on the grounds; COVID-19 funding; serving meals each year at the Senior Bean Feed during the fair; supporting efforts to expand the fairgrounds; install water and electric into the fairgrounds campgrounds; and seeking funding for the repairs of buildings due to winter snow damage.

Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps has won a 2021 USDA Forest Service Eastern Regional Volunteers and Service Award in the Cultural Diversity category. The Eastern Region Awards recognize individuals, organizations and partners for their exceptional work in five categories: Enduring Service, Leadership, Restoration, Cultural Diversity and Citizen Stewardship & Partnerships.

Nomination from Gavin Hale, acting Eastern Region heritage program manager: "Hitches spent with USFS are often highlights for these young adults who crave hands-on field experience and who genuinely value learning about the professional pathways of the many USFS employees who host these projects. Since 2015, the National Forests of Minnesota both Chippewa and Superior National Forests, and recently Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin, have partnered with NBHPC crews to conduct a wide variety of maintenance, construction and rehabilitation projects on historic USFS recreation and administrative facilities. Over the last three years, 91 NBHPC corpsmembers have dedicated nearly 14,000 hours to preserving historic USFS properties."

Learning notes

Briana Klobucher, of Ashland, earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.


Gretchen McCurley, of Hermantown, graduated with a master's degree in Family Nurse Practitioner from Bradley University in Illinois.

Haley Brickner, of Grand Portage, earned a master's degree from University of Central Arkansas.


The Black Woods Blizzard Tour raised a record amount provide support to individuals battling ALS. Kent Hrbek, former Minnesota Twins player, from left, Ron Gardenhire, former Twins manager and coach, Cullen Flaherty, co-owner of Black Woods Grill & Bar, Terry Steinbach, former Twins player, and Julie Thoreson, co-owner of Black Woods Grill & Bar.
Contributed photo

The Black Woods Blizzard Tour raised an all-time record number of dollars to provide support to individuals battling ALS. The three-day snowmobile ride concluded Feb. 5 at the celebration dinner at Greysolon Ballroom in Duluth. Over $1.6 million was raised this year in the fight against ALS.

Minnesota Twins alumni Terry Steinbach, Kent Hrbek and Ron Gardenhire were among the over 250 snowmobilers who participated in the 23rd annual tour, and who helped put the event fundraising total over the $1 million mark for the sixth year in a row.

“If you happen to get this terrible disease of ALS, you now have the best chance of beating this because we are changing the projection of ALS. Everyone in this room has made a difference: from the riders, to the sponsors, to the doctors bringing new ALS trials to Essentia Health,” said Black Woods Blizzard Tour board chair David Kolquist.

The Black Woods Blizzard Tour has now raised $15.2 million in its 23-year history and has seen increases almost every year.

Orthopaedic Associates of Duluth presented a $30,000 donation to Chester Bowl. Pictured: Dr. Samuel Harms, back, Shyanne McGregor, doctorate of physical therapy, left, and Amber Berg, occupational therapist/licensed, certified hand therapist.
Contributed photo

During Chester Bowl’s inaugural race Feb. 6, Orthopedic Associates of Duluth presented a $30,000 donation for the continuation of development and expansion of programs and infrastructure. During this event, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Friendly Duluth, 93 skiers and snowboarders age 3-16 took to the slopes. This year was especially inspirational for young athletes with the start of the Winter Olympics, many envisioning themselves getting to the medal podium in future years.

Chester Bowl is working toward expanding and updating the chalet, making it more Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible and user-friendly, as well as upgrading the heating, ventilation and air conditioning facilities in order to make it a better year-round facility.


Scholarship opportunity

Several scholarships are available from the 8th District MN State Horticultural Society for 2022. An applicant must be a graduating senior residing or attending school in the 8th District (Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, north and south St. Louis counties) or a non-traditional student, college student or second-time winner who will be attending a college or technical school within one calendar year; no restriction as to course or school.

The applicant must include an essay that provides evidence of an interest and participation in horticultural/gardening activities, such as a home garden, work experience, organized group such as 4-H, scouting, church or community gardens or through their school. Applications must be received by March 15. The winners may be invited to the 8th District MSHS Spring Meeting (tentative, depending on COVID-19 restrictions).

Contact Jan Dzwonkowski, of Gilbert, at 218-865-6018 or for an application and more information.

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