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Star Tribune

High school mountain bike state tournament expects 1,000 racers

The Minnesota High School Cycling League, which continues to make more mountain bike racers of young people across the state, reaches the apex of its season Oct. 28-29 with the state championships at Mount Kato in Mankato.

More teams and riders are expected next year, too, said league director and co-founder Joshua Kleve in an interview e-mail Tuesday.

“I am very excited for what 2018 will bring. Our growth rate continues to hold at 30 percent, with new teams continuing to form across the state,” said Kleve. “We have great accessibility for those living around the Twin Cities, but more and more outstate teams are starting up.”

There were 1,286 mountain bike racers, representing more than 100 schools, during five races this season, the league’s sixth. The first race was in late August in Austin, Minn., and they have spanned across the state from St.Cloud to Duluth, too.

For the inaugural season in 2012, Kleve had 100 coaches for 151 student-athletes. Close to 1,000 riders (representing grades seven through 12) will race at the state championships.

While inspired by the league’s popularity, Kleve said he also is lifted by some teams’ commitment to giving back through their work on public cycling trails.

More details on the state championships are online at minnesotamtb.org.

Dawn of South Dakota's pheasant opener 25 years ago

 

What were the pheasant hunting prospects in South Dakota 25 years ago this month?

With the state’s pheasant opener a little more than a week out (Oct. 21) and on the heels of dire reports about ringneck numbers, a snapshot of hunts past is worthwhile.

Reports in the Star Tribune on Oct. 10, 1992, from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks were predicting “another excellent year” owing to brood surveys in late summer. “There is plenty of cover, and last winter was relatively mild, allowing a good carryover of pheasants,” according to the Star Tribune.

According to wildlife division director Doug Hansen:  “We estimated that we had about 5.5 million pheasants last year, more than any other year since 1963. Numbers from this year’s brood route surveys suggest 10- to 15-percent lower population, putting the figure at about 5 million birds. That is still the second-best population total in almost 30 years.”

In a brood report from counts this summer, ringneck numbers statewide plunged 45 percent, with average brood sizes the lowest they’ve been since at least 1949. Ice storms and record snowfall over the winter followed by extreme drought harshly limited the food supply for the game birds and damaged their nesting grounds.

Historically, Minnesota has accounted for nearly 25 percent of hunters from out of state who buy a pheasant license in South Dakota.

Minnesota has its own well-reported pheasant ills. The roadside survey count released in September showed the bird population has fallen 26 percent in the last year, mainly due to a loss of habitat as farmers keep more land for production.