July 19, 2017 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  Dale Champ is the 2017 Flekkefest Grand Marshal
  Dale Champ

Dale Champ is an institution in Elbow Lake. Since Champ and his wife Joy moved to Elbow Lake in 1967, (he lives in the same house by the way), he was been a teacher, coach, served has a city councilman, on many different boards and commissions, including both the Thorson Memorial Library Board, and the Viking Library System Board, the Power Commission, and the West Central Minnesota Communities Action Board. Champ was instrumental in getting Tipsinah Mounds Golf Course built and served as president of the board for the first 20 years of its operation.

So when the Flekkefest Committee looked for a Grand Marshal for its 40th Anniversary celebration, it knew just the guy to pick.

Dale Champ was born in Barnesville and raised in Glyndon, Minnesota, where he graduated in 1956. He knew from the beginning he wanted to teach industrial arts and coach, so he went to Moorhead State Teachers’ College, as it was called at the time.

The summer after he graduated, he hadn’t so much as gotten an interview for a job yet and was out cultivating corn, when he was called to the phone.

“It was Dan Mjolsness, who was superintendent in Tintah at the time,” recalled Champ. “He interviewed me and offered me a job, but it was for teaching science.”

Champ said Mjolsness really just wanted him to coach basketball and told him all he had to do to teach science was just stay a week ahead of the kids in the book.

“I was going to take the job, but then a day later I got an interview in East Chain, where they wanted me to coach and teach Industrial Arts. It was an easy choice.”

Champ taught and coached at East Chain during the early 1960s and became chairman of the Southern Star Conference. A couple of years later he received another call from Dan Mjolsness, who was now superintendent at Elbow Lake/Wendell, offering Champ a job.

“I came up for an interview and saw the new gym that the school had just built. Once again, it was an easy decision.”

Champ taught at Elbow Lake/Wendell, from 1967 until 1985, and coached boys basketball for 19 years. His Golden Eagles won the District 21 title in 1970 and 1972, when there was only one class in the State of Minnesota. He was named District Coach of the Year both times and Elbow Lake/Wendell Teacher of the Year in 1970. Champ was named to the Minnesota High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009.

In 1985, Champ became Principal of the Elbow Lake/Wendell High School, serving for the next seven years.

Following his retirement as principal, Champ tried a few other things and served on the Elbow Lake City Council from 1993 to 2007.

Joy, his able partner for all those years and the biggest fan of his basketball teams, passed away after 51 years of marriage. She also worked for the local school system, and the two enjoyed going to basketball games as fans of the WCA Knights when that school formed. The couple have four children; all boys, Kevin, Kyle, Tim, and Todd.

“I had the pleasure of coaching all four of them,” Champ says proudly.

Champ enjoys recalling great games and great players he has coached, and in listening to him you can really appreciate his love of sports, and storytelling.

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July 18, 2017