Eleven-year-old McKenna Brown pulled herself out of the Roosevelt Park pool and her mother, Sally, immediately wrapped her in a large towel. Shivering, McKenna kept the towel tight against her body to keep out the blustery winds.
Two weeks removed from the dry heat of Phoenix, McKenna isn't used to North Dakota yet.
"It's freezing," she said.
Jeremy Axtmann eyes his shot as it nears the basket during the 2008 Prairie Rose State Games Disc Golf competition Saturday at Polaris Park.
McKenna and her two brothers, Kalvin, 14, and Jerold, 9, moved to the Magic City about two weeks ago because their father, Landy, got a job with Pure Energy.
All three children participated in swimming events at the 2008 Prairie Rose State Games Saturday.
Other than the wind, the first thing McKenna noticed about Minot was its color.
"I've never seen this much green in my life," she said. "(In Arizona) it's brown and dead and everything. And hot."
The Browns have been staying at the Grand International Inn for two weeks while waiting for someone to buy their house in Phoenix. They like the Inn, but miss the spaciousness of a home.
"We aren't there most of the time, but when we are there it gets on you a little bit," Kalvin said. "It wasn't so bad the first week, but it grows on you a little bit."
Still, the Browns say they're feeling at home in Minot.
"Everyone has been so nice, so we are happy to be here," Sally said. "(Landy) is from Deaver, Wyo., a town of 170 people. I'm from Lionel, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. We are very pleased with the swim team. Nancy (Beck) is awesome."
"It's a little cooler, but it's nice to get away from the heat," Kalvin said. "Minot's been pretty nice to us so far."
Ken Torkelson, 64, of Bismarck, decided to try inline skating (aka rollerblading) 16 years ago. He bought a pair of used skates, put on his hockey gear and went to a parking lot after dark.
"I didn't want anybody to see me," he said. "I skated around a couple of times and it went well. The next day I was out on the path."
He's been doing it ever since.
On Saturday, Torkelson competed in the mile time trial, 5K and 10K inline skating events at the 2008 Prairie Rose State Games. It's become a tradition.
"Every year they've had the inline skating at the state games I've been there," he said. "I think that's about 16 years. It's always fun to see other skaters and compete on other courses. Minot's Oak Park has always been the best course in the state. This one (Roosevelt Park) is a good one too."
Torkelson was non-athletic until he took up running at age 38 on the advice of his son, a track and field runner.
"He thought I'd do OK at it," Torkelson said. "I ran quite a bit after that and he didn't run so much anymore. He took up rugby."
Torkelson continued running for about eight years until an Achilles injury sidelined him. After that he tried biking before eventually settling on inline skating.
"It's a great sport. People who are running and worried about impact, there's virtually no impact in inline skating," said Torkelson, a retired editor/writer for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Torkelson's favorite aspect of inline skating?
"I really get a kick out of going on the bike path and passing people on their bicycles. Especially younger people."
Hand is mightier
Thirty-year-old Jeremy Buchmann of Beulah appeared strong and self assured dressed in a dogi and sporting a closely-cut mohawk. Of course, he has to be confident to break wooden boards with his bare hands and feet.
The second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, who was competing at the 2008 Prairie Rose State Games Saturday, has broken as many as eight boards using the knife-hand strike. The secret, he says, is to focus through the board.
"If I look at the top board I will stop there. It's a mental thing," Buchmann said. "But if you look for the ground and try to aim for the ground - that's the best way to break."
Buchmann trains at Kary Martial Artz of Beulah/Hazen under head instructor Joe Friedlander, a third-degree black belt.
Buchmann has been practicing Tae Kwon Do since 1997 and earned his black belt five years ago and his second-degree black belt two years ago. While cracking boards, Buchmann has fractured a heel and has had many a sore appendage. He still keeps at it, tolerating the pain to accomplish his goals.
"To me, I know it is going to hurt, but it doesn't go through my head at all. It hurts, but it's a lot of excitement knowing I made it through," he said. "Usually you don't feel the pain right away. But in about 30 seconds you'll be shaking your wrist."
Frielander explained the purpose of board breaking in Tae Kwon Do.
"Breaking demonstrates focus and power," he said. "It's a defining moment. Anybody can dance around, but to demonstrate the power - that's where board breaking comes in.
"You can't break anything unless you believe you can break it."
Keeping up with
Ty Jones is supremely confident in the golfing ability of his 6-year-old sister, Jaci.
"Someday she'll be on the LPGA," he said. "She has the enthusiasm that will take her there."
Early indications are pointing towards Ty's theory as Jaci shot a 9-hole 44 at Jack Hoeven Wee Links to finish first in the 5-6 age group during the 2008 Prairie Rose State Games. She was the only competitor in her age group, but her score would've topped most of the girls in the 7-9 and 10-12 age groups.
When Jaci grows up, she wants to be as good as her favorite golfer - her grandfather or, as she calls him, Pa-pa.
"He plays so good," she said.
Ty did all right for himself, taking second in the boys 10-12 age group behind Taran Albright. Ty has high goals for himself, but is realistic.
"My goal is to be on the PGA," he said. "If I don't make it I'll still be the best golfer I can be."
Father/son make waves at Prairie Rose
Two generations of Gokey hit Roosevelt pool Saturday.
Langer Gokey, 57, and his son Rob, 18, both competed in the swimming portion of the 2008 Prairie Rose State Games. It was the first time either had swam in the same meet at the same time, providing a different feel for Langer.
"I don't get to swim against him which is a good thing, because he'd probably thrash me," said Langer, a former high school swimmer. "There is a lot more pressure when I am watching him during high school because I want him to win. This is a lot more fun. He's doing his thing and I'm doing mine. We're just out here enjoying the day.
Rob, who graduated from Minot High School an accomplished swimmer, will be attending Georgetown University next fall. He is planning to swim there too.
While most meets are fairly serious for Rob, Saturday was all about fun.
"It's fun to see (my dad) swim because I know he enjoys it," Rob said. "He tries to give me a lot of advice because he swam back in the day. It's really fun because I get to hear about how it was back then and how it was different."
The first time Kari Keys, 11, challenged a trail with her mountain bike she was intimidated. By the time she conquered it she was ready for another.
"I never did it before and I was going to go up this big hill," Keys said. "It was almost the same size as the butte, maybe a little smaller. I made it up and then I went down. Now it's not scary anymore. I love to mountain bike now."
Keys continues to bike, even competitively. Saturday she finished second in the kids mountain bike race at Black Butte during the 2008 Prairie Rose State Games.
Taking first was eight-year-old Leo Sremgen. Both Sremgen and Keys were introduced to biking by their parents.
"My dad likes to bike race so I wanted to start bike racing," Sremgen said. "It's fun. You get exercise and you get to be outside."
Both plan to keep riding.
"It's a great thing to do and I love it," Keys said. "Everyone should do it."
Couple works with disabled bowlers
Zach Johnson is a full-time student at North Dakota State University. He also has four jobs, but the most rewarding one is driving a handicap bus for the Fargo Park District.
He gets to meet many inspirational people. None moreso than the four he and his fiancee, Kristin Kuettel, oversaw during disabled division bowling at the 2008 Prairie Rose State Games Saturday at North Hill Bowl.
"They are so much fun, always making jokes all the time," Johnson said. "They are never down because of their disabilities."
The foursome - Karen Hanson, Carl Rosolack, Nancy Starr and Sandra Glass - made the most of their excursion.
"I love it when I bowl all three games over 100," Starr said. "All I know is it's a lot of fun."
Johnson and Kuettel met while both were working at a Cash Wise foods store in Fargo. It wasn't long afterwards that the two became engaged.
They still work together at Cash Wise and have since added another common bond - both work with the disabled through the Fargo Park District.
Johnson and Kuettel are hesitant to use the word disabled to describe the foursome, who were putting up high scores.
"They are very able people," Kuettel said. "They get around their disabilities and they really enjoy life and whatever they are doing."
Johnson also drives a bus on Tuesdays for the Happy Rollers, a collection of mainly adults with Multiple Sclerosis.
"We pick them up at their houses and do different things every week. We go to restaurants and then they go do activities," he said. "It gives them a chance to get out of the house. They enjoy it and it's something for them to do."
Kuettel is pursuing a double major of early childhood education and elementary education at Minnesota State University-Moorehead.