Back home from North Carolina
Posted on 6/25/16
By Jake Kulland
As we write this week, I am just getting back from a trip to Salisbury, North Carolina from the National Sports Media Convention. I’m sure you heard this plenty already, but I was honored with being named the 2015 North Dakota Sportscaster of the Year. It seems late, but this is always the time of year when they hold the convention and give out the 2015 awards. The event was held over three days, June 18-20. Where do I begin talking up the trip. Dennis “Scoop” Throndset, who has been on countless trips with me to cover several area sporting events, accompanied me on the journey, which started out with a flight to Charlotte, NC.
From there we were bussed 40 miles north to Salisbury, a town of 30,000-50,000 people, depending on who you talked to. The next three days were like a whirlwind, as they had going from one event to another at almost breakneck speed. Over the course of our time there, we attended Legacy Night where they honored the Boston Globe on there years of fantastic sports reporting. Day two was more social events, and we got to know all sorts of people from all across the country from the sports media world. One minute we were visiting with a sports writer from Maine, the next radio people from Arizona, and then the Chicago Cubs beat writer from the Chicago Tribune, (Mr. T thoroughly enjoyed this, being a lifelong Cubs fan) and so on.
The big night was the last one on June 20, when the awards banquet was held. Chris Berman from ESPN and longtime college basketball analyst Billy Packer were inducted into the Sports Media Hall of Fame, and Doc Emrick and Tom Verducci were named National Sportscaster and Sportswriter of the Year. This was also the night where I received my award, along with state winners from across the land.
Seeing and meeting big names like Berman and Bob Ryan from ESPN, along with Emrick (Who is the lead NHL play by play man for NBC, and who also presented me with my award), was quite the experience to say the least. It was mission impossible not to be star struck and tongue tied visiting with people you have watched on television for decades. But I will say that every one of them was very gracious and very down to earth, and were actually all curious about life in North Dakota. They all knew of the NDSU Bison football team and most knew all about UND hockey. For one of many examples, Game 7 of the NBA Finals was on June 19, and here I am drinking a libation, watching and visiting about the game with Bob Ryan, one of the most legendary NBA sports writers in history. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief that actually happened.
What we can say about North Carolina is that is full of trees (They even have branches on their cell towers so they blend in, no kidding!), full of NASCAR fans (We drove past Jeff Gordon Expressway and Dale Earnhardt Boulevard), and it is also full of friendly people. When the local residents met both Dennis and I and finding out we were from North Dakota, the common response was, “Oh… Wow!”, “No way!”, or “You’re kidding!”, or a combination of all three. It was like they met an extra terrestrial of something. But all were very, very nice people. Some quick things on North Carolina before we end, gas was $2.15 a gallon (Diesel too!), beer when it was complimentary (Which it was a lot of the time) was five dollars, rain is rare there this time of year, and they LOVE Cam Newton.
Thron and I will have a 1,000 memories from the convention, and hopefully if I am ever fortunate enough to win this award again, he and I will be able to do it all over again.
Back to business
Now that we have returned from out east, our summer sports coverage will begin to get back on track. The Langdon Red Sox American Legion Baseball split two games with Harvey and also two with Cando in the past week. They are scheduled to play at Midway-Minto on June 27, and at Park River June 30. We hope to have coverage from the Midway-Minto games in next weeks Republican.
“See ya!” next week!