Cars, airplanes kicking off Buffalo Days 2014 celebration this Sunday

     The annual Fly-In Breakfast and Car Show are kicking off the 2014 Buffalo Days celebration this Sunday, June 8.

     Buffalo's annual early summer community festival, Buffalo Days, begins Sunday, June 8 and concludes a week later on Sunday, June 15.

     The Buffalo Days Car Show and the Fly-In Breakfast are getting things started on Sunday morning, both at the Buffalo Airport.  An air show at about noon is being planned.

     Meanwhile, the Buffalo Days Craft and Vendor Show will be underway in the Buffalo Civic Center.

     The opening Sunday concludes with the Buffalo Community Orchestra's annual free outdoor concert in Sturges Park at the Bandshell.  The music starts at 7 p.m.

     The week of Buffalo Days fun also includes: the KRWC Medallion Hunt, a carnival in the St. Francis lot near the post office, a Movie in the Park Thursday evening, Friday night fireworks at dusk, Saturday in the Park, the annual Saturday evening Buffalo Days Parade (6 p.m. along 5th St., Central Ave. and Lake Blvd.), and the Royalty Coronation Sunday evening, June 15, 6 p.m., at the high school.

     Besides the fireworks at Sturges Park Friday night, live music is being performed at the Bandshell.

     Saturday in the Park includes a 9 a.m. Kiddie Parade and countless other attractions, including the very popular Fishing Klinic for Kids, which is in its 17th year.

     The Buffalo Days Parade includes 100 units, and 11 of them will be marching bands.

     As always, Miss Buffalo will be crowned on Father's Day.

     A flyer with the complete Buffalo Days schedule, listing all of the events, times and places, was inserted in the Sunday, June 1 issue of The Drummer.

     You can find more information and the entire Buffalo Days schedule at (Look for the Buffalo Days and schedule links.).


Buffalo Days royalty candidates

Coronation June 15 at high school

Cami Daniels,


Justine Green,

Advanced Disposal -

Rolling Hills Landfill

Sarah Knack,

Keller Williams

Ashley Knutson,

Buffalo Hospital -

Allina Health

Marah Moy,


Morgan Pfleghaar,

Buffalo Lions & Lioness

Sydney Segelstrom,

Edina Realty


     Buffalo Royalty Princess Gabby Thompson, Miss Buffalo Maddi Yates and Princess Kailey Johnson invite you to join them at the many activities during Buffalo Days, June 8-15.  This year there are seven candidates vying for a Buffalo Royalty crown.  They too will be attending the activities during the week.  You can purchase a Buffalo Days button from them and help support the great community celebration and be entered into a drawing for cash prizes.  (Photos courtesy of Lori Ende Photography)



Buffalo becomes first city to sign with Trailblazer

Dog park plan coming together

By Rob LaPlante

     The Buffalo City Council meeting had an unexpected guest arrive on Monday, June 2.  Executive Director Gary Ludwig made a special appearance to speak to council members and Buffalo Mayor Brad Nauman on behalf of Trailblazer Transit public transportation services out of McLeod and Sibley Counties.

     The City of Buffalo became the first community in Wright County to sign a joint powers agreement with Trailblazer Transit.  The long going negotiations finally reached an agreement that will be effective July 1 and involve running three busses to serve the Buffalo area.

     The current contract the City of Buffalo has with River Rider will expire at the end of June.  So the need for a new transportation service had been rapidly in negotiations the past couple months.

     Earlier this spring, Trailblazer and Wright County had been in a bargaining battle, but just recently the county decided not to get in the way if Trailblazer wanted to work out agreements with the cities.

     The Minnesota Department of Transportation's (MnDOT) has been in favor of Trailblazer taking over as the transportation service in Wright County.

     "It's nice to see all smiles around here," Ludwig said. "We can assure three busses will be in service in the city on July 1. We are hoping to add 4-7 total busses down the road."

     Ludwig said Trailblazer hopes to eventually have a secure housing base located in Buffalo.



     A proposal was made to the council by Buffalo Rotary Club member Rainer Pensky on Monday, May 5 to add a dog park to the city.  It was recommended Pensky further discuss the matter with the Park Board.

     Pensky's meeting with the Park Board came up with a tentative plan to add a 1.2-acre dog park at a compost site east of Bentfield Mills Park.  The project would cost approximately $10,000 with the Park Board already coming up with project fundraisers and donations.

     Council member Scott Enter said the area is ideal.  Half the area is already fenced in, with the ballparks nearby.  The $10,000 would primarily be used for the cost to fence the entire 1.2 acres.

     Mayor Nauman was also in favor of the idea of putting a dog park next to a community playfield.

     "A lot of people like to bring their dogs to the fields in the summertime," Nauman said. "With a lot of summer activities going on, it would be an ideal spot to add a dog park."

     The Park Board originally turned down a spot near the airport, as well as a spot at the Lake Pulaski Shores Area.



     The council approved a proposal by Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Independent School District 877 Supt. Scott Thielman to approve a new three-sided electronic sign to be put in place by next school year at Buffalo Community Middle School.

     Each side takes up 96-square feet. The sign would have the BCMS logo and would have about 28 square feet on each side reserved for an electronic changeable copy portion, similar to Buffalo High School's electronic board listing daily and upcoming events and activities.



     The city council approved TC Bunkers and their application for the sale of on-sale liquor, as well as Sunday liquor sales at Buffalo Heights Golf Course.

     At the request of his physician, approval for a golf cart/ATV license for use within city limits for Larry Odenthal of Buffalo was granted. Odenthal is suffering from lung cancer and struggles with mobility, Buffalo Clinic M.D. Natalie Roeser wrote in her proposal to the council members.

     The approval was carried for a $69,964 investment for Russell's Security Resource, Inc. to provide an upgrade with the cities security and sensor systems. The system will provide imaging, both visual and infrared (thermal imaging), and allow for active notification of intrusion via messaging.



     The city accepted a $30 donation by Lester Bakke for a flag in honor of his son, Ken Bakke.  Likewise, a $30 donation by Leslie Trigg was accepted for a flag in honor of her father, Lester Bakke.

     Council member Paul Olson's environmental moment was a tip on a couple of household materials that can help prevent unwanted plants and weeds from growing in your yard. Simple products, such as distilled white vinegar and cooking salt and water, can kill unwanted plants and weeds.  Despite a bit of a toxic smell, Olson said the toxicity will disappear within 24 hours.



Honored citizen Ruben Bonk dies at 95

Ruben Bonk


     Ruben Edward Bonk, 95, of Buffalo passed away on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at Park View Care Center in Buffalo.

     Ruben was a former dairy farmer in Marysville Township and a past, longtime Wright County Assessor.  He was also instrumental in the founding of Functional Industries in Buffalo and served on its Board of Directors for many years. He was also active in the Wright County Historical Society Board and on the Marysville Township Board. In 1999, Ruben was selected Senior Citizen of the year for Wright County.

     He was born on Oct. 5, 1918 in Buffalo the son of Fred and Elsie (Johnson) Bonk.  Ruben graduated from Buffalo Normal School when he was only 17 and later taught in country schools around Buffalo for seven years.

     On Nov. 29, 1940, Ruben Bonk and Mildred "Millie" Perisian were joined in holy marriage. God blessed their marriage with nine children.

     He was a faithful member of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Buffalo.

     Survived by: children, Jim (Ruth) Bonk, Linda (Alvin) Bodin, Vicky Endreson, Rick (Peggy) Bonk, Mike Bonk, and Randy (Lisa) Bonk; son-in-law, Bob Buckley; 13 grandchildren, Jarrod and Ryan Bonk, Tracy (Ron) Sadowski, Tim (Jen McInerney) Endreson, Tony Endreson, Kelly (Joe) Prestidge, Holly (Shawn) Corbin, Rachel (Randy) Bethke, Kristy (Jim) Niedzielski, Tatyanna, Andrew, Wyatt, and Riley Bonk; 11 great-grandchildren, Ethan Endreson, Kayla McInerney, Taya and Atley Endreson, Luke and Macy Prestidge, Lindsey Pelletier, Avery and Cole Corbin, and Kayla and Nathan Niedzielski; a sister, Marion Lacina; 3 sisters-in-law, Myrtle Bonk, Dorothy Schindler and Bev Elsenpeter; and other relatives and friends.

     Preceded in death by: his wife, Mildred "Millie" Bonk; children, Dale, Ronald "Curly" and Marlene Buckley; parents; four brothers, Willard, Ray, Ted, and Ed Bonk; and by three sisters, Sylvia Varner, Ruby Kuhlman and Marie Hayes.

     Funeral services for Ruben Bonk were scheduled on Tuesday, June 3 at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Buffalo. Pastor Roger Klemz officiated.  Interment followed at Lakeview Cemetery in Buffalo.  A visitation was scheduled on Monday evening, June 2 at the church.  Further visitation was scheduled on Tuesday morning an hour prior to services.

     Honorary casket bearers were his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

     Casket bearers were: Nyles Gentz, Rod Pederson, Steve Mauer, Raymond Schmidt, Bill Cruikshank, and Vince Lundeen.

     The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo served the family.


BHS freshman qualifies for state track meet in wheelchair event

     Buffalo High School freshman Jayson Gorton is a first-time state qualifier in the 800-wheelchair run. Gorton is the lone participant to represent the Bison at Hamline on June 6-7 at the Class AA state tournament.  See more in Sports.  (Submitted photo)



BHS golf boys advance to state meet

     The Buffalo High School boys' golf team is posing with their Section 8-3A championship trophy after shooting a 599 on May 27-28 at Greystone Golf Course in Sauk Centre. Pictured (left-right): Josh Fischmann, Gunnar Goodmanson, Hunter Bruhn, Jake Ramsey, Dylan Kumlin and Ben Zitur.  See more in Sports.  (Photo courtesy of Steve Bruhn)



Bollant wins medalist honors to go to state

     BHS senior Lexi Bollant won medalist honors at the section golf championships to advance to the state meet.  See more in Sports.  (Photo by Rob LaPlante)



Skateboarding accident claims life of teen

Jacob Jones

     A 16-year-old Buffalo High School student died due to a skateboarding accident on Tuesday, May 27 in Greenfield.

     According to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, the incident occurred around 5:15 p.m. at Harff Rd. and Holloway Farms Rd.  The skateboarder was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center.  He had sustained a head injury and died on Wednesday, May 28, according to an obituary prepared by the Peterson Chapel in Buffalo.

     A sophomore at Buffalo High School, Jacob A. Jones, 16, lived in St. Michael.  Among survivors are: his parents, Mona and Ryan Edick, and Craig Jones and Katie Carlson; and siblings, Craig Jones Jr., Rylea and Victoria Edick and Payton Jones.

     "Jacob's passion to be a Marine Hero was never fulfilled.  However, Jacob will be a hero to potentially 68 people whose lives will be saved or improved through the donation of his organs and tissues," according to his obituary.

     A public visitation, which a great many people attended, took place on Sunday evening, June 1 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hanover.  Funeral and visitation for family and close friends was scheduled on Monday, June 2 at the church.

     To honor Jake's love for animals, in lieu of gifts and flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Crossroads Animal Shelter in Buffalo.

     The Peterson Chapel, St. Michael/Albertville assisted the family with arrangements.

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Golden Gloves champ now coaching

Former football player Jon LaPlant discovered talent in the ring and now helps young boxers discover their talent

By Ed DuBois

     A former high school and college football player continued working out after his school years, and after getting to know workout buddies involved with mixed martial arts and boxing, he discovered he had talent in the ring.  He ended up winning the super heavyweight belt in the world's biggest Golden Gloves boxing tournament, the Ringside tournament in Kansas City.

     Growing up in Cokato, Jon LaPlant played football at Dassel-Cokato High School, where he graduated in 1998.  He played some college football at Ridgewater in Willmar and at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

     His parents, who now live in the Annandale area, are Steve and Karen LaPlant.  His older brother, Jason, is a distance runner and has completed several 100-mile ultra-marathons.  Little sister Tricia has enjoyed success in fitness contests.  After having a baby, she went to work getting back into great shape.


Ring talent

     Jon was a fan of "Ultimate Fighter" on TV, and he was intrigued when he met MMA (mixed martial arts) participants at a gym in St. Cloud.

     "I'm a competitive guy, and I have always worked out and lifted weights," LaPlant said.

     Seeing the same guys at the gym all the time, it was easy to get to know everyone real well.  LaPlant began MMA training, and it wasn't long before he was invited to compete in the ring.

     "My first cage fight was in 2009 at Ready Randy's near Somerset, Wis.," he recalled with a smile.  "I had three days notice.  My coach said I was ready and asked if I would go."

     At 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing 205 pounds, LaPlant, who has an 80-inch reach, was significantly bigger than his opponent, "a shorter wrestler."

     Just before the fight, LaPlant's foe was "barking."  The coach in LaPlant's corner suggested all the noise was being made out of fear.  A few punches ended the barks.

     "Everyone has a plan until he gets punched in the face," LaPlant commented.  "I think Mike Tyson said that."

     The opponent was knocked down after about 20 seconds, and he was knocked out with a punch to the jaw at 59 seconds.


Cage fights

     LaPlant won again later in Rochester.  He said he actually won twice.  After winning with a guillotine chokehold, the fight was continued, and then he won again when the referee stopped the fight.

     LaPlant said he considers himself 4-0 in cage fights, but in Mankato he won when his opponent tapped out, but then the fight was continued and he ended up losing.

     "That was before we had a commission and rules," he explained.  "Today, the fight is over when someone taps out."

     His fourth and final cage fight was at the Black Bear Casino near Duluth, where he won with a chokehold.


Few weapons in boxing

     His record was not as good after his first Golden Gloves boxing matches.

     "Boxing is quite a bit different than MMA.  In boxing, you have just two weapons, your two fists.  In MMA, you can use your fists, your elbows, your legs, and there's takedowns and holds.  You have all kinds of weapons in MMA," LaPlant said.

     Inexperience was a primary reason he lost by decision in his first boxing match, which took place in Wadena.  But he said he figured it out after a while.

     At the Medina Ballroom in his second boxing match, he was surprised to face a taller opponent.  (Few boxers are as tall as LaPlant.)  He said he was discouraged when he lost by decision again, but he was determined to improve.

     "I wasn't going to quit with a losing record," he said.

     In his third boxing match, he fought the same guy he had lost to in Wadena, but his time LaPlant won by knockout in the second round.

     "I was more experienced by then.  My conditioning was better.  I used my jab better, which set up my power shots," he explained.


Tae Kwon Do opponent

     He tried kickboxing in 2010.  Facing an opponent with a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, he fought and won by decision at an event in Minneapolis.

     "I was better at boxing, and he had better kicks," LaPlant recalled.

     His fourth Golden Gloves boxing match was in Brainerd, and he won by knockout in the second round.

     During a regional event in Wadena, he was hampered by an attempt to lose weight and move down from the super heavyweight class (201-plus pounds) to the heavyweight class (178-200 pounds).  LaPlant said he had lost about 30 pounds in 3 weeks, and he lost his fifth Gold Gloves fight.

     "That was my last fight for a few years.  I was 2 and 3 in boxing, and then in 2013, my coach asked if I wanted to fight again," LaPlant recalled.


'Straight forward at you'

     As a super heavyweight fighter, he entered a regional event at Wadena in March 2013 and won when his opponent did not answer the bell for the second round.  He said in a situation like that, the victory is considered a knockout.

     The victory qualified him for an Upper Midwest Gold Gloves event in April 2013 at the Palace Casino in Cass Lake.  Only two super heavyweight boxers were entered, LaPlant and one other fighter.

     "I won my first belt," LaPlant said.  "My opponent could take a punch, and he just kept coming.  He was a tough guy.  The fight went three rounds, and it was a war."

     LaPlant is so big, fancy footwork is not his specialty.  He described his style as "straight forward at you."


Much bigger venue

     Next was the national tournament in Salt Lake City.

     "I probably had fewer fights than anyone there.  I had seven fights, and there were others who had hundreds of fights," LaPlant said.  "That was intimidating."

     He had a bye in the opening set of fights.  In the second set, he faced a fighter from Knoxville, Tenn., and the fight went all three rounds.

     "I had him close to a knockout, and there was a standing eight count.  But I ended up losing a split decision," LaPlant recalled.

     "I was nervous.  There were so many people watching!" he further commented. "But I learned from the experience.  I learned to forget the crowd; it's just you and him in the ring.  I learned that I belonged there with the best boxers from across the country.  And being there, and making it to the national tournament, boosted our program in St. Cloud."

     He mentioned enjoying some white water rafting while he was in Utah.


Kansas City Ringside

     When it was time to enter the huge Ringside tournament at the end of July 2013 in Kansas City, LaPlant was ready to make good use of what he had learned in Salt Lake City.

     Ringside is an annual event that attracts about 1,500 boxers from all over the USA and beyond.  To win a belt there, you have to box four days in a row.

     On Wednesday that week, LaPlant won a fight with an opponent from Florida.  On Thursday, he defeated a fighter from Oklahoma by knocking him out in the second round.  Many spectators were supporting the Oklahoma boxer, so when LaPlant won, he was booed.  He was puzzled at the time, and now he seems amused by it.

     His Friday opponent was from Maryland.

     "He was 6-8, which made him taller than me, but he never showed up," LaPlant said.  "I got a free pass to the championship fight."


Devised a pla

     LaPlant and his coach had watched his final opponent in previous action.

     "We saw him swing a lot in the beginning of his fight, and we devised a plan to wear him out.  I blocked his punches and waited for openings," LaPlant said.  "In the second round, I dropped him for a knockdown.  After that, he became more of brawling boxer, which was an advantage for me.  I dropped him again."

     He explained that a third knockdown would win the fight, and he had his opponent dazed toward the end of the fight as he trapped him in a corner and punched him repeatedly.  The referee stepped in and stopped the fight.

     LaPlant said a referee stoppage is considered a knockout.

     He was presented a Ringside World Champion belt.


Now coaching

     Looking back now with an 8-4 record in boxing, he said he has not ruled out a return to the ring, but at 33 years of age, he has shifted his focus to coaching kids in the Golden Gloves program.  They start at eight years old.

     About five years ago, a larger place to train was needed for the MMA fighters and the Golden Gloves boxers.  St. Cloud's first creamery building, which had served as the old East Side Boys and Girls Club in more recent times, was available, and it had 10,000 square feet of space.  It's just across the river to the east of the downtown area at 101 Wilson Ave. NE.  LaPlant decided to buy it, and now he is involved with coaching the young boxers, working in their corner during their fights, and he is looking into possibly becoming a certified Golden Gloves coach and a ringside official.

     He works as a carpentry subcontractor in cabinet making and often travels far to project sites.  Between jobs, he regularly shows up during evening Golden Gloves training sessions.  Anywhere from 10-15 participants show up regularly.

     "I like working with the kids.  It's fun seeing their improvement, and I have seen how it helps their discipline," LaPlant said.

     He recognizes that some people are critical of the violence in the sport, but it also offers some positive benefits.


Kids, community

     Golden Gloves is supported by funds from charitable gambling (pull-tabs).  The cost for the kids is only $65 a year.  LaPlant mentioned that some of the funds received by the program are donated to people who have needs.  For example, Golden Gloves has donated to an organization that supports children with autism and their families.  LaPlant said Golden Gloves is about "helping the kids, and helping the community."

     His gym, which is called St. Cloud Golden Gloves Boxing, could send five boxers to the next Ringside event in Kansas City this summer.  He mentioned that a ten-year-old girl could be one of the top contenders for a Ringside World Champion belt.

     LaPlant, the former football player, was 28 years old when hanging out with MMA and Golden Gloves fighters helped him discover his potential in the ring.  Now he enjoys discovering the potential in the younger boxers.