From left to right, Mike Folstad, Don Hagen, Nate Christensen, and Keith Haugstad with the traveling trophy which will grace the SGFD this year. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED
From left to right, Mike Folstad, Don Hagen, Nate Christensen, and Keith Haugstad with the traveling trophy which will grace the SGFD this year. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED
Teams from all over Fillmore, Houston, and Winona Counties gathered in Preston on Feb. 1 for the annual Tri-County Fire Department Bowling Tournament.

When the dust settled, a group of Spring Grove firefighters had won the day.

"It's the first time the SGFD has won it," Kieth Haugstad said. Keith competed on one of two Spring Grove teams, rolling with Mike Folstad, Don Hagen, and Nate Christensen. Contestants can be active or retired members.

"We played 8 pin no-tap," Haugstad added. That means that a team must get 8 or more pins on the first ball to count as strike, and shoot all other spares. The double elimination tourney was originally open to the first 16 teams to enter, but this year's field quickly grew to 18.

Organizer Shelly Hanson said that the Tri-County Firefighter's Association has hosted the tourney for at least 20 years.

The association was formed in 1967 to increase cooperation and mutual aid between departments, aid in training for members, and promote fellowship between firefighters within the area. In addition, the group seeks to promote "understanding of firefighters' problems to the governing bodies."

The site this year was B&B Olympic Bowl. After an early-round loss to a team from Rushford, the Spring Grove foursome had to work their way through the losers' bracket and then defeat the same team (which hadn't lost yet) twice.

"We took the long way," Keith said. "But it was just a good time for all. Fire department versus fire department. It's kind of nice to have the trophy in Spring Grove for a year.