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History of the Boosters

The Boosters began, in 1955 or thereabout with Joe Klis, Freddie Brynes, Frenchy Von Dell, Dick Borchardt, and John Murzyn Sr. They met in the field house, sometimes in the downstairs Boiler Room and then moved to John Murzyn’s Park Board office. A note was printed from a very old paper that was found by Gary Peterson that contained the following:

“To create an organization of community volunteers that will use all their talents and skills to raise money to support youth activities and athletics in Columbia Heights so that all youth who wish to participate in activities will not be denied as a result of not having the financial means to do so.”     ….quote from Joe Klis

This has been the our mission statement from the very beginning.  From this meager beginning – the Boosters have continually grown. The main fund raisers were the dance the day after Thanksgiving, held at the BelRae Ballroom Moundsview. There they sold the original wheelbarrow full of booze. Also, they had an annual fertilizer sale, in the parking lot of Leon’s Supper Club. Quite a few of the local businesses supported the Boosters: Wolfe’s Mr. Steak, Leone’s, Patti Homes, VFW  Post 230, Myron’s Cafe, Weldon’s Hardware, NE State Bank, IPC Printing among others.

In 1966 we began to present an annual award in the memory of Ron Wojciak, a young athelete who grew up in Columbia Heights and attended the University of Minnesota where he became an all-conference baseball player in the Big Ten. Ron was scouted by Angelo Giuliani and signed with the Twins in 1964, but lung cancer claimed his life before he could fulfill his dream of playing major legue baseball.

In 1967, through the hard work a a few other “Old Timers”, Dominic Hebzynski, Burton Klietz, Richard Borchard, Raymond Klempka, and John P. Murzyn, the Columbia Heights Athletic Boosters Club was incorporated.

In 1978 the Boosters had their first Golf Tournament, this year the 29th annual Tournment will be held on July 29th at Majestic Oaks. Jack Bartlett and Bob Ruettimann have been the driving force on this tournament since the beginning.

In March of 1986, there was a discussion by Gary Peterson and others on “getting a gaming license”. Cliff Shedlov, Verlin Vedders, Dale Hadrath met one Saturday at “Dick’s Place” to further discuss this item. In the beginning, Leon’s agreed to let the Booster’s rent space for $1.00 per year and  in April 1986, Donna Ferrand, Verlin Vedders and Cliff Shedlov set up a 6 foot table in Leon’s and began to sell pull tabs.            A few years later, through the efforts of Kingsley Wilson and Jack Bartlett, the Boosters purchased enough equipment to open a “Fitness Center” at the High School. When it opened in 1988 there were very few that had a fitness center and weight room that equaled what we had at this school.

In 1999, the Columbia Heights Hall of Fame was formed and since then 33 former athletes and community leaders have been inducted.  In the fall of 2011, new showcases were built and installed in the High School main hall way.  All of the inductees are shown in these beautiful cases.