Sunday, June 10, 2018

Opening Day

I have lifelong friend who is a talented writer. He wrote this essay and shared it with me. He has permitted me to post it here. I've added a few photos. 

He's capture the spirit of this annual event perfectly. I am fortunate to have a friend with whom I've been able to share it. Enjoy "Opening Day" by Craig Kirsch.

Opening Day

In this small central South Dakota town, it’s the biggest day of the year.  Bigger than the high school’s homecoming, bigger than the Fourth of July, and even eclipsing Christmas in terms of visitors and traffic.  It’s the opening day of pheasant season, in the heart of the best county of what is regarded as the number one state for ringneck hunting.  The city of Winner, located in Tripp County, a normally quiet community of 3000 residents, can boast of a proud tradition of excellence on the high school football field, as well as being the childhood home of Notre Dame legend Frank Leahy, but it's the area’s consistent abundance of the colorful game birds that it is most famous for.

The second or third Saturday of each October will find the small burg transformed into a thriving metropolis for hunters.  The normally tranquil town thoroughfare is packed bumper to bumper with four-wheel-drive pickups toting dog kennels, and drivers and passengers clad in blaze orange caps and vests.  Every motel room in town is occupied, and seats in restaurants are tough to find for that morning’s breakfast.  Come noon, however, the streets are silent and eateries unoccupied, for everyone is in the field awaiting the noon whistle, signaling the start of the hunting season.