Favorite hangout for outdoors folks, Brenna’s bait shop closed in 1997

100 years ago, June 15, 1922

• Erhard Creamery Burns

Monday evening at about eight o’clock, the local fire department received a call from Erhard stating that the creamery there was on fire. They responded immediately, going down with the chemical truck, but the fire had gained so much headway that the building could not be saved. There were two houses near, which would have burned, no doubt, had not the fire been kept under control. It is understood the creamery was well insured, but at any rate, it was a big loss to the community.

75 years ago, June 12, 1947

• Henry Olson’s Body Recovered From Crystal Lake

On May 17, it will be recalled, Henry Olson and two companions of Moorhead were thrown into Crystal Lake when their boat capsized. While two were rescued, Mr. Olson was drowned, and all efforts to find the body at that time were unsuccessful. Last Sunday afternoon, Walter Olson, a brother of the drowned man, discovered the body about two miles from where it had gone down. The strong winds and waves had drifted it that distance.

• Seven Injured When Cars Crash North of Town

Early Sunday morning, some young people were returning home from Detroit Lakes, where they had spent Saturday evening. One car, driven by Gerald Bakken, who was accompanied by Helen and Rebecca Pearson, attempted to pass another car just north of town on Highway 59, north of the junction with old No. 30. He lost control of the car, but while it did not leave the highway, it rolled over several times, going about 180 feet. When stopped, Rebecca Pearson was pinned beneath the wreckage, the other two being thrown clear. Raymond Teigen and Arthur Erickson, who were in the car that Bakken attempted to pass, stopped to assist the unfortunate members when another car, driven by Stanford Thompson of Barnesville, came along and hit the Bakken car and released Rebecca from the car, but also hit Teigen and Erickson, hurling them into the ditch and rendered them unconscious but not seriously injured.

Doctors and an ambulance from town were summoned to give first aid and take the injured to the Pelican Valley hospital. The cars were almost completely wrecked.

50 years ago, June 15, 1972

• Moorhead Teen Drowns After Boat Collision

A Moorhead youth drowned in Pelican Lake Monday night after the boat in which he was a passenger collided with another boat.

The body of John Buslee, age 18, was recovered at about 10 p.m. Tuesday by members of the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Water safety patrol. It was found in about six feet of water, fifty feet from the shore of Broadwater Beach on the south shore of the lake. Buslee was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Loren C. Buslee of 1009 South 11th, Moorhead.

Search operations began at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and divers were summoned to aid in the search later in the morning.

Buslee was a passenger in a boat operated by another Moorhead youth, David Stene, 18. Stene was taken to the Pelican Valley Health Center and then transferred to St. Lukes’s hospital in Fargo. The sheriff’s office reported that he suffered a broken arm and bruises in the mishap.

25 years ago, June 18, 1997

• Sport Shop’s Impending Closure May Mark End of “Socia-bulls”

Lee Brenna says he’ll soon be for another site for “socia-bulls,” a social gathering of men that’s been a tradition at the sport shop in Pelican Rapids for two generations.

Brenna is closing the door of Brenna’s Sport Shop later this summer. Good Samaritan Center, his neighbor to the north, has purchased his real estate and has plans for a new parking lot.

But Brenna isn’t anticipating early retirement or even taking a couple of days off each week. His month-long recuperation period at home after breaking his leg last winter convinced him of that.

“When I was laid up for about a month… I decided I didn’t need any more time off,” related Brenna. “Next time I break a leg is soon enough.”

Instead, he’s planning to be unemployed “the time it takes to cross the street.”

Brenna has been hired to work at the new bait shop added to Park Region Co-op’s self-service station and convenience store at the corner of Highway 59 and Hwy. 108 West, 100 North Broadway.

“I’m excited about my new job,” he said last week. “I’ve never had a real job.”

Actually, he’ll be returning to Park Region, where he worked part-time three winters in the mid-70s when he was a high school student.

Park Region is purchasing his inventory and much of his equipment; when the new shop is ready to open, he’ll close. “I can be here until the 18th of August,” he said.

Although he’s been considering selling his business for some time, Brenna says, “I really didn’t want to go at this time.”

He’s enjoying his seven-day-a-week job after his forced lay-off earlier this year, and there’s the question of where to hold the “socia-bulls.”

The socia-bulls in the back room of his shop often center around a crockpot bubbling with some sort of wild game. He dates them back to when Cy Lynnes owned the shop a generation ago in the 1960s. Lee purchased the business on January 1, 1977. Lee’s father, Mike, was among Cy’s friends who started the socia-bull sessions, a combination social gathering/bull session.

Now it’s Lee’s generation meeting regularly behind the shop with many of the sons of Cy’s friends included.

“The game feeds in the backroom have been great,” said Brenna, who has become noted for his wild game culinary skills. “You wouldn’t believe some of the things we’ve eaten.”

Venison and bear are standard backroom fares. He’s also served up mud turtle stew, muskrat soup, smoked raccoon, and of course, fish.

There was the one time on a fishing trip when Brenna cooked up a huge batch of spicy salsa in a large pot with a no-stick lining. Once the men ate their way to the bottom of the pot, they discovered the lining had disappeared. The salsa had eaten the lining right out of the pot.

The pot never made it home, but the men reportedly suffered no ill effects.

• Park Region Sport Shop Open Soon

Work is well underway on the addition to the Park Region Cooperative town mart convenience store at 100 North Broadway in Pelican Rapids.

The 20 x 31-foot addition is for a new sport shop that will sell fishing bait and tackle, hunting ammunition and supplies, and sporting goods.

“The board thought maybe there should be a sports shop in town,” said Dave Huseby, manager of Park Region Cooperative. He explained that people were concerned about being able to buy bait in town once Brenna’s Sport Shop closed.

“Depending on how it goes, we’re hoping to open the first of July,” he said.

The new shop will be connected to the convenience store, but will also have its own outside entrance, says Huseby. During the “off-season” months, the outside door will likely be locked.

The business will be called Park Region Cooperative Convenience Store and Sport Shop “unless we come up with something better,” said Huseby.

Once the new shop is ready for business, Lee Brenna will walk across the street from his sport shop and run the new shop for Park Region.