The North Bend Eagle


Eclipse golf
The 110 golfers participating the Cairo Solar Open took a break at the time of totality to savor the moment.

Local golfers follow the sun to total eclipse

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 6/6/06

Pete Balerud loves golf. Being the pro at North Bend Golf Course for this his 12th summer, he has seen and played a lot of golf. And he loves to visit other golf courses.

Balerud has a group of friends who he has made an annual trip with to Cairo’s Centura Hills Golf Course. The guy who has organized the trip for a number of years wanted to give the organization of it to someone else. Balerud stepped up volunteering to organize the trip for 2017. Last year, about this time, he realized the solar eclipse was going to be passing through Nebraska this August.

“I thought it would be cool to be on a golf course during the eclipse,” Balerud said. “Plus it’s a great course, one of my favorite courses.”

He called the Centura Hills Golf Course and asked if August 21 was open. It was. He booked it. Balerud thought he’d have no problem getting 100 to 120 golfers to join him to play golf and view the eclipse.

A lot of the players who went are on the North Bend Golf Course Men’s Monday Night League, so it was canceled. Balerud said that there were some not too happy about that, but they had the opportunity to go also.

“The eclipse is bigger than Monday night league,” league member Mike Hunke said.

A limousine was rented to take the 14 local people out to Cairo. People from Fremont and North Bend left at 8:45 a.m., picked up a few more in Columbus, and arrived at 10:20 for the 11 a.m. shotgun start. There were people from Omaha, Fremont, Malmo and Columbus, with over 100 golfers signed up, all paying their $110 in advance.

Balerud knows Omaha World-Herald sports writer Stu Pospisil casually. His in-laws are members of the North Bend Golf Course, so he was invited. Pospisil wrote a commentary about the day in the Omaha paper Aug. 22, page 1 of the sports section.

Sue Marchese, who just won the women’s state senior tournament (by 25 strokes Balerud said), participated. Balerud’s best friend from high school came from Sacramento, Calif., and another from Wichita, Kan. Balerud invited golf pros from Hastings and Grand Island to join them.

Once everyone arrived Balerud passed out the gift packs. In the packet everyone got a nice shirt, with all sorts of moon, sun, eclipse related items: Sun Chips, a Moon Pie, a can of Blue Moon beer, mini bottles of Skyy vodka and Fireball whiskey, Milky Way and Starburst candy, Orbit and Eclipse gum in addition to their eclipse glasses.

Balerud found a wine produced by Miletta Vista Winery in St. Paul that was made and named specifically for the eclipse called “Black Sun.” So he purchased a case of this wine, as well as Valley of the Moon wine, and Seven Moons wine, that were prizes.

Read the full story in the print or e-edition.

<<Back to the front page