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Bob Lind, Published April 01 2012

Lind: Pigeon prank outshines memory of basketball game

It was a big night for Ronnie Krueger and his friend Gordon Froehlich, both of McClusky, N.D.

They were freshmen at the North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University) and were going to their first basketball game between the AC and its arch-rival, the University of North Dakota.

It wasn’t the game that made the night memorable, however.

Ronnie says the game was either in late 1959 or early 1960. At any rate, the AC fieldhouse was packed, as it always was (and is) for contests between the two schools.

The excitement grew before the game started, as people cheered, shouted, clapped to the music – and when someone released several live pigeons.

The birds flew into the rafters and drew a big laugh. But when the game began, everyone turned their attention to the action.

Then it was halftime, and the Army ROTC drill team came on the floor and performed, marching and twirling their rifles.

Then they stopped, aimed their rifles at the ceiling and fired.

About three seconds later, a dead pigeon hit the floor.

Someone had smuggled it into the fieldhouse and threw it on the floor, making it appear the rifle team had shot it out of the rafters.

“Up until then, everybody had forgotten about the pigeons,” Ronnie says. “It was hilarious. The crowd roared with laughter.”

Gordon now lives in San Diego.

Ronnie, who still lives in McClusky, says he doesn’t remember who won the game that night. But he’ll never forget the Pigeon Prank.


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