Gopher State Officials Association

Since 1965, serving members of the Minnesota State High School League by providing high school officials in baseball, basketball, football, and softball and educating officials who are members of the association.

Gopher Officials Most Recent News 

Click here to read important updates from Gopher

last updated April 15, 2024 and includes information about 

the Gopher State Recognition Event

Gopher State Recognition Event

The inaugural Gopher State Officials Recognition Event took place on April 7, 2024. Photos and a description are below. Looking forward to seeing everyone next year!

Basketball Update

Congratulations to the Gopher basketball officials who have been selected to work the 2024 girls and boys state tournaments! Those officials receiving assignments are:

GIRLS Tournament: 

Rob Bissonette, Dawson Blanck, Cheryl Bolitho, Joe Bollant, Andrew Cook, Ryan Grams, Tristan Hardt, Rich Kellerman, Nick Litfin, Keesha Pringle, Dayna Rethlake, Toby Sackett, David Schmeichel, Pat Sobiech, Jeff Thomas, Jason Weber, Gina Zech, 

BOYS Tournament:

Rick Baker, Tony Dahl, Adam Dehnicke, Cole Fasching, Stephen Kent, Dean Kockelman, Dan Kvitrud, Austin Lagesse, Craig Laird, Ryan Luessenheide, Tom Middagh, Pat Molan, John Mulder, Bob Selz, Chris Tengwall, Aaron Walton. 

CONGRATULATIONS to all of our Officials that will represent Gopher State in the MSHSL girls & boys basketball tournament this year!

MSHSL Distinguished Service Award

Congratulations to retired Gopher three sport official Gary Sipe, who worked for Gopher for 32 years. Gary was selected by the MSHSL to receive a Distinguished Service Award. From the high school league website: 

This award is designed to recognize and reward those individuals who go above and beyond in service to their fellow officials. This does not require but could involve service to the MSHSL. This award is not based on the person’s ability or skill as an official but is dependent upon the leadership and service provided. This award is for officials who have made a difference through long-term service and commitment.

Gary will receive his award on Saturday, March 23 at half time of the boys' basketball tournament Class 1A championship game.


Gary joins several other Gopher officials who have received this honor since the award began in 2010. They are: 

2010 - Don Bertek, 2011 - Steve Makowske, 2012 - Arnie Mavis, 2013 - Mike Madden, 2014 - Bozo Wincek, 2015 - Greg Swan,  2016 - Paul Nesvig, 2017 - John Monson, 2018 - Clark Worthington, 2019 - Tim Litfin, 2020 – No awards due to COVID, 2021 - Mark Stange, 2022 - George Winn, 2023 - Rick DeGardner.

Congratulations Gary, and well done on your service to officiating!

Gopher Officials Recognition Event 

More than 100 attendees came out for Gopher State Officials' inaugural recognition event. A great dinner, program, and awards were presented to Gopher officials. Award winners included

Bozo Wincek Award: John Monson

Football Rookie of the Year: Lisa Schuler

 Basketball Rookie of the Year: Keesha Pringle

 Softball Rookie of the Year: Tom Knoblauch

 Baseball Rookie of the Year: Dan Kvitrud

Gary Sipe was also recognized for his 2024 Distinguished Service Award

Along with the awards, MSHSL Associate Director and Coordinator of Officiating Services 

Jason Nickleby talked about his time working for Gopher State early in his career.

We look forward to seeing you at the next one!

Photos from the 2024 Recognition Event

2024 Distinguished Service Award

Gopher State official Gary Sipe was recognized with the MSHSL Distinguished Service Award at the most recent boys basketball state tournament. From the MSHSL description:

From the Gopher State Officials Association, let’s meet Gary Sipe of Rockford. Gary was a servant leader of the association and has been instrumental in the group's success by serving in multiple roles in 32 years of service to Gopher. He was a tireless advocate for football, basketball, and softball officials of the Metro Area, serving as a mentor to scores of individuals. Gary recruited several officials to the Association who went on to experience continued success and advancement.  Gary is a compassionate and graceful leader who put Gopher State Officials on the road to notable and inspiring success.

Congratulations Gary, and thank you for your service to Gopher State!

Previous winners of the MSHSL Distinguished Service Award from Gopher State

Gopher State Officials in Action

Last updated November 30, 2023


Bozo Wincek

A tribute page for Gopher's longtime leader Bozo Wincek has been added to the site. It is available here, or under the "About" tab up above.

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