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.

Darrell "Bozo" Wincek 1939 - 2021

Bozo Wincek, Gopher's beloved leader and friend to all in the officiating community, passed away on September 28, 2021 after a courageous battle with cancer.

A 21-whistle salute to our friend and leader, Bozo Wincek.

We will strive to be more like you in all that we do.

Read more about Bozo

A visitation was held on Monday, October 4, 2021 from 4-8pm at Kozlak Radulovich, 1918 University Ave N.E., Minneapolis, MN 55418.

A funeral was held on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 1621 University Ave N.E., Minneapolis, MN 55413. The funeral service was followed by a lunch. Following the service and lunch, Bozo was buried at Gethsemane Cemetery, 8151 - 42nd Ave, New Hope, MN 55427.

October 3, 2021

Bozo's obituary was published in the Star Tribune. The funeral, which will take place on Tuesday, October 5 at 11 am, will be live streamed.

September 28, 2021

With great sadness, Gopher State Officials Association announces the loss of our beloved leader, Bozo, after a courageous battle with cancer. We have all lost a great man, an awesome man, a man of great character, purpose, and passion, as well as a true friend.

Bozo dedicated his life to service. Bozo was fully invested in serving schools, coaches, officials, Activity Directors, and the MSHSL. Most importantly, high school student-athletes in the State of Minnesota were the winners. Bozo was a proud father-figure to all Gopher officials.

Bucky Mieras, Orono High School Activities Director said, “Bozo has been a true champion for MSHSL activities. He has been a huge part of so many lives by supporting and creating lifelong memories through participation. Bozo has demonstrated the values of sportsmanship and he spent countless hours teaching officials and communicating with coaches and AD’s the importance of creating an optimal learning experience. Bozo has excelled for students and teams throughout Minnesota and he will be greatly missed.”

Bozo worked tirelessly for Gopher State Officials Association. Bozo took the reigns as Gopher’s leader from Don Bertek when he retired in 1997, and has been the Secretary for Gopher State Officials Association ever since.

Over his more than 50 year career officiating baseball, softball, basketball, and football, Bozo estimated he officiated more than 50,000 games.

In 2015, he was inducted into the MSHSL Hall of Fame.

Bozo’s family was extremely important to him. Karen and Bozo were married in 1963. Bozo said, “I couldn’t have accomplished all the good things in Gopher or been able to receive individual and association awards without Karen’s help.” Karen and Bozo have three wonderful children: Jacki, Michelle, and Michael, as well as two fantastic grandchildren Nicole and Jessica.

Click here to read more about Bozo's life, family, and his impact on high school sports and Gopher State Officials.

A 21-whistle salute to our friend and leader, Bozo Wincek. We will strive to be more like you in all that we do.

KARE 11 Prep Sports Extra tribute to Bozo Wincek on October 1, 2021

Gopher Officials Most Recent News

(Click here to read important updates from Gopher)

October 18, 2021:

Basketball season is fast approaching. Gopher's assigner, Rick DeGardner, sent out a letter with a lot of information to all of the basketball officials. Read the letter and check out the Basketball page to get up to date on working for Gopher in the 2021-22 school year.

October 15, 2021:

The Gopher State Board of Directors sent out this letter to the Association's members today regarding the new structure of Gopher's Board and our vision going forward.

October 5, 2021:

Bozo Wincek passed away on September 28, 2021. Our beloved leader since 1997, Bozo was laid to rest on October 5, 2021 at Gethsemane Cemetery in New Hope after a funeral at Holy Cross Church in Minneapolis. Bozo will be dearly missed.

Basketball Update, 9/27/21:

The start of the high school basketball season is just over two months away! I wanted to provide some general information and timelines regarding Gopher State Officials assigning process for the upcoming basketball season.

Conferences and schools are finalizing their basketball schedules so we will start inputting games into GotOfficials soon. We hope to start assigning games the week of October 25th.

Please send Rick DeGardner a quick email at on whether you plan on working basketball for Gopher State Officials for the 2021-2022 season. Also, include any information that has changed since last year including your availability, level(s) of games preferred, city where you typically leave for games, preferred partners, preference of 1 or 2 games, etc. Please do this by October 18.

Even though Gopher State has requested schools to move some games to non-Tuesdays/Fridays, we expect Tuesdays and Fridays are going to be extremely busy. Please do not accept any Tuesday and Friday games January - March from other associations. Gopher State will certainly have enough games to assign all available officials every Tuesday and Friday beginning January 4, 2022 thru the end of the season. I anticipate Thursdays are going to be really busy also.

More details including meeting information, scrimmages, game fees, dues, etc. will be sent out mid-October.

Dues Payments now available online.

Click here and follow the instructions to pay your association dues. Each sport has its own payment screen, so make sure you are paying the right sport!

Basketball dues: $90, $3 processing fee, total owed: $93.00.

Softball/Baseball dues: $80, $3 processing fee, total owed: $83.00.

KARE 11 story on shortage of officials featuring Gopher State Officials from October 19, 2021

Gopher State Officials in Action

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Gopher State Gear

Gopher State Officials Gear is available for purchase. We have crew neck sweatshirts, quarter-zip pullovers, and polo shirts. Take a look at the photos and descriptions on the flyer and contact Mike Madden at (612) 859-0626 to purchase.