Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tournament talk
November 20, 2010

Scores of bleary-eyed fans waiting to cheer
on Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke rode buses
through the early morning hours Friday to
make it to the Metrodome in time for Blue D
evils' 8 a.m. Nine-Man semifinal kickoff with
Lanesboro. If you think that six-plus-hour
ride was extreme, meet Chris Ostby.

Two years ago the senior two-way lineman
and his ox, Pum, walked roughly 420 miles
from Pembina, N.D., to St. Paul for
Minnesota's sesquicentennial celebration on
the first day of the State Fair because ... well,
take it from the man himself.

"My dad [Orlin] promised 50 years ago to his
neighbor, Delmar Hagen, that he would do it,

and I made a promise to my dad that I would
go with him," Ostby said. "After a few gravel
roads, we just hopped on Hwy. 10 and
started heading south. It was a fun time, lots
of memories."

The trip took 60 days, with overnight stops
at farms and along the roadside to recharge

"That's Chris, just a good-guy goofball,"
Goodridge running back Dillon Olson said.
"That's just something we do, coming from a
small town."

Pum, now 9, took the trip well but likely will
not be around in for the state's bicentennial,
when Ostby plans to again make the trek.

"We're just a big family up there; we take care
of each other and look out for each other,"
he said.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eric Ostby with Pum by the Old Pembina trail which has been preserved in a fence.

Arvid & Aaron Swenson at Rollag with Christopher Ostby and Pum

The latest pictures from Rob Crowe

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Pembina Oxen Trail Dream

This trail he travels with family and friends in tow
and his beloved Pum hitched up to his oxen cart.
What a sight they bring. Years seem to stop to an era of long ago.
Dressed in the attire of the Metis, to honor the people
that traveled the trails of long ago.
A dream he held when he was young
when helping a friend with his dream;
who said 'My friend you can do what I'm doing'
So the dream took hold and he kept it within his soul to follow through.
So today many years later this dream becomes his reality, spurred on by hope
To feel the wind and the sun upon his face
To walk the trails and hear the ghosts of long ago
To honor those who broke the way for furture generations
To hold fast the memories of long ago
and honor those whose lives they changed
Yes, a walk of a lifetime; and memories to hold oh so dear
The Pembina Oxen Trail of long ago
held oh so dear to one who found his dream come true
and feel the struggles and pain of the journeys of the
people of long ago.
Vicki Jean Seim
(Vicki is a cousin of Orlin)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Minnesota's Sesquicentennial Stroll: Walking The Pembina Trail & Trønder and Other Norwegian Descendants Gather in Minnesota

Minnesota's Sesquicentennial Stroll: Walking The Pembina Trail

by Steven G. Reynolds

Minnesota USA is nestled between the Red River of the North on its west, the
Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario on its north, Lake Superior and the St.
Croix River along its east and the midwestern state of Iowa far to its south. Boasting all its 10,000 lakes and many times that number of people with Norwegian ancestry,
Minnesota remains a land steeped in Norwegian heritage helped in part through the
unique efforts of a Minnesotan named Orlin Ostby who, with his family and friends are doing their part in its promotion. Beginning on July 1st, Ostby, a proud Norwegian descendent fluent in old dialect Norsk, has been walking steadily southward with an ox named Pum and a fur-laden two-wheeled cart from Pembina, North Dakota, at the extreme northwest corner of Minnesota and the Canadian border along a historical trade route called The Pembina Trail, to commemorate Minnesota’s Sesquicentennial of 2008.
Once traveled by thousands of ox cart trains laden with animal furs and bison hides and driven by the Métis, an indigenous French/Cree or French/Ojibwa mixed-blood people of the Northern Plains, the Pembina Trail was part of an arterial system of crude trails, later known as The Red River Ox Cart Trails, that were on the east and west sides of the Red River from the Selkirk settlements in Canada ( now Winnipeg, Manitoba) to St. Paul, Minnesota, a distance of over 450 miles. Fur and hides were transported by two-wheeled ox cart to the trading centers in St. Paul, then loaded with
l-r Steven Reynolds, Jackie Helms, Orlin Ostby, Mandy Ostby, Catherine Ostby, Christopher Ostby
(Photo by Mike Weber)

supplies for Red River settlements for the long arduous trip back north. Although ponies were used for a short time, once European settlers came into the territory with cattle, the Métis began using the stronger oxen to pull the carts and heavier loads. Oxen can be any breed of bovine, cow or steer, five years of age or older that is trained to pull a wagon or implement, such as a plow.
Ostby is re-enacting the walk with ox and cart completed by his friend and neighbor
Delmar Hagen in 1958 for Minnesota’s Centennial. Delmar, for whom Orlin worked as a 17 year old, encouraged him to do the same in 50 years for Minnesota’s 150th birthday.
Orlin helped Delmar train a Shorthorn breed ox named Napoleon to pull his ox cart
whereas 50 years later Orlin used a Holstein breed ox named Pum. Planning to follow the same trail Delmar had, Orlin soon learned that original portions of this trail are now all but impossible to find as they have been farmed under by aggressive farming practices, paved over as highways, or engulfed by urban sprawl. Reality determined that Ostby’s group travel gravel roads and the less dangerous stretches of modern highways as they averaged 10 miles a day walking besides the cart by-passing congested metropolitan areas for safety reasons.

Dressed in clothing symbolic of what the Métis wore during the ox cart period of
the mid-1800s, Ostby and his wife Amanda who is a Metis descendent, their 12 year old daughter Catherine and 15 year old son Christopher, Orlin’s cousin Tom Thronsedt, also a Norwegian descendent, and the family’s two friends, Norwegian descendent Steven Reynolds and Jacqueline Helms, a Métis descendent, began the 420 mile walk on the extremely hot week of July 1st 2008. Selling commemorative buttons and autographed t- shirts (even Pum autographed them) at county fairs along the way, Orlin and his group visited with people along the trail who often wanted to pet Pum or take photographs of the group, ox and cart. Ostby greeted people in Norsk to determine whether or not they were Norwegian and many times he was answered in kind especially by the older people who once spoke Norwegian at home as children.

One couple who had learned about the Pembina Trail walk via the website had crisscrossed the area in which the Ostby group was known to be walking and finally located them at a crossroad. Introducing himself, the man asked to walk with Orlin’s group for a mile or so while his wife followed them in their car. Telling Orlin that his wife had been born in Norway, Orlin turned from the man, went back to the woman in the car and blurted loudly in Norwegian, “[du er norsk!] “You are Norwegian!!” The woman fairly squealing in delight. The two stood on either side of the car door and excitedly chatted away in Norsk as the ox and cart and group including the woman’s husband, walked out of sight. The woman said Orlin spoke perfect old dialect Norsk and that it was so fun to talk to him.

The highlight of the six week trip, for Orlin, was the Tre Lag Stevne and the Trønderlag of America Centennial held in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. While there, he met several new cousins through his Trøndelag Norwegian heritage.

Trønder and Other Norwegian Descendants Gather in Minnesota
by Linda K. Schwartz

More than 300 people of Norwegian ancestry gathered for the “Tre Lag Stevne” Aug. 6-9, 2008 to learn more about their Norwegian roots. Their ancestors came from three areas: Trønderlag (like Orlin), Gudbrandsdal, and Nord Hedemarken. A wide variety of activities were presented for the group to enjoy: seminars about Norwegian culture and history, genealogy research with many resources, a tour of Otter Tail County, and of course, opportunities to meet and greet other Norwegian descendants. Between seminars, participants were able to meet Orlin and Pum outside the conference center.
Orlin, Pum & his newest cousin Torill Johnsen, who is Leder (Chairman) of
DIS-Norge in Norway. She lives in Oslo, Norway.
On Thursday, Aug. 7, a cast of more than 40 actors and musicians came from Rissa and Lensvik in Sør-Trøndelag, Norway to present a musical adaption and translation of Johan Bojers “The Emigrants”. The sold-out production was very professionally performed and well-received by the audience. Many commented on the superb quality of the music and the singers. Gunhild Øyangen and her committee from Rissa and Lensvik deserve many thanks for arranging for the play to go to America.

On Saturday, Aug. 9, the Trønderlag of America group took over with their Centennial Celebration and nearly 300 participants. The organization was founded in Fergus Falls on September 17, 1908 so it was fitting that they celebrate in the same place. Several genealogists with background from Trøndelag assisted with Trønder research in the genealogy room that morning: Barry Dahl (Rochester, MN), Margit Bakke (Flom, MN), Kris McCrea (Santa Clara, CA), Jo Anne Sadler (Glendale, CA), Torill Johnsen (Oslo, Norway), Oddgeir Fossli (Inderøy, Norway), and Jostein Molde (Trondheim, Norway). Many researchers discovered information about their emigrant ancestors for the first time.

Participants in the Centennial learned about each of the 120 charter members of the organization and enjoyed Norwegian music and dance throughout the afternoon and evening. Several descendants of the founders told the story of their ancestor. Seventy percent of the founders came from Nord-Trøndelag, 22.5 percent came from Sør-Trøndelag and less than 8 percent came from other parts of Norway.
Arna Rennen from Duluth, Minnesota, whose Trønder ancestry comes from Frosta, sang folk songs from Trøndelag. Hjorten Husorkester from Trondheim joined with the Tre Lag Stevne Musicians in the Centennial opening ceremony and later provided music for listening and dancing at the banquet. Mikkel Thompson, originally from Underwood, Minnesota now living in Sweden, together with his dance partners Ruth Sylte and Florance Thompson, demonstrated many folk dances from the Trøndelag region as he told the story of his immigrant ancestor, Nils B. Thompson. Anders Persson provided music for their dances.

As part of the Centennial, Trønderlag produced a commemorative book with short biographies of each charter member. All participants received a copy along with a special Centennial pin. A longer book, “Aarbok 2008,” will include longer biographies and photos of the charter members, along with others who emigrated from the Trøndelag region of Norway. Information about the organization and its publications is found on their web site:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Christopher, Pum and the Cart
Summer 2008 Issue

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pictures from Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Christopher, Pum and the granddaughters of S.M. Skrove,
a Charter member of the Trønderlaget in 1908.
l-r: Viola Behrends, Wyonne Adamson and Norma McCoy.
The "Little Women" were in their late 80's and had lots of fun at the Centennial
Celebration of the Trønder Lag at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls on
Saturday afternoon the 9th of August, 2008.

Orlin speaking with Gunhild Øyangen from Norway
Gunhild is the former "Minister of Agriculture" for Norway
and a former member of the Storting or The Norwegian Parliment.

Catherine, Orlin, Christopher & Torill

Resting after eating 3 batches of Rømmegrøt at the
Greg and Dee Dee Peterson farm at rural Fergus Falls.
Seated l-r: Deb Nelson Gourley, Margit Bakke, Orlin Ostby,
Dee Dee and Greg Peterson holding Lars.
Standing l-r: Tommy Thronsedt, Kris McCrea and Christopher Ostby.
Tommy had put in his order for Rømmegrøt and ate his fair share!

Random Trip Pictures

Thomas Philbrick, the boy who trained Pum and Kin and sold them to Orlin.
Pum is on the right and Kin on the left.

Orlin shares at a School along the way . . .

Sky along the trail

Beautiful Sky along the Pembina Trail

Steve and The Norwegian Lady.

Catherine, Mandy & Tommy dressed in Metis clothing

Orlin's son Tommy and grandchildren walking along.

WCCO Video

It's located here if you wish to view:

WCCO Video


Check out the WCCO video for August 10

Nicely done video by WCCO's Bill Hudson and his cameraman (I don't know his name as of this writing) Their editing and video taping is superb, capturing the flavor of doing this historic project in the 21st century. Excellent job! 

Although they spelled Catherine's name incorrectly, they also took the opportunity given them to get her in front of the camera where she should be whenever talk is of one of the family doing this walk in 2058 for Minnesota's 200th birthday. It's rather bias to imply only Christopher will do it when Catherine, or perhaps one of the grandchildren down the line, is fully capable. 

Women were along on the Metis ox cart trains in the late 1800s as integral members of the caravans--and just as importantly they're along on Ostby's walk for Minnesota's Sesquicentennial 150th: Amanda Ostby, Catherine Ostby of Gatzke, MN and Jackie Helms of Wannaska, MN began this walk beginning in Pembina, ND on July 1st, 2008 and will see it through to the Minnesota's State Fair in St. Paul, MN, on August 21st, 2008. You go girls!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

From Motley to Lincoln, Minnesota "Updated"

The cast of "Walking The Pembina Trail: Pembina, ND to St. Paul, MN 2008 il

  WTPT 2008: A Brief History

  The Metis, the French/Cree, French/Ojibwe indigenous people of the Northern Plains, took their entire family along on their lengthy ox cart trains along the arterial routes of what is known now as The Red River Ox Cart Trail, a 400+ mile trail system existing either side of the Red River of the North that carted furs and hides south to the Pig's Eye trading posts at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers aboard two-wheeled carts pulled by an ox or pony, and back north again loaded with full inventories of supplies, including firearm ammunition, for the new settlements along the way.
  So did Orlin Ostby. He had his wife Amanda Ostby, his 12 year old daughter Catherine Ostby, his 15 year old son Christopher Ostby--their 2 year old Blue Healer/Australian Shepard dog "Tiss," and one of their two almost-7-year-old oxen, "Pum," (the lefthand ox). Plus he had his cousin Tom Thronsedt from Jamestown, ND and two friends Steve Reynolds and Jackie Helms of Wannaska, MN who publish a magazine called The Raven: 'NW Minnesota's Original Art, History & Humor Journal' from that little town. It is Reynolds and Helms intention to write and publish a book about The Sesquicentennial Stroll: the experience of walking the Pembina/Red River Ox Cart Trail.
  Orlin worked for a neighboring farmer named Delmar Hagen who used a Shorthorn ox named Napoleon to pull a cart he made to St. Paul along the Pembina trail, to commemorate Minnesota's 100th birthday. In 1958, Orlin was but a lad of 17 when Delmar thrust upon him the notion that in 2008, 50 years from that time, he could make the walk for Minnesota's Sesquicentennial, it's 150th birthday. And so here we are, ox and all walking the Pembina Trail...
  Although lacking the 1000-1500 pound payload the Metis carts often carried, Orlin Ostby's wooden two-wheeled cart is indeed pulled by a single ox, this one named "Pum," a Holstein steer that still tipped the scales at over 2500 pounds four weeks into the walk and regularly captures the awe and imagination of all the men, women and children who fall under his strangely captivating spell. Meeting Pum close-up and personal gave people the opportunity to touch and experience an animal of this terrific dimension without physical barriers of any kind. A woman at the Perham, Minnesota fair, upon seeing him for the first time exclaimed, 
"He's AWESOME!!" 
which I immediately misconstrued on purpose: 
"Did you say, 'He's OXSOME? Then OXSOME, he shall be..."
It sure fits him.
  Everyone walked alongside or behind the cart, no one rode. Some days we'd walk 4.5 miles, other days we'd walk 13 miles, but we averaged between 6-8 miles per day overall. We all take Pum's health into consideration first. Everyone watched the ox for signs of discomfort or thirst and we got pretty good at reading signs recognizing that just as we were getting used to the grind Pum got used to the grind. At the close of every walk he was unharnessed and put into his own space, a portable electric fenced enclosure complete with fresh water, alfalfa hay and a pail of feed. He usually got 12 hours or more of good rest between each walk even if we didn't as visiting often took precedent over a good night's sleep. Calmly chewing his cud and lying down, he watched as visitors took pictures of him or patiently endured their adoration as they petted his massive head and horns, looked lovingly into his gigantic dark gray eyes, or stroked his flanks.
   Visiting with people was a priority--especially if they proved to be proficient in the Norwegian language as Orlin speaks the old dialect so well. As he said, "If you don't like people, you shouldn't do a walk like this..." I think he was his happiest among visitors, especially children whom he took delight in placing atop Pum's broad back when they expressed if but a hesitant desire 'to walk on the wild side'. Christopher lifted teenage girls onto his bovine buddy's back at the Fertile Fair.