(written by Bill Petersen, Archives staff)
A “sandbagger’s ball” might be a phrase used on the golf course to describe the golf ball of a person who lies about their handicap to gain an advantage in a tournament, but in the spring of 1965, the city of La Crosse hosted something else called the Sandbaggers’ Ball.
This particular ball was an event to thank the young people of the city for all their help rendered during the terrible flood that year. Sandbaggers’ Ball was chosen as the name of the event because of all the sandbags that local youth filled and stacked during the flood.
Sandbagging was just one of the services provided by young people. Many helped serve lunches to flood relief workers, distributed clothing to affected families, and made Easter baskets for children who had to leave their homes because of the high water.
The Sandbaggers’ Ball was held at the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium on Friday, May 21, 1965. The auditorium’s board donated the use of the auditorium for the event, which was attended by more than 3,000 youths. Music was provided by the Limeys, the Maurauders, the Ex-Chequers, the Sting Rays and the Buddy Frank Orchestra. Lindy Shannon, Roger Vogt and Lee Snapp were DJs and emcees for the evening’s festivities.
Aquinas High School senior Della Rudolph was crowned Teen Queen by Mayor Warren Loveland. Barbara Nestingen, a senior at Central High School, was the first runner up.
The Sandbaggers’ Ball was the culmination of what Mayor Loveland had proclaimed as Youth Appreciation Week. Other events held during the week included a Sandbagger Picnic at Copeland Park sponsored by the La Crosse Business Men’s Club and a Fly In-Drive In sponsored by the local Civil Air Patrol.