Was Oliver 'Flop' Garnier (Pine Ridge) the best catcher in the history of SD baseball

From the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame…

The Pine Ridge man, Olivder ‘Flop’ Garnier was picked as the outstanding baseball player in South Dakota for the 1900s by the Argus Leader during the state’s centennial in 1989.

Garnier had his best years in the late 1920s, when major league teams expressed an interest in him. In all, he played 51 seasons of town team baseball, mostly as a catcher, starting when he was 9 and ending when he was 60 in 1968.

Of his baseball memories, at the top was a game in Chadron, Neb., where Pine Ridge lost 2-1 to famed pitcher Satchel Paige’s traveling team “on an error in the ninth.’’

  • Garnier was one of the original organizers of the Sioux Trail amateur league. In 1927 he organized, managed and played for an all-Indian all-star team picked from the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations.

  • When he was 30 in 1938, he batted .750 for a team in the Billings, Mont., league and his strong arm drew raves as he threw out potential base-stealers.

  • He batted .500 with Gordon, Neb., in 1939.

  • Seven years later he was still productive enough to play in the state amateur tournament in Watertown as a pickup player. Garnier said his fondest baseball recollections dealt with the youngsters he worked with in organizing Little League at Pine Ridge.

Garnier was a certified official in basketball and football for more than 50 years. At age 77, he reffed a football game in Pine Ridge. He also umpired Basin League baseball games in Pierre, Rapid City and Sturgis.

He played on the first Thorpe boys basketball team, known as the Oglala Indians. He hunted and trapped, was a saddle bronc rider and police officer and was a lifelong horse rancher.

Oliver Flop Garnier 1932 basketball.png

Garnier is a member of the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and the Pine Ridge Reservation Hall of Fame.

In 1989, he was honored at the Lakota Nation Invitational basketball tourney for outstanding service to Lakota youth.

Blast from the past: Do the Colome Cowboys have another title run in them


A really fun week in Colome last week as the Cowboys celebrated Homecoming Week. One of the really cool things Colome did was bring back as many of the players from the 1988 state championship team. Three of the fellas pictured in the Cover photo for this blog, Vince Thieman, Troy Dufek, and Arron Davis all have sons on the 2018 team. Thirty years later and Colome is still rolling as evidenced by their 68-16 Homecoming win over Gayville-Volin.

By Rich Winter

Well, well, well, here we are heading to the end of September and Ben Connot’s Colome Cowboys have absolutely been ripping the competition.

Colome results:

Defeated Centerville - 72-6

Defeated Tripp/Delmont/Armour/Andes Central/Dakota Christian - 54-6

Defeated Burke - 62-12

Defeated Gayville-Volin 68-16

For those of you keeping score at home the Cowboys have outscored the competition, 276-40.

And, along the way, Connot has developed some additional weapons.

Check out Riley Shippy on the double-revers and please note the terrific block from Calvin Ringing Shield.

While the first four games of the season have been a chance to work on things and get better, Friday’s matchup against Brian Haak’s Alcester-Hudson Cubs looks like it could be one worth watching.

The Cubs have been equally impressive with a 4-0 record, including a win over Corsica-Stickney

Beat TDAACDC 34-12

Beat Avon 53-0

Beat Corsica-Stickney 26-14

Beat Scotland 34-12.


TOP RETURNERS: Eli Skoglund, Sr., QB/CB; Jadon Micke, Sr., RB/DB; Ethan Reed, Sr., TE; Trevor Stene, Sr., S/LB; Jaxon Doering, So., WR; William Kolleck, Sr., C/LB; Blake Hummell, Sr., OL/DE; Izaak Reed, Jr., WR.

COACH QUOTE: "We need to play a more physical brand of football, especially on defense. You need to stop the run to be successful in the Great Plain Conference."

Senior quarterback Eli Skoglund has been a monster this season for the Cubs and with a roster full of seniors this one is going to be interesting.

Add to that the playoff and seeding ramifications…

Colome is ranked No. 3 in Class 9B, Alcester-Hudson, No. 5 in Class 9A. The coming out party for the Cubs was that 26-14 win over Corsica-Stickney, then ranked No. 2 in Class 9A.

AA player of the year, Pierre's Peyton Zabel goes BEAST-MODE all year long


Peyton Zabel - AA Player-of-the-Year

By Rich Winter

Tell ya what, you look around at the recently named South Dakota All-State basketball teams and the more ya look, the more you discover some of these elite athletes are terrific in multiple sports. 

Pierre senior, Peyton Zabel excels in multiple sports.

"He is truly one of the best all around athletes in South Dakota and proved that being a multi-sport athlete is something you can do and still be at the top of anything you want to do," Allan Bertram said in reference to Zabel. 

Of course it doesn't hurt to have some athletic genes in the family. 

Peyton's father, Mark (From Selby Area), played football at Northern State (me thinks) and mother Tanna Negaard (Harding County) played basketball at Northern State. 

You start looking around South Dakota at some of the amazing athletes and Zabel might be at the top of that list.  Take a look at what Zabel has been up to this year!! 


Coached by Steve Steele, Zabel led the Governors to an 11AA title with a 24-21 win over Harrisburg


Football stats:  Quarterback: Peyton Zabel, Sr., Pierre T.F. Riggs (6-6, 225)

Zabel had a strong season, winning the Midco Best QB and Best 11AA Player in South Dakota. He was 192-of-302 for 2454 yards and 28 touchdowns to go along with 382 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Zabel plans on attending Augustana University, where he’ll play both football and baseball.

“Peyton is the unquestioned leader of our offense and team,” said Govs coach Steve Steele. “He is the ultimate team player, and he really grew in his ability to check plays and get us into plays that give us the best chance of success.”

The Class AA Player of the Year winner Zabel averaged just under 20 points per game (19.8), hauled in 11 rebounds per game, averaged 2.7 assists per game, and had 48 steals and 39 blocked shots. A second-team all-state selection a year ago, he also hit 34 three-pointers on the season, a skill he did not use for the Governors until this season.


Terry Becker's Pierre Governors finished the regular season, 6-14. That said, Zabel posted some terrific numbers  Zabel averaged 19.8 ppg, hauled in 11 rebounds per game, averaged 2.7 assists per game, and had 48 steals and 39 blocked shots. Hit 34, 3-pointers this season. 

Oh, and did I mention the young man plays baseball. 


Headed to Augustana next fall where he will play both football and baseball.