OHS Class of 1962 reunion features biking warriors

By Bob San

It is always a very special occasion when a high school class has its 50-year reunion. The Osseo High Class of 1962 did just that last weekend when about 120 of the class came back to Osseo for the big occasion.

These Orioles were given a tour of the high school last Friday and attended the Osseo-Blaine football game that evening. Saturday, they met at the Osseo Legion for social and dinner.

Chuck Dorn, left, and Larry Hoff biked from California to Osseo for their 50th Osseo High School Class Reunion. Both were the captains of the football team at OHS in 1962.
Chuck Dorn, left, and Larry Hoff biked from California to Osseo for their 50th Osseo High School Class Reunion. Both were the captains of the football team at OHS in 1962.

An added highlight of this reunion is that two of them, Larry Hoff and Chuck Dorn, biked 2,000 miles to join their classmates.

Hoff and Dorn were captains of the 1962 football team. Hoff, who retired after a successful career as the University of Wisconsin-Superior football coach, is a fitness enthusiast and adventurer. Since his retirement in 2000, he has walked 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada, biked 10,000 miles around the circumference of the United States and canoed and portaged 6,000 miles from Washington, D.C., to Oregon.

Dorn, who was in the Air Force and resides in Sacramento, Calif., has not done any long trip like that and asked his high school buddy if they could bike from his home in Sacramento to Osseo for the reunion. Hoff gladly obliged.

Late this summer, Hoff and Dorn began the bike trip. They started from California, then biked through the Nevada deserts, hit Salt Lake City and its mountains, proceeded to Jackson, Wyo., where they biked through the majestic Grand Teton, headed east into Nebraska, then north toward Sioux Falls, S.D., and then all the way to the Twin Cities.

“The trip was 10 miles under 2,000 miles but with the wrong turns, it’s over 2,000 miles,” Hoff said. “It took us 19 days. So we averaged about 100 miles a day.”

It was a challenging trip, especially with the extreme heat the country experienced this summer.

“Heat was the biggest thing,” Hoff recalled. “I think there were seven days in a row when it was over 100 degree and it was always in the 90s. You just keep going.”

The two had a smooth trip, with Hoff having one flat tire and Dorn two. It wasn’t under the second to the last day when there was a mishap.

“Chuck was following me real close and hit my back tire and took a tumble and sprained his hand and wrist,” Hoff said. “Being his first time (doing a long bike trip), Chuck got a little sore and some feet problem. But he hung in there. He was tough.”

All the pain and soreness was replaced by the thrills and joy of seeing their families and friends when they concluded the trip.

“There were 45 to 50 families and friends waiting for us. That was neat when we turned the corner heading toward the high school and saw all these people clapping and waving,” Hoff said. “What was really nice is coach John Hansen was there. We’ve been friends all through the years.”

Actually, Hoff did some extra biking. After arriving at Osseo, he went back to his home just outside of Superior and biked 160 miles from Superior to Osseo last Friday to participate in the high school tour and football game. All that effort was well worth it for Hoff when he met the people he has known most of his life and shared old memories.

“I always look at Osseo as two schools,” Hoff said. “We had about 160 when I graduated. In the 1970s it changed over to a huge school. Back then in that small school we had very close classes. I think most of the classes were. In fact, a lot of us in that class still vacation together.”

Looking back, Hoff was happy he was able to do a cross-country bike trip with one of his best friends.

“We go back a long way,” Hoff said. “It’s always memorable when you can go on a bike trip with you best high school friend.”