“It’s a grand day in the great state, and a great day in the grandstand”
That is how thousands of games began on WCMP and KBEK over the course of 30+ years. Ty Laugerman served as the familiar voice to many over the years. His impact has left an indelible impact on so many lives. Ty started his career with WCMP in the ’70s. He also spent time with WLOL in Cambridge, and the Brainerd Bears baseball team. He helped start up the sports department at KBEK, working there until his retirement in 2010.
We could talk about the exploits of his resume all day. But the impact that he has left behind will last generations. Ty was a long-time mentor to broadcasters Andy Beckstrom and Adam Hefty. "He was a legend, plain and simple” states Beckstrom. Ty was a welcome sight at games. There was a buzz on the bench or in the stands when the radio station was going to be there. “The year after Mora won the state football championship, Milaca played Mora in the playoffs. I sat in my car halfway avoiding a banquet that I was supposed to be a part of, just so I could listen to his call” recounts Andy.
Nearing the end of college, Andy started at KBEK as a part time radio host, with his eyes set on sports. “I tried to read every update I could in hopes of impressing Ty” he says. One day Ty needed help for a few games, part of a triple-header of football.
Assigned to carrying gear and doing color commentary, Andy says that he was in such awe, that he did not say more than 4-5 words. “He was welcoming, made jokes, and was a true professional. He never shamed me for not saying much, only encouraged me to do what I could” Andy says that very first game taught him a lesson that has continued to affect the way he calls games even now, 20 years later.
“It was little things, like not asking a specific question. He would mention something about a play, and lead you there. Gave you the chance to talk about it, but it also didn’t sound any different if you stayed quiet.”
Adam Hefty joined their team a few years later after a chance encounter with a lost cell phone. Adam asked if he could be a part of the sports team, and Ty was welcoming and encouraging once again. “What stands out most isn’t how incredibly kind Ty was, but the fact that he had a job to do and that he immediately allowed us in. There was no watching stage, he just added us to the broadcast like we were old friends.”
The stories about Ty could go on forever. Salute to the might Moose Horn (river in Barnum) as we went north. Always have 2 more pens than you think you need. Keep an extra clipboard of material you’ll never use, in case of an extended delay. Never drink a full bottle of water before a game. Andy and Adam could go on for days about stories of the fun times that were had over the years. The longtime mentor may be gone, but his impact on the way games are broadcast in our local area will live on. Andy, Adam, and the entire WCMP/KBEK staff send our heartfelt condolences and best wishes to Ty’s family.
A funeral for Ty Laugerman will be held on Wednesday, October 19, at 11 a.m. at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Pine City. A time of visitation and reviewal is planned from 5-8 p.m; Tuesday (10/18) at the Swanson Funeral Chapel in Pine City and also one hour prior to the service at the church.
This story was written by Andy Beckstrom.