We just caught a big fish for our little pond

Opinion

I’ve never been happier to type a byline as I was Sunday morning when I edited a new sports column that’s appearing weekly starting this month in the Pen City Current.

It’s a tremendous pleasure of ours to introduce our readership to a new Sunday column from Fort Madison’s own John Bohnenkamp.

CHUCK VANDENBERG

John’s copy will add tremendously to our local flare that already includes the homey comfort of Curt Swarm, and the ever-zesty writings of your friendly neighborhood reporter.

If you don’t know John, you aren’t even a glancing enthusiast of the regional sports culture. John is a nationally recognized sports writer, editor, and columnist, who’s spent more than four decades covering sports in and around Lee County.

As the Current continues to grow and fiddle blindly through this intricate network of news, sports, and information, it sometimes is lost on us as to how things come to be.

BOHNENKAMP

This 53-year-old editor with ties to southeast Iowa has finished in the top 10 Sports Editor of the Year by the Associated Press Sports Editors 17 times, has won seven awards as a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and his state AP awards are too numerous to list here.

So how does he end up here? Because we asked.

John has a passion for sports and a uniquely clever way of bringing that across to readers. It’s a value to anyone who gets to put his name on their brand.

But their loss isn’t just our gain. It’s yours, too.

We couldn’t be happier to bring John on to allow him to keep writing for the readers of this area. And we can’t be happier for what lay ahead for him.

He recently wrapped up the Burlington Bees’ season on his Twitter blog.

He’s also coaching and mentoring future sports writers at the Daily Iowan. Bohnenkamp said someday he’d love to teach the craft he’s honed better than just about anyone in the state. He’s planning other things and other ventures, but he’s welcome here as long as he wants.

I’ve known John since he was hired at the Hawk-Eye in 1991. I was just a stringer then, managing the late night phone call-ins from coaches for the recaps. The sports editor back then was a guy named Larry Lockhart. John was hired away from the Daily Gate City and we worked a lot of late Friday and Saturday nights together.

I think there was some pizza involved and an occasional round of pitching a football from one end of the sports department, which quickly became the entire newsroom, to the other. Bob Mann and Craig Sesker were also full-time writers and Shane Barron helped me man the phones. Occasionally, Shane and I would get to go out and actually cover some games. Shane went on to do more with the paper, and I went to Western Illinois and became Sports Editor of the campus newspaper, the Western Courier.

John went on to become the sports editor of the Hawk-Eye in 1991, a position he held until this year.

The Burlington Bees honored Bohnenkamp last week for his time with the paper and work with the Bees. At the event John said his greatest joy was the people and friends he made working at the Hawk-Eye.

Those bonds still remain today and because of that we welcome him with open arms to our little pond.

Hey, there’s a bunch of horses in town so watch your step, but hoof it up to C.E. “Eddie” Richards Arena, the Tri-State Rodeo has some surprises in store for you…but that’s Beside the Point.

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