December 2019 Newsletter

The latest in our series…


Merle Ruppert & The Boys of Autumn

By Dale Dauten

“Wait on it.”

“I’m waiting.”

“Wait longer.”

That was the first exchange I heard when I dropped in on the men’s softball team’s practice on a gorgeous November morning at The Resort’s ball field. Merle Ruppert, team captain, was offering advice to one of the team taking batting practice. And it worked. The balls started flying into the outfield.

And the team is flying, too: they are undefeated, 6-0 in the league’s B Division as of this writing, including a thriller where they beat the second-place team 11-10 with the opponents leaving the bases loaded to end the game.

I asked Merle who were the stars of the team so far and he smiled and said, “We’re all stars. Old stars.”

You’re encouraged to come out see the stars — games are on Mondays.

(In the photo above, that’s Merle taking batting practice, and below, leading a team meeting.)


As for Merle, he grew up in North Dakota and played college basketball at Wahpeton. (At least he played until he blew out an ankle in a game again North Dakota State). After school he moved to Colorado and that’s where friends introduced him to his wife-to-be, Mary. He says, “I don’t know if she liked me or my motorcycle better, but it worked out.” They now own five motorcycles – four Harleys and a 1946 Indian Chief.”

Mary and Merle left Colorado to live full-time at The Resort… sort of. They spend their summers traveling. For instance, this past summer they took off in March in their motor coach, bringing along a Harley. They went to visit friends in Fort Worth, then to see other friends in Florida, and that’s where they got on a cruise ship, along with the Harley. There were 20+ other motorcyclists on that ship and they saw the Caribbean by sea and land.

But their summer was just starting – after the cruise, they made their way up the East Coast to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, then around the Northeastern U.S. before heading west through Canada, then to Sturgis, then to Minot to visit their son in the Air Force, then to Gillette, Wyoming to see their daughter, then to Colorado to see their other daughter, then to Las Vegas to visit Mary’s folks, then home in early September. Merle figures they put 10,000 miles on the coach and 12,000 on the motorcycle. 

(Merle and Mary in Newfoundland.)

After hearing Merle recount the trip, I said, “When you got home, did you think, ‘That was great but, whoa! — we’ll never do that again’?’” He said, “No. This is the sixth year we’ve done something like it and we’ll keep doing it.”

Then again, being on the move is nothing new for Merle. He spent his career working for the Burlington Norther railroad, having been a Conductor, an Engineer, a Train master and Road Foreman, eventually running terminals and being Director of the line’s Northern Corridor. So travel is in Merle’s blood. He keeps going, and keeps heading back home. Just like softball.


Check out some of the photos from the recent Veterans Day Event!