Dave Ouellette watched nearly every Badlands Big Sticks home game in the baseball team’s inaugural season.
Ouellette, a Dickinson businessman who owns Yum Froyo & More and other businesses, could often be found on the concourse at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark last summer manning the popular soft-serve ice cream stand.
“I basically hand-served those cones all summer at most every game,” Ouellette said.
The Big Sticks compete in the Expedition League, the United States’ newest collegiate wood-bat summer league comprised of college baseball players from throughout the country.
While there were early uncertainties coming into the season about what the team and the league would be like, most apprehension faded fast as the Big Sticks went from hosting 400 fans in their home opener to regularly selling more than 1,000 tickets a game by the end of the summer.
Big Sticks games became a summer entertainment hub in Dickinson and good baseball followed as well, as they won the Lewis Division and finished in second place in the league, falling to Western Nebraska in the league championship.
The more Ouellette watched, the more he liked what he saw. So much so that he decided to buy the team from Expedition League President Steve Wagner.