The Dickinson State Blue Hawk team camp, a long standing tradition in southwest North Dakota, will not take place this summer.
The high school football camp originally scheduled for June was pushed back to July 19-20, but the inevitable decision to cancel was made this week due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the region.
“It was a combination of the spiking in the cases in the Bismarck and Billings, Mont., area, which is where a lot of the camp teams come from,” Dickinson State head football coach Pete Stanton said. “Also, we were concerned about the safety of players and coaches because we want to get them to the season.”
Teams from Trinity, Dickinson, Mott-Regent-New England, Beach, Hettinger Scranton along with other local schools and schools from Bismarck and Billings were set to participate in the camp.
Dickinson State’s staff did not want to contribute to anything that would have a negative impact on having a high school season this fall, and that was one of the many factors that led to the cancelation.
“It is one of the most well attended camps in the entire region,” Stanton said. ”It was tough to cancel, but in the end we didn’t feel comfortable bringing everyone together considering everything that has been going on.”
A total of 20 teams participated last summer and the camp is one of the longest running in the region and country. The camp gives great programs from both North Dakota and Montana the ability to converge on Dickinson to help get ready for the season.
Stanton said students look forward to the team camp each summer and with everything that has been taken away from high school athletes so far, they tried everything in their power to hold them camp and give them a resemblance of normalcy.
In the end though, the safety of each athlete and coach was the No. 1 priority in the decision.
“We will be back to normal next year,” Stanton said. “It will be our 21st year. Our coaches and area athletes always look forward to it and next year will be better than ever.”