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reflections, howard lestrud, owatonna, steele county
Blooming Prairie High School sophomore volleyballer Madelyn Harvey works on a BP Cancer Group pink flag last Sunday. Staff photo by Howard Lestrud
Think of BP Cancer Group in many different words
Howard Lestrud, Contributing Writer
Howard Lestrud, Reflections

There are many different words that can be used to describe the Blooming Prairie Cancer Group. Sit back and think of ways to help the BP Cancer Group fight that dreaded disease.

We all know that we are drawing close to that big cancer prevention weekend, Sept 8-9.

We now see Highway 218 dotted with colorful pink flags (Paint BP Pink) that show anticipation of this great cancer fundraiser in Blooming Prairie.

“There must have been over 50 persons putting up flags to signal the support of the fight against cancer,” said Cheri Krejci, BP Cancer Group treasurer.

Most of the workers were of the younger variety. This shows that younger people also have possibly had an experience with cancer. Madeline Stone, a Blooming Prairie High School graduate of 2023, has successfully fought cancer since an early age.

Madeline has made public her daily battle with cancer. By doing this, Madeline has proven that cancer has no barriers. It strikes at a young age, too.

Members of the BP football team and the volleyball team helped put up these pink flags late last Sunday afternoon. Near the junction of Highway 218, the Awesome Blossom girls fastened the silky flags on tall poles.

The heavy hammers were swung by some muscular young Awesome Blossom football players.

Treasurer Krejci assumed her continuing leadership role with the BP Cancer Group by providing a caring hand to all. Many volunteers, including the Awesome Blossom cheer team, worked busily to put up the nearly 300 flags. Blooming Prairie colors will be all over town starting late this month.

The 2023 Cancer Auctions will be held Friday, Sept. 8 and Saturday, Sept. 9. All of the action will take place under the tent next to the Cue Company. Both nightly auctions will be staged at 7 p.m.

Most auction items are donated. Last year’s activities pushed the BP Cancer Group’s total fundraising efforts to surpass $1 million.

How many people have been touched by the heroic work of the Blooming Prairie Cancer Group volunteers?

That’s an open-ended question, but it could be answered with one word: many.

Raffle tickets in memory of Steve Prihoda are currently on sale to benefit the BP Cancer Group. Cash prizes from the raffle are: $1,000 first place, $300 second place, and $200 third place. The drawing will be held Saturday, Sept. 9.

Of course, the popular cancer auctions can’t result in success without the many generous item donations from local businesses, individuals, and service organizations. Any auction donation can be dropped off at the Pizza Cellar.

For more information about donations, contact Cheri Krejci at 507-438-6895, Connie Trom at 507-456-6846, or Jennifer Milton at 507-456-8432.

A new wrinkle in all of the cancer benefit activities was the move of Gun Bingo to the Thursday before the auction, Sept.7, under the big tent. This will be the 4th Annual Gun Bingo. Usually, it was held the week following the auctions under the tent.

Bingo games start at 7 p.m. The doors open at 6 p.m. Ten games will be played. Limited tickets are available. Contact Connie Trom at 507-456-8431 or e-mail All proceeds go to the BP Cancer Group.

Anyone can sponsor a gun in honor or memory of a loved one. Treasurer Krejci says people “are so generous.” One popular feature comes the nights of the auctions, when pleas are made for bidders to turn in their numbers to buy a gas card or parking pass for people affected by cancer.


Cancer Auction trivia time

Here’s a little game to test your memories of various BP Cancer Group auctions. Answers will be provided in next week’s Steele County Times.


  1. How many years has BP had a cancer auction?
  2. Who was the organizer of the BP Cancer Auction?
  3. What unique fundraiser (involves wildlife) has been tied to BP cancer?
  4. Who are two auctioneers at the auctions?
  5. Who makes the chocolate chip cookies?
  6. Who are the owners of Hope Butter?
  7. What’s another name for Cheri Krejci’s snack mix?
  8. What event has been tied to the auction in the past?
  9. How many cancer flags are there?
  10. What is the amount of gas cards?
  11. What is Sue Helgeson’s cake?
  12. What are four games sponsored by the cancer group?
  13. Who chaired the Mums event?
  14. Who won the goat giveaway?
  15. How many quilts have been given away?
  16. Who was chair of the home tours?
  17. When was there gun bingo?
  18. What is the first prize of the Prihoba raffle?
  19. When was the Bourbon raffle?


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