Tjarks grateful for time on national court
While most athletes retire after a successful high school or collegiate athletic career, others like Flandreau’s Dale Tjarks, just can’t seem to get enough of the games that they’ve played and love.
And it shows.
Tjarks just returned this past week from the 2023 Senior Olympic Games in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where the team he was on, representing South Dakota, took 8th place out of 20 teams. His teammates largely include others that he competed against during his time playing college ball at Huron College (1977). The team competed in the 65-69 years-old category and ended with three wins and four losses.
“I am thankful that I can still do it, that I can still go out and compete at 65 plus and be very successful,” Tjarks said, as we caught him downtown running errands shortly after returning home. “It was fun. It was great. There are a lot of really, good 65 and 70-year-old athletes out there that can still play basketball.”
Tjarks was a first team all-state basketball player at Flandreau High School before playing collegiately at Huron College, graduating in 1977 after scoring 1,000 points and earning SDIC all-conference honors. After college, he played professionally in Europe for the Exeter, England team for three years. Following his professional career, he played amateur basketball from 1980 through 2006, for teams from Flandreau, Colman, Dell Rapids, Salem-Montrose, White and Hayti.
He also coached two years in Flandreau and five in Pipestone, Minn. Tjarks was also named to the South Dakota Amateur Basketball Association Hall of Fame for the game he started playing in sixth grade.