Shootin' with Sportscasters

my action-packed evening alongside Bob Gallaher and the TV-13 crew

Luc Anthony

Have you ever attended three basketball games and one hockey game in one evening? You’d likely have to have plenty of disposable income, or be that much of a die-hard sports fan to have accomplished the feat. Or, you could work in the media.

Checking out multiple games in a matter of two hours or less is a typical night on the town for area TV sportscasters, putting together highlight packages for the 10 pm news. You see the fruits of their labor many nights on stations like TV-18 and Channel 8 out of La Crosse. The evening of Friday, Feb. 6, I tagged-along with the TV-13 sports crew to see how they turn 50-plus games into 15 minutes of highlights. Here’s Part 1 of how that night went.

I arrive at the station on Hastings Way at 6:29, just in time for the end of the 6 pm news and the deployment of the staff to cover the games. If you’re expecting a dramatic Hill Street Blues-esque roll call to set assignments and pump-up the troops, you won’t get it; Bob Gallaher has already put together the schedule the prior Tuesday, and everyone gets their gear and heads out.

Matt Queen is driving I-94 to Hudson to shoot the Eau Claire North girls’ game; Matt Cullen is stopping by Augusta and Fall Creek; three other photographers are hitting up the likes of Clayton, Amery, Menomonie, and Glenwood City. I’m following the veteran Gallaher, who has the metro assignment: in two hours we’re planning to go to four games in and around Eau Claire.

We’re out the door at 6:38, for the 14-minute drive to Hobbs Ice Center for the UW-Eau Claire womens’ hockey tilt against Lake Forest, Ill. On the way in the arena, a random guy from a neighboring house yells across the street to ask Bob about North sports. Gallaher is famous enough that pure strangers ask him questions on a dark street (I apparently have a ways to go in building up my celebrity).