MPR News host Tom Weber has been in Ely, Minn., doing some legwork for an upcoming broadcast and found someone else doing some legwork. She’s Betty Kunstel, a member of Ely Memorial High School’s cheerleader squad. She’s also the only member of Ely Memorial High School’s cheerleader squad.
Weber introduced us on his Instagram account.
An Ely lifer, Kunstel noticed there weren’t any cheerleaders when she attended a game a few years ago to see her granddaughter play basketball. “The kids are active in other sports,” she noted. “And we don’t have the student body [enrollment].”
So Kunstel, who was a cheerleader when she attended Ely Memorial from 1948-1951, picked up her pom-poms and designated herself Ely’s cheerleading squad.
“I’m 83 years old and I’m still doing this,” she told Weber. “I have no specific cheers but they support me. It’s keeping me young and I get them riled up once in a while.”
The cheerleaders in the background of this photo are from Hibbing High School, which played Ely Friday night, according to Weber.
The Ely boy’s basketball squad beat Hibbing 54-to-50.
Here’s a picture in the Ely Echo in 2010 that showed the 1948 Ely squad, including Betty, being presented with a stuffed timber wolf, courtesy of the local VFW.