By Matt Kane
COKATO, MN Local sports play-by-play man Lyn Sheplee was killed early Thursday morning, just after midnight in French Lake Township, in an apparent one-vehicle motorcycle accident.
The Wright County Sheriff’s Office reported that Sheplee’s 1983 Honda motorcycle was traveling westbound on County Road 35, west of Norling Avenue NE, when it hit a deer, causing it to veer out of control. Sheplee was thrown from the motorcycle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sheplee was the voice of local sports for more than a decade at 1360 KRWC radio out of Buffalo. There, he broadcasted area high school sports, as well as North Star League baseball.
“When I heard of Lyn’s passing away, I felt like I had lost my best friend,” said Brian “Bookie” Larson, the secretary of the North Star League. “Lyn did a great job of promoting North Star baseball by putting in a lot of work broadcasting the game of the week and playoff games.
Lyn’s efforts and the time he put into his Saturday sports show made it the show to listen to. He wanted everyone in Wright County to know how special North Star baseball was. Lyn was the voice of North Star baseball.
Sheplee’s final North Star League broadcast was June 10 in Howard Lake, when he called the rain-shortened game between Dassel-Cokato and Howard Lake. Eight more regular-season North Star League games are on the KRWC broadcast schedule for this summer.
Sheplee was scheduled to be the play-by-play man at Delano’s Class AA state baseball tournament game in St. Cloud Thursday night. Instead Sheplee’s sometimes broadcast partner Adam Jaunich called the game by himself.
Jaunich called the game with a heavy heart.
“I was devastated by his passing it has been an emotional day,” Jaunich said earlier Thursday. “I considered Lyn a close friend and a mentor.”
Jaunich said he will miss his weekly phone conversations with Sheplee, which often started with a prank.
“Whenever I would call, I would disguise my voice or act like I was a coach calling in a score. I would play it off for a minute or two until I finally caved in and told him ‘This is Adam calling and you’ve been pranked.’ Boy did he get a kick out of that. I got him every time.”
As for Sheplee as a sports broadcaster, Jaunich had high praise.
“Lyn was a true professional, and a broadcaster that took his work serious to provide listeners with accurate sports information. Lyn was a traditionalist, and broadcasting was his passion,” Jaunich said of his old colleague. “In this day and age it is easy to pull a sports score from a website and announce the score on the radio, but Lyn wanted his broadcasts to be more authentic, so he made time to try and contact coaches directly for the result of a game. Lyn also worked hard during the week preparing for his weekly show “Prep Sports Saturday,” in which he interviewed local players and coaches.
“Lyn will be missed by many. His voice will carry on,” Jaunich said.
Sheplee, whose full name was Lyndon Sheplee, was 64 years old. He lived in Cokato.
As of Friday afternoon, funeral arrangements were pending.