PEQUOT LAKES -- Every dynasty must come to an end, but in Pequot Lakes athletics the Ebnet dynasty will continue for two more years.
The Chicago Bulls had their basketball dynasty in the early 1990s. The San Francisco 49ers were the football team of the '80s and the New York Yankees were and are again the baseball dynasty.
In Pequot Lakes the dynasty hasn't been a team but a family. The Ebnet family has had 10 children go through either the Pequot Lakes or Pine River-Backus school system breaking records and helping teams make it to state.
The sole remainder of the Ebnet legacy is Pequot Lakes sophomore guard Joan Ebnet. The youngest, Joan has had the benefit of watching all of her sisters play volleyball and basketball, as well as learning from her three brothers.
"When I was smaller it was really tough sticking up for myself," said Joan. "To do sports with them, I really looked up to them, I had a lot of fun playing with them. That's how I got into athletics.
"Whenever I would lose they would rub it in my face," she added. "They would always give me compliments and try and help me out, though."
Along with their athletic and academic accomplishments the Ebnet children had to help mother, Mary Ebnet, run Wild Acres Game Farm, the family business. With chores the main responsibility, athletics were just an added benefit of school.
"It just came to us," said Joan. "It's really important to be an athlete because I'm following in the footsteps of my sisters and brothers.
"Everyone knows my sisters so they see me and they ask, 'Are you the last one?' I don't really feel any pressure to be as good as they were. I just go out there and play my hardest and what comes out is what comes out."
After successful high school careers all of the older Ebnets went on to college. The boys all played football and most of the girls played volleyball for their colleges.
Kathy graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris, where she played volleyball, with four majors in business, German, French and economics.
Ted played football at UM-Morris. He was a second team All-American. He graduated with a degree in geology.
Pat played football at Augsburg College. He holds the school record for most career tackles with 500. He graduated with a degree in business management.
Beth went to North Dakota State University but because of injuries didn't play college athletics. She lives in Baltimore and is a manager of a cosmetic packaging company.
Paula graduated from St. Ben's and is in the hall of fame for volleyball where she helped the Blazers to the national tournament. She graduated with degrees in business and accounting. She went on to get her master's in global communication.
Kathy, Paula and Beth played volleyball for the National Volleyball Association. Paula and Beth got to play with the Olympic teams in Kazakhstan two years ago.
Ben played football at Augsburg for a year.
Barb graduated from St. Mary's with a degree in psychology She now works with Microsoft and lives in Washington.
Rose is still at South Dakota State University. Last year she recorded 1,000 kills for the volleyball team. She will likely break the school record for most career kills.
Annie, who was Pequot Lakes valedictorian last year, is playing volleyball and basketball at Jamestown College in North Dakota.
Joan is on the No. 1 ranked girls' basketball team in Class AA and a member of the volleyball team. She owes a lot of her success to being around her family.
"When I was little they would always invite me to go to open gym with them," said Joan. "They would give me hints. When they were on the varsity volleyball team I was the manager and I would go to their practices and watch them play.
"I think that's how I got to this level, just watching and being around people that played.
"They motivate me by me looking at them and they're breaking all these records and I want to be like them and go to college and play ball."
All of the Ebnets have had successful careers in athletics and academics. They all played a musical instrument while helping at the game farm. They all learned responsibility quickly in life, which, according to Mary Ebnet, is key.
"You really have to encourage the kids," Mary Ebnet said. "You have to have a good attitude and you must be responsible. Those are very important traits to being a good athlete."
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