It’s family first for
the Walch brothers
By Pat Ruff
It’s tough to imagine any brothers this close. But there was actually a time when oldest siblings Travis and Carson Walch were not on speaking terms. That lasted five days. The Elgin natives were sharing the same house and the same backfield at the time as star football players at Winona State University.
But an argument that turned physical between them on a Saturday night had left them both seething, and refusing to acknowledge each other.
But then, just like that, the stalemate ended. Youngest brother Ryan’s high school football game had come at the perfect time.
"All of a sudden it got to be Friday night, and we both just hopped in the car like we always did and drove together to Ryan’s game," Travis said. "It took us until about Elba (20 miles) until we started talking again. But then it was over. It had been the only time in our lives that we’d ever fought each other."
With the Walch brothers, Travis 32, Carson 30 and Ryan 28, you’re talking about a lifelong bond of love, not war.
"I know how lucky I am to have the family that I do," Carson said. "My brothers and I, we’re best friends."
High school stars
In Travis, Carson and Ryan Walch you’re also talking about three of the more dominant all-around athletes to ever come out of southeast Minnesota. All graduated from Elgin-Millville High School, before moving on to Winona State, where each was a star running back.
That included Travis and Carson taking turns in 1997 and 1999 being semifinalists for Division II’s top football honor, the Harlon Hill Award.
For all of that love and all of that athleticism, they each spin the same direction when doling out the credit: Parents Dave and Peggy Walch, take a deep bow.
"My mom and dad are the two greatest people ever," said Ryan, who shares a house in St. Paul with Travis, where he has his own painting business. "They do everything right."
That’s included handing down some mighty athletic genes to their four children (daughter Lindsey is the youngest, at 27). But the thing that Travis, Carson and Ryan have always appreciated most about their parents is their undying devotion to family.
An athletic bond
And no doubt, the most obvious area that has shown itself — and continues to — has been as fans of their athletic endeavors. Travis and Carson are active in sports today, as assistant football coaches at St. Thomas University and Winona State, respectively. Dave and Peggy are regulars at those games. They even keep showing up for Carson’s slow-pitch softball contests.
Travis actually can’t remember a time when his parents ever missed a sporting event of theirs. They even made it work those couple of years that Ryan was playing a high school football game on a Friday night, and Travis and Carson were playing the next afternoon seven hours away at Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D. That demanded a 3 a.m. wakeup by his folks, but they got it done.
That hunger for family time and unity has always rubbed off on the Walch brothers. And athletics, for as long as they can remember, has always been the avenue that most brought and kept them together.
That started with non-stop games at the Walch residence, located in a small sub-division just outside of Elgin.
"As kids, I’d take Ryan on my team," Travis said, "and it would be Carson and some other kid from the neighborhood on the other team.
"We’d always have something going on, and it was very competitive. Our backyard was a baseball field, the yard on the side of the house was a football field, and we had a basketball hoop in the driveway."
Betting men would put their money on the team of Ryan and Carson. Because certainly, two Walches is better than one.