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Chris Gustad - 11 Sept 1981 - 1 Aug 2012

We'll see you on the other side!

Christopher John Gustad was born on September 11th, 1981 in Mitchell, SD. He graduated from Platte High School in 2000 and Lake Area Technical Institute in 2002 with a degree in aviation maintenance.  

Throughout his life, Chris was known by many different nicknames, Guddah (friends from Platte), Goose (friends from Platte), Biggie (Lake Area Tech friends). It is from these names our tournament draws its energy. The Big Goose Open (coming from the names Biggie and Goose) are a direct reflection back to Chris while referencing the group of individuals that have built the BGO up to what it is today. See Flying V page for more of a background.

GUDDAH ON, is a phrase that has been coined to ensure the memory of Chris and the person he was, is not lost. It also points to our continual fight against Kidney Cancer.

Throughout his life Chris impacted many lives through his giant smile and continual methods of joking around with anyone and everyone. He would be there for anyone in their time of need and find a way to make him or her smile. People were naturally drawn to him.


It was because of these traits, the BGO was born. We invite you to meet rest of our board members, friends and family below that are directly responsible for continuing Chris’ legacy. Rest in peace Chris; we’ll see you on the other side.

Big Goose Open est. 2013

Guddah On!


The names listed here are but a fraction of the individuals that make the BGO so successful. I'd like to send out a special thank you to Richard and Julie Gustad for bringing me into this community, and also to Bill Nachtigal for being a dependable go to when I need the impossible.  To Nortec Seed and Samuelson Tire and Oil, thanks for believing in us. To Lake Platte Golf Course, thank you for giving us such beautiful views each August. each and every golfer that comes out and supports us, without you, this is nothing.  To everyone that is apart of the BGO in any small way....Guddah On!



Lucas Jacobson is a Sensor Operator for AEVEX Aerospace and a Reservist for the U.S. Air Force, attached to the 492 SOTRG, Hurlburt Field, Fl. He is in his 14th year with the Air Force.


Lucas met Chris in 2000 at Lake Area Tech and along with a small group of individuals, lifelong friendships were started. Upon the loss of Chris in 2012, the idea of a memorial golf tournament to honor Chris, and fight Kidney Cancer was discussed among family and friends, and Lucas asked if he could organize and implement the tournament. The Big Goose Open was born. Over the past seven years, he along with the board of directors have guided the BGO into full non profit status ensuring many more years of success as we aim to Tee Off on Kidney Cancer!


When asked about his favorite memory of Chris, Luc simply stated, “The turkey punting party,” and said it best not to say more, “wink, wink.”  


Lucas is most grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Chris these past seven years. The friendship’s he has made has helped him catch just a glimpse more into the life of his friend Biggie. The new friendships he has made matter to him as much as the fight we have all taken on.

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Tawnya Schrank is Vice President of BGO Board of Directors working as the family liaison and working for BGO continuing education in regards to kidney cancer. Tawnya works at Boston Scientific as an R&D Product Labeling Manager.


She first met Chris in the hospital; she was so excited to be his big sister! There are so many wonderful memories from their short lifetime together and the majority of her childhood memories include Chris. She’d read books to him and help care for him. They’d play together, eventually fight, and then play together again. They’d play Monopoly and other games for hours on end. They were always there for each other. As adults, one of her favorite memories is when Chris called to tell her he had proposed. He was so excited and had a sound of awe in his voice that Sara had said yes.


Tawnya is part of BGO to help make sure Chris’ legacy lives on and she is proud to tell people about her younger brother.

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Sara Rasmussen is the assistant finance officer for Chamberlain School District, SD, and is part owner of Camp Kiowa RV Campground on the Missouri River. Sara sits at the head of the table for the BGO as the CFO ensuring the money raised is put to the proper use in our fight to Tee Off on Kidney Cancer. Her kind nature and inner strength embolden the Board of Geese to continue the fight each year.


Sara first met Chris in Mrs. Walstad’s 6th grade class. After many years of friendship, they started dating their senior year of high school. Eleven short years later they got engaged and had an epic Halloween costume party reception. Although their marriage was short due to Chris be taken from us at such a young age, Sara aims to keep his memory alive and work towards a better end for others that are currently fighting. Although Chris will always hold a special place in Sara’s life, she is remarried to a wonderful man and they are now parents to energetic, fun, beautiful son. 


Between her full time employment, the effort she puts in with the Big Goose Open, and raising such an awesome family, the proof of Sara’s giving nature and huge heart is always on display for the world to see.

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During the preparations for the first ever BGO, Thad Stofferahn received a phone call from Bill Nachtigal who hinted at the need for a tournament sponsor, and the Nortec/BGO partnership was born. The idea of helping out a great cause, supporting the local communities, was a big draw for the Stofferahn family. Since partnering with the BGO, Thad has stepped up and joined the BGO Board of Directors and is a respected and sensible voice in the room. His humble nature embodies the life that Chris lived and exemplifies what the BGO aims to be.


It was the mutual friends that Chris and Thad shared that connected them, or so Thad believed.  When he originally got the thumbs up to support the BGO, Thad believed he had only met Chris once at Chris’s 30th birthday party. It wasn’t until 2 years later, at a BGO event, Thad realized he and Chris had been neighbors in Sioux Falls around 2003.


For Thad and his wife Aubrey, this tournament started out as a way to remember a great guy and help out some friends and it has since turned into the weekend they look forward to every year, making memories and supporting a great community. Thad said, “Honestly, we couldn’t imagine our lives without the BGO.”

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ASST. to Pres., BGO Inc

Leah Nachtigal is a stay-at-home Mom and self-proclaimed house boss of four beautiful kids and one pretty awesome farmer – Bill (more on Bill later). Her adventures with Chris started in 2007 through the close friendship of Chris and Bill.  Through Chris’ relationship with Bill and Chris’ girlfriend at the time, Leah found herself a new, non-biological family.


Leah has assisted Lucas in planning and implementing the Big Goose Open since year one. She was an integral part in the BGO success to date through her knowledge of the community and wonderful ideas. Without Leah and her husband Bill, the BGO would not be as successful as it is.


When asked about her memories of Chris, she stated there were too many to write down, but there was one phrase that would be used often by Chris (mainly to make fun of people that used a certain term wrong). “You can’t unthaw something, its THAW.” I would argue that unthaw is just a fancy way of saying freeze it! Leah now thinks about Chris every time she has to thaw out some food for supper. Due to the non-biological family link, it’s obvious why Leah wanted to be a part of the BGO. The friendship between Bill and Chris was something special and she wanted his memory to be shared.

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Jessica Hegge is an Attorney at Larson Law PC. She met Chris at Pat’s house in Sioux Falls, and she was terrified of him initially.


Her first memory of meeting Chris was when she was going with her new (then) boyfriend Casey Hegge to meet several people including Chris. Casey specifically warned her about Chris, saying he was most likely to get into her personal space and possibly do something borderline inappropriate and awkward because he likes to mess with people. She was prepared for the worst because she really values her personal space. Chris must have saw that she was terrified to meet him because he treated her with such kindness that night. He didn’t tease her or get in her personal space. He also went out of his way to make her feel included and get to know her. She thought Casey’s description of Chris was way off; then she saw Chris mess with someone else by talking to them inches from their face and she knew he was being kind to her to help her feel comfortable with the group.


She decided to get involved with BGO because it’s a great way to remember a great person and celebrate his life. It’s also a good time with great friends.

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Pat Reiser works at Cameron Ashley Building Company as the Territory Manager. He was originally asked to be on the Board of Directors when the BGO originated and has since taken over tournament operations. His dedication and selfless acts have been vital to the BGO’s success.


While Pat knew of Chris while growing up in Platte, their friendship truly started in Sioux Falls post high school and college years. In describing their relationship he simply said, “We were damn good friends,” and he remembers how Chris always had a smartass rebuttal for everything with a smile on his face. Losing Chris wasn’t the first case in which Pat lost a friend to cancer and he wanted to be sure he was a part of the fight that might help prevent those losses for others.

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Ken Blumenauer works for Sanford AirMed as an Aircraft Mechanic in Sioux Falls. He sits on the Board of Directors as the Industry and Education Rep and also acts as one of the BGO scholarship judges. Ken brings wisdom and insight to the annual meetings providing new ideas and opening doors to accomplish our mission.


Chris and Ken originally worked at Business Aviation after Chris graduated from LATI and then were reunited at Sanford AirMed in Sioux Falls. Chris and Ken spent many hours on the golf course together and won a tournament at the Bakker Crossing. Ken is still searching for his first BGO championship with Chris’ memory by his side. Ken says, “CG (his nickname at Business Aviation) was an extremely gifted mechanic and troubleshooter, and his personality and work ethic made him extra special.”

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ASST. to Secretary, BGO Inc

Catrina Brown is the Business Manager at CORE Educational Cooperative, and she is the Assistant to the Secretary for BGO, while also being part of a two person team that heads up tournament sponsorship and donations. She met Chris on one of the many trips to Deadwood, SD that the group took annually.


She describes her and Chris’ relationship simply by saying, “He was the best person to have snacks with!” Her favorite memory is from one day when she, Wade (her now husband), and Chris went to Mitchell to buy a video game or something that Chris was looking for. They ended up at Blarney's and started drinking way too early in the day. By the time the day was over, Chris was pushing her around Blarney's on a chair, acting like they were a train.


She is reminded of other memories of Chris, because she does not have a sweatshirt anymore with the hood strings attached. He would pull on them all the time to make them uneven and it drove her nuts! She also could not wear a ponytail in her hair around him because he would pull it out every single time (Farm has taken over this trait). These are the kinds of fun-loving shenanigans that Chris was famous for.


Catrina is excited to be part of BGO because Goose was a great friend and she loves being able to carry his legacy on!

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Silent Auction Coord., BGO Inc

Erynn Meyerink is a Certified Medical Assistant at the Kimball Clinic. She grew up in Platte and knew who Chris was, but she became closer to Chris through her husband’s friendship with Chris.


Her relationship with Chris consisted mostly of watching the Vikings play and watching the guys make fun of each other. There was always a lot of laughter when Chris was around. One of her favorite memories involves Chris throwing up on Kelsey Meyerink’s shoe.


Erynn started volunteering at the BGO simply to remember Chris and to hang out with all of their friends in BGO. Now, she is proud to be part of an organization that does so many great things for others.

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