Submitted photo
R-P student Michael Evenson (farthest to the left) was one of the three state winners recognized at a Timberwolves game on Feb. 10.
Submitted photo R-P student Michael Evenson (farthest to the left) was one of the three state winners recognized at a Timberwolves game on Feb. 10.
Rushford-Peterson fourth-grader Michael Evenson enjoys two things: reading and the Minnesota Timberwolves. So, it was only natural that Evenson would be one of three top readers in the state for the Minnesota Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation Read to Achieve Starting 5 Program.

The program invites schools across Minnesota to encourage kids from second through fifth grade to read 500 pages between from Oct. 21 to Nov. 18, 2016.

Students who read 500 pages received a Timberwolves pack that included: a poster, bookmark, a buy-one-get-one free ticket for a Timberwolves’ home game and a Timberwolves’ lunch bag.

However, the top three readers in the state along with their family members were treated to a special viewing of the Feb. 10 game against the New Orleans Pelicans in one of the courts’ suites.

Evenson was one of the top three readers with an astounding 17,000 pages read over the course of the month. That’s roughly 600 pages per day.

Evenson read everything from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to books that he could read to his little brother, to My Little Pony books for his sister, and even his mom’s nursing books.

Some of Evenson’s favorite reads during this time were books that were later turned into movies, so he could see the movie later and compare the two.

Evenson explained how one day, he would read 50 minutes, and then the next day he would read 20 minutes. He continued this schedule throughout the month, and his hard work paid off!

At the Feb. 10 game, he was able to be in the tunnel to give high fives to some of his heroes, including Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio.

Evenson was also recognized at an on-court presentation, where he received a jersey for his accomplishment and met Roger and Nancy McCabe of the Roger and Nancy McCabe Foundation (who sponsored this event) as well as the Timberwolves team president Chris Wright.

This was not Evenson’s first Timberwolves game. In 2016, he participated in the same reading program, but his 2,000 pages didn’t qualify him for the top prize.

“There was a huge difference,” Evenson pointed out, discussing the change from last year’s game to this one. “You get more space to roam around, and you can just have fun with your family without getting disturbed by people around you.”

It would have been a better experience had the Timberwolves not given up a fourth quarter lead to defeat, 122-106.

Even with that sad end to a fantastic night, the experience was worth October’s reading frenzy,

“I’ll remember the people that were there,” said Evenson, adding that the highlight of the night was “getting to give everyone high fives.”