Posts in category Faces of Medora

Women of Medora: Emily Walter

This article was originally posted in Inspired Women Magazine and was written by Stephanie Fong.

Emily Walter has spent a three-decade career traveling the world as a professional vocalist and actor. She’s served as a singer in the U.S. Air Force Band, entertained in shows on cruise ships, and —among many other things — has personified the title of Medora’s “Queen of the West.”

Her first professional job in music materialized after enlisting in the United States Air Force.

“My position as a vocalist with The Strategic Air Command Band was my first full-time singing job. I was just out of college and I never dreamed that I would become a veteran of The Desert Band, performing for the troops in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. It was an incredible honor and my training in the SAC Band critically developed the musical, professional, and disciplinary skills I have to this day. I couldn’t have had better training,” Emily says.

Fast forward to the early 1990s, when Emily wowed fans of the Medora Musical as a Burning Hills Singer best known for crooning Patsy Cline tunes each night under a starry Western sky.

Emily Walter is third from the left.

“I sang my first Patsy Cline song on the Burning Hills Amphitheatre stage in 1993. It was ‘Sweet Dreams.’ The response was so overwhelming that the following year, the producer gave me a choice between ‘Crazy’ and ‘She’s Got You.’ I chose the latter,” Emily recalls.

Those successful summers singing Patsy Cline in Medora led to something bigger that holds a major place on Emily’s resume — the Patsy Cline estate named her one of the few entertainers approved to portray Patsy Cline, leading to performance tours across the country and internationally. She continued to perform in a variety of genres and locations, adhering to her personal formula for success: hard work, dedication to her craft, and willingness to travel.

SHE CAME HOME TO NORTH DAKOTA

Emily returned to Medora in 2010 to host the Medora Musical, and the character she portrayed that year soon became a part of her identity for years to come.

“When I returned to Medora nearly two decades after my time as a Burning Hills singer, the producer Curt Wollan and I were talking about me taking the host position in the Medora Musical, and he popped out with, ‘Emily Walter; Queen of the West!’ I loved it from that very moment,” Emily says.

Emily’s “Queen of the West” character combined the elegance of a pageant queen — complete with tiara-clad cowgirl hat and sequined gowns — with the strength of an Air Force veteran and the voice of a Broadway star. Little girls attending the Medora Musical soon started buying and wearing pink cowgirl hats with tiaras, becoming Queens of the West in their own right. 
“That was my favorite tie to the show…seeing a child walking downtown in their ‘Queen of the West’ hat! I can’t tell you how many photos were taken in those hats. Sometimes they would show up with one they’d had for five years, and it looked so loved,” Emily says.

HER OWN LOVE STORY

And at the current point in her incredible journey, Emily has found herself planting deeper roots in Medora, explaining: “I fell in love with Medora in 1993. I fell in love in Medora in 2011.”

Of her own Medora love story, Emily puts it simply.

“I enjoyed (the traveling performer) life very much, and it enabled me to see the entire world doing what I loved, but when I met Rolf (Sletten) in 2011, I was ready to slow down. The result was that I truly ‘came home to Medora,’” Emily says.

Rolf Sletten was the Bully Spirit Award winner for 2019 – this is the highest honor the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation awards.

After hosting the Medora Musical for several seasons, Emily took on new challenges as part of the Medora team — helping launch and grow Medora’s popular Gospel Brunch and the Magical Medora Christmas Tour. 
In addition to these popular Medora productions, Emily continues to pursue other favorite projects including Patsy Cline and Karen Carpenter Tribute shows and performances with the Bismarck/Mandan and Bemidji (Minnesota) Symphony Orchestras.

Whatever musical project she is dedicated to, and wherever travels with Rolf take her, Emily continues to embody the Queen of West role. 
“It’s just me, that Queen of the West persona,” Emily says. “Me, with close ties to the town, the music, the people, the history, and the legacy that Harold and Sheila Schafer built. Rolf wrote two books about Medora and Theodore Roosevelt. This stunning place is deeply embedded in both of us and it’s great to share that passion together.”


Women of Medora: Candice Lively

 

Originally published in Inspired Women Magazine.

 

Women of Medora features inspiring women who have made an impact on the world through their time living and working in Medora.

 

Candice Lively Wollen, an Inspiring Woman

Candice Lively Wollan may be a Tennessee girl at heart, but North Dakotans have warmly claimed her as one of their own since she began performing as a Burning Hills Singer in the Medora Musical in 2009. (In fact, when the Musical rolled out a newly penned song about North Dakota in 2011, Candice was chosen to sing the ballad night after night—if every single North Dakotan who heard her sing “Always North Dakota” didn’t get a little choked up and want to invite her home for a hotdish dinner, then I don’t know what’s wrong with them…)

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Women of Medora: Kathy Solga

 

Originally published in Inspired Women Magazine.

 

Women of Medora features inspiring women who have made an impact on the world through their time living and working in Medora.

 

Kathy Solga, an Inspiring Woman

If you stop out at Medora’s Bully Pulpit Golf Course on a September afternoon, you’ll notice a few things.

First, the summer tourist season doesn’t appear to be over in the least, with a full parking lot, bustling pro shop, and shiny, scoria-colored golf carts zipping around almost every breathtaking hole. (While the famed Medora Musical wraps up the second weekend of September, Bully Pulpit keeps hosting golfers until late October, or until the snow flies—whichever comes first.)

Second, if you’re looking for golf shop manager Kathy Solga, you may have to get in line, as it seems just about everyone on the course knows her and wants to give her a warm hello. But don’t worry—not only will she be happy to take time to visit, she’ll make you feel like you are the only person in the room.

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Women of Medora: Joslyn Reichert

 

Originally published in Inspired Women Magazine.

 

Women of Medora features inspiring women who have made an impact on the world through their time living and working in Medora.

 

Joslyn Reichert, an Inspiring Woman

Life sometimes has a funny way of putting the right opportunity in front of you at just the right time.

Dickinson native Joslyn Reichert had built a career in the food and beverage industry, attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, holding various chef positions on the west coast, and then transitioning to food and beverage management roles at mountain resorts in Wyoming and Montana.

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Women of Medora: Sheila Schafer

 

Originally published in Inspired Women Magazine.

 

Women of Medora features inspiring women who have made an impact on the world through their time living and working in Medora.

 

ELEVATE conference is coming to Medora, and we couldn’t be more excited! Medora’s past is weaved with the stories and presence of so many strong women and we cannot wait to help celebrate that! The most prominent lady of Medora, Sheila Schafer, is the perfect women to feature for the conference. Learn about her story…

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Ask President Roosevelt

“Ask President Roosevelt” is a feature of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Member Newsletter, the Rough Riders Review. For five summers, veteran TR repriser, historian, and actor Joe Wiegand has brought Theodore Roosevelt to life on the matinee stage at Medora’s Old Town Hall Theater. During the off-season, Joe travels the country as TR, representing the Medora Foundation. As part of every performance, in character as TR, Wiegand takes questions from the audience.

 

Q: How did you spend your winter, Colonel Roosevelt? Any big plans for the summer ahead?

A: Like so many of you, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays spent with family were the most special occasions. Of course, I toured the country, performing for audiences from Portland, Oregon to Saranac Lake, New  York. Like many a North Dakotan, the winter found me in Florida, Arizona, and Southern California, where thousands of Medora Musical fans follow the migratory fowl.

Traveling the country and telling people about Medora and the beautiful Badlands of North Dakota is a real honor and pleasure, READ MORE »

TRMF President, Hatzenbuhler: “I am all-in for Reese”

Last summer in Medora, I told my wife, Laurie, “I am all in for Reese”.

Reese is our 4 ½-year-old grand-daughter. Laurie’s 33-year career in healthcare ended early in 2017. It was a transition for her, us – actually, it only took her 15 minutes to get used to retirement! Leading up to the summer season, the big question was whether she would spend the whole summer in Medora, or just weekends. Grand-children were a very important part of the decision. We are blessed to have our children and grandchildren living nearby. READ MORE »

Who Is Cowboy Lyle?

Cowboy Lyle:

He seems to be everywhere. You can find him walking down the streets of Medora, and it’s no rare sight to see him greeting guests at the Medora Musical, but who is Cowboy Lyle really?

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