Posts in category Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation – Development

Bully Pulpit Golf Course set to open mid-May with two brand-new holes

The following story first appeared in our new print publication, Notes From the Trail.

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After a year of diligent work to secure the long-term future of Bully Pulpit Golf Course, golfers have much to look forward to in the coming season — including two brand-new holes and an improved, championship-level experience.

“After being a par 69 course in 2021, we’re excited to bring par up to 71 this year,” said Clubhouse Manager and PGA Head Golf Professional Patrick Rominger. “That’s thanks to two brand-new holes that we’re really proud of.”

The new Hole #8 from above. Par 4.

First is the new #8: a par 4 that will test players’ strategic skills. “It’s a tight tee shot,” Patrick said. “And golfers will have to use a shorter club as they approach the green.”

“#8 also has a really great Badlands backdrop from the green.” he added.

The new Hole #12 from above. Par 5.

The new par 5 #12 is all about risk versus reward. “If you’re aggressive off the tee, you can cut the corner off,” said General Manager Kirby Scharmann. “But some of the native grasses in that area could get you into trouble.”

Golfers can expect a smoother ride in 2022: more than have of Bully Pulpit’s cart paths have been upgraded from asphalt to concrete. “It should make for a more pleasant ride between holes,” Patrick said. “And it helps us prolong the lifespan of our carts!” Additional cart path upgrades will be made next offseason.

Part of the championship-level experience, Patrick said, is making sure every hole is challenging but fair. “For that reason, we’re taking time this summer to rework Hole #16,” he explained. “The view is beautiful, but the green has settled in such a way that it doesn’t always play fair.” Players can expect Hole #16 to return in 2023.

For now, our crew is excited about the state of Bully Pulpit for the year ahead, thanks to late winter and early spring moisture in western North Dakota. “We worked hard to prep the turf for a strong spring,” said Superintendent Kyle Fick. “Our guests will be in for a rewarding experience this season.”

Kirby put it this way with a smile: “It’s going to be a great summer of ‘good walks spoiled,’ as the saying goes.”

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Bully Pulpit Golf Course is scheduled to open to the public on Thursday, May 12th, weather permitting. Visit Medora.com/BullyPulpit to find a tee time!

How a teddy bear from Teddy Roosevelt made a family’s visit to Medora extra-special

At the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, nothing makes us happier than hearing people’s “Medora stories.”

This particular story — of Teddy Roosevelt, a teddy bear, and a young girl named Lily — has us smiling today.

Watch the video above to hear Lily’s great-grandparents, Mike and Marianne, share the story of a visit to Medora with three of their great-grandchildren.

“Lily was extremely sensitive to touch of any kind. She had never accepted a stuffed animal,” Marianne said.

That is, until she met Teddy Roosevelt (as portrayed by Joe Wiegand). He struck up a conversation with the three kids on the streets of downtown Medora before his one-man show began at the Old Town Hall Theater.

“When it was time for the show, we especially noted Lily paying attention to Teddy Roosevelt with everything she had,” Marianne said.

“At the close of his show, he came back holding a teddy bear,” she explained. He tossed it over to their family, intending for it to be given to Lily.

What happened next was a real surprise:

“She hugged it, and there was no way she would let go of it!” Marianne said. “She had to carry it wherever she went. She held it all through the Medora Musical. She hugged it on the drive back home. She hugged it when she went to bed that night.”

Seeing Lily embrace a stuffed animal for the first time is a memory Mike and Marianne won’t soon forget.

“The attention that Teddy Roosevelt gave to Lily — it was just beautiful,” Marianne says. “That teddy bear was a piece of joy for her for such a long time.”

Paving a Path Forward at Bully Pulpit: Cart Path Concrete Provider Wins National Award

Dickinson Ready Mix, a company with decades of history supporting the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, was in the national spotlight this spring thanks in part to a project at Bully Pulpit Golf Course.

In March of 2022, Scott Olin, the President and General Manager of Dickinson Ready Mix, was named the Concrete Pavement Promoter of the Year by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA).

Left to right: NRMCA Chairman Abbott Lawrence, Scott Olin, and National Pavement Promotion Committee Chair Hank Hauge

“Any time you’re recognized nationally, it’s just a huge honor,” Olin said of the award.

Scott Olin is entering his 42nd year as a member of the Dickinson Ready Mix team. His father Jack also spent 41 years with the company, and his son Ben is an employee of eight years.

Olin said the award was given largely due to the innovative work his company is is doing with Bully Pulpit Golf Course: three miles of cart paths have been upgraded to concrete from Dickinson Ready Mix.

“We are especially proud of our work at Bully Pulpit,” Olin said. “It’s such a gem of southwest North Dakota.”

Providing concrete for the cart paths marks another chapter in Dickinson Ready Mix’s history of supporting the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. The company also provided concrete for the rebuilding of the Burning Hills Amphitheatre in the 1990s. “We were backing trucks up the butte to pour the foundations for the amphitheatre seating,” he recalled. “That was one of the neatest projects that we ever had the opportunity to be a part of.”

Golfers at Bully Pulpit in 2022 will be sure to notice a smoother ride. The concrete cart path project is more than halfway complete. “It should make for a more pleasant ride between holes,” said Patrick Rominger, the Bully Pulpit Clubhouse Manager and PGA Head Golf Professional. “And it helps us prolong the lifespan of our carts.” Cart path upgrades are slated to continue next offseason.

Scott Olin said the new concrete paths are a wise investment for Bully Pulpit. “It’s long lasting,” he said. “There’s concrete pavement in the country that’s 100 years old and still being used.”

He also said the upgrade from asphalt to concrete is in line with the mission of Legacy Bully Pulpit: to preserve the natural beauty of the Badlands. “Bully Pulpit is in a fragile environmental setting, built right into the Badlands. A sustainable cart path will fit right in.”

The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation congratulates Scott Olin on his well-deserved national recognition, and thanks him and Dickinson Ready Mix for their continued support.

PS: The Bully Pulpit Golf Course team is targeting a mid-May opening date in 2022, weather permitting. Stay tuned for details!

Progress Update: Accessible Elevator Taking Shape at Burning Hills Amphitheatre!

Folks in Medora have been enjoying quite the sight this week: an enormous crane swinging pieces of our brand-new high-capacity elevator into place at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre!

These photos show the progress being made on a foggy March 2nd, 2022. It’s thrilling to get a better sense of how this amazing new structure will fit into the landscape at the home of the Medora Musical.

This high-capacity elevator is a major piece of our Access Medora initiative: an ongoing effort to ensure the Medora experience is positive for guests with mobility and sensory challenges.

“It’s been fun to see this elevator take shape,” says Kinley Slauter, the Properties & Attractions Director for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. “It will be much more fun to see it in use this summer!”

Instead of being shuttled up and down our winding walking path — a process that could take up to an hour on busy nights — guests in need of extra assistance will have a fast, safe, efficient new option.

“The whole visit to the Burning Hills Amphitheatre is an experience,” says Maddie Thompson, Theaters Manager for TRMF, “from the moment you reach the top of the hill to your trip back into town. This elevator will make that experience better all around. We’re excited!”

Fans of the Medora Musical, like Valerie Addicott and her daughter, are excited too. “I have a little girl in a wheelchair, and she loves the Medora Musical, but we’ve only seen it once due to it being difficult to get her to and from the amphitheatre,” she says. “This will be a Godsend to so many people and their friends and family!”

“The addition of the elevator will also give people an amazing new view of the Badlands,” Slauter says, describing the view from the bridge to the elevator. Take a look at this artist’s rendering of that view:

We’re grateful to the Engelstad Foundation for providing us with a $1 million grant to get this project off the ground. We also owe a big “thank you” to the State of North Dakota, which awarded us a $1 million Tourism Transportation Grant during the 2021 Legislative Session in support of Access Medora.

We can’t wait for summer to get here!

THANK YOU: Nearly $35,000 raised for kids in Medora on Giving Hearts Day 2022!

February 10th, 2022 is a day we won’t forget at the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

Why? Because on Giving Hearts Day, more than 120 kind people and organizations had Medora in mind —and altogether, $34,360.77 was raised to support the Medora WISH program!

Those dollars will go a very long way in helping us accomplish the goal of Medora WISH: to help more kids attend the Medora Musical and other activities in town at no cost. We’ve already covered more than 5,000 tickets to the show since Medora WISH began in 2019—and we can’t wait to do even more!

We have plenty of people to give an extra “thank you” to for their kindness on Giving Hearts Day 2022, including:

  • Keith & Cathy Peltier, for kickstarting our efforts with a $10,000 matching gift
  • Duane & Paula McIntyre and an anonymous donor, who each contributed $5,000 to the cause
  • Stonehome Brewing Company in Bismarck for donating 15% of their sales from February 10th to Medora WISH
  • The fifty-four donors who chipped in at least $100

Whether you gave $10 or $10,000—we want you to know how special you are to Medora. Thank you for contributing to Medora WISH on Giving Hearts Day. Thanks to you, we’re even closer to our goal of someday welcoming kids to the Medora Musical at no cost forever.

The icing on our Giving Hearts Day cake was hearing Adam & Tay play some fabulous music at Stonehome Brewing Company in Bismarck that evening. It made us even more eager for the return of the Medora Musical this summer!

Support Pours In For Kids & Families in Medora on Giving Hearts Day 2022!

Support Pours In For Kids & Families in Medora on Giving Hearts Day 2022!

Each day in Medora, we strive to connect people to this historic place for positive, life changing experiences. And the more people we can serve, the better we feel!

That’s why on Giving Hearts Day 2022, we’re raising funds for Medora WISH: a program that helps us fund Kids FREE Weeks at the Medora Musical each summer. It’s one of our favorite initiatives at TRMF—and we’re thrilled that since 2019, we’ve helped more than 5,000 kids attend the Medora Musical and other attractions in Medora at no cost.

We’d be humbled by your support on this Giving Hearts Day. Click here to make a contribution to the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation!

We appreciated getting a shout-out on Good Day Dakota on KX News this morning:

“Someday, we want to make the Medora Musical free for kids always. What we do right now is host these Kids FREE Weeks, usually in July,” said Tim Olson, the Medora Foundation Communications Specialist.

Want to learn more about Medora WISH? Spend one minute watching this video!

Thank you for thinking of Medora on Giving Hearts Day. It’s because of you we’re able to connect even more kids to Medora!

Medora WISH & Prairie Grit Team Up For Special Hunting Experience in the Badlands!

Medora WISH & Prairie Grit Team Up For Special Hunting Experience in the Badlands!

Looking for an excuse to smile today? Look no further than this video:

Video produced by Aaron Esquibel

This video was filmed in the fall, when a group of young outdoor enthusiasts brought their families out to the Medora area for a special hunting trip, made possible by Prairie Grit Adaptive Sports and our Medora WISH program!

If you aren’t familiar, Prairie Grit is a wonderful non-profit based in North Dakota that provides sporting opportunities for kids and adults with physical and mental disabilities. We couldn’t have been happier to partner with them for this outdoor adventure.

The kids roamed the Killdeer Mountains—successfully punched a deer tag—and explored Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, taking special note of the region’s handicap-accessible features, such as paved hiking trails in the National Park.

Of course, they also took a ride on Manitou the Point to Point Zipline, grabbed some pizza, and took in the ever-exciting Medora Musical!

We love seeing the positive effects of Medora WISH—whether it’s granting thousands of kids free tickets to the Medora Musical, sponsoring one-of-a-kind VIP experiences, or adventures like this one.

If you’d like to learn more about Medora WISH, click here. PLUS, this Giving Hearts Day 2022 (February 10th), any donations we receive will go straight to Medora WISH, and will be matched up to $10,000!

Thanks to Aaron Esquibel for the video and photos of this adventure!

Related: Medora WISH & Prairie Grit in the news!

Construction of Accessible Elevator at Burning Hills Amphitheatre Has Begun!

Construction of Accessible Elevator at Burning Hills Amphitheatre Has Begun!

The Burning Hills Amphitheatre in Medora isn’t exactly a busy destination in December, but we sure are excited about some activity that’s underway there this winter!

Ground-moving and construction work is officially underway on a high-capacity elevator—a major piece of our Access Medora initiative. Here are a few photos of the project as it stands in early December:

And here’s a rendering of how the elevator will look once it’s complete:

This project is incredibly important to us at the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. Why? Because it’s set to vastly improve the Medora Musical experience for guests with mobility challenges.

For years, those guests have depended on golf carts to enter and exit the amphitheatre. The carts shared a walkway designed for pedestrian traffic and becomes too congested when shared with carts. On busy nights, the wait to exit the amphitheatre can be as long as 45 to 60 minutes.

But once our high-capacity elevator is installed and ready, wait times will be drastically reduced—and the experience for our guests with mobility and sensory needs will be much improved. It will provide a safer, quicker, more enjoyable way to get into and out of the Burning Hills Amphitheatre.

We can’t wait to watch this project unfold over the coming months. And we’re grateful to the Engelstad Foundation, which provided a generous gift of $1 million to get the elevator project off the ground!

Click here to visit the TRMF website and learn more about Access Medora.

We’re taking flight in Medora!

We’re taking flight in Medora!
Rough Rider Annual Members have the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon ride. Drawing on July 23rd.

We love a good view in Medora—from the breathtaking sight of the Painted Canyon from I-94 to a fabulous top-down view of Medora at Schafer Point along the Pancratz Trail. And we know we’re not alone!

That’s one of the reasons for a unique opportunity we’re giving away this summer: a hot air balloon ride for two on the beautiful Badlands, to be given away to a lucky Rough Rider Annual Member.

It’s simple: if you’re enrolled as a Rough Rider by Friday, July 23rd, you’re automatically in the running to win the hot air balloon ride!

So if you’re a member already, thank you, and good luck! If you’re not yet a member, visit www.medora.com/members.

Being a TRMF Rough Rider means a lot more than the chance to win a hot air balloon ride. You’re also choosing to support the mission and vision of the TR Medora Foundation, and helping us preserve what makes this place special!

We’ll see you in Medora soon!

2021 Black Tie and Spurs Gala: a night of generosity and joy in Medora

2021 Black Tie and Spurs Gala: a night of generosity and joy in Medora

Our founder Harold Schafer knew that sometimes, the very best thing you can say is “Thank you.”

That’s how we feel at the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation this week—because the 2021 Black Tie and Spurs gala was even more successful than we could have imagined it would be.

On Friday, June 25th, a few hundred of Medora’s most ardent supporters gathered downtown for a social, a great meal, and a silent and live auction.

Generous partners donated a whole host of items and gift packages to be auctioned off—from an antique safe to a trip to Las Vegas and everything in between.

And our guests kept that generosity going. Even after the live auction was complete, Medora supporters raised their paddles to make cash donations to the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

When all was said and done, more than 464 thousand dollars were raised for TRMF.

Those funds will be put directly toward one of our most exciting current projects: Point to Point Park. It’s a multi-phase plan to make Medora even more welcoming to families. Some of it, like the Little Bully Pulpit Mini Golf Course and Maintou the Zip Line, are already up and running—and other pieces, like an aquatic center, are under construction as we speak.

It’s the kind of effort that simply wouldn’t be possible without the passion and support of people who see Medora the way Harold Schafer did long ago: as a special, historic place worth preserving.

To everyone who joined us at the 2021 Black Tie and Spurs gala: thank you. We can’t wait to see you again.

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