So Far, Better Than Expected — Thank you!

A letter from Randy Hatzenbuhler, TRMF President

In an April video message we shared, I said that “when you’re ready, we’ll be here for you.” Today, I just want to say, “thank you.” Thank you to our visitors, to our board, our team and our partners, and to you, our members and supporters.

Thank you, not only for coming to Medora this summer with a few “ND Smart Restart” changes, but for your support, and for the courage you showed to help us all continue doing our good work here in Medora this year.

Theodore Roosevelt’s words have guided us well, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Our founder, Harold Schafer, would have added to that phrase that, “No one should do less. No one can expect more.”

Living that advice has taken us to today, where we are so grateful to be enjoying a season that is better than we expected – instead of 40% of what we planned, if all goes well, we may see 70% of the attendees that we planned for at the Medora Musical.

I don’t want to mislead you, we are going to see a significant reduction to our business this year. But we aren’t going to focus solely on that. We are focusing on the lessons learned and the opportunities that lie ahead for TRMF. And there are some wonderful things on the horizon.

Lessons Learned

This year, we have learned so much – and I guarantee we will learn more in the final few weeks of the summer season! We learned that dismissing the Medora Musical row-by-row is actually a really nice, relaxing exit process, and that we could offer two shows per night on key weekends.

Offering two shows on “big nights” gives families a wonderful matinee time and gives TRMF the opportunity to one day welcome up to 5,000 attendees in one night.

It could also mean that we can offer the cast an off day, every week. That’s another improvement for our biggest resource, our people, and an opportunity to diversify guest offerings for every Monday in Medora.

We were strongly reminded that people really love getting into the Badlands – specifically on the Maah Daah Hey Trail, with guests from around the nation coming daily to run, hike or ride the trail on horseback or mountain bike.

And thousands coming to be a part of events like the Maah Daah Hey 100 Mountain Bike Race (don’t worry, you don’t HAVE to race all 100 miles).

Expect to see good things in the future because of these lessons. 

Those looking for more adrenaline raced in a Badlands Series Race like the Maah Daah Hey 100.

Opportunities Ahead

We have incredible, incredible, opportunities in front of us, too. The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library continues to make progress toward opening in Medora – it’s likely that world-class experience will open in 2025 but I wouldn’t bet against them doing it sooner.

Our project at Point to Point Park is being so well received by guests, and we’re getting ready to begin the next phase. (You can help take us across the finish line by joining in to support with our pavilion support program. Learn more about the pavilion support program by contact Joslyn Tooz at

And we’re about to embark on a project to Innovate, Repair, Replace, & Preserve our beloved Bully Pulpit Golf Course; we’re calling it “Legacy BP” and we’ll be inviting you to get into the arena with us soon to help ensure that Bully Pulpit is again a Top 100 Public Course in the country.

How we will remember 2020

Theodore Roosevelt also said that “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

The TR Presidential Library has distilled his philosophies down to four impactful statements: Dare Greatly; Think Boldly; Live Passionately; and Care Deeply.

However this year ends up, we’re not going to look at 2020 as the year of COVID-19. We’re going to look at this year as the time when TRMF started to become a better, stronger version of itself. When it evolved to be even better than before. When we dared more greatly, thought more boldly, lived more passionately, and cared more deeply.

That’s the TRMF of tomorrow we are excited to be a part of. And we invite you to be a part of this wonderful, next chapter of our journey.

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