Posts tagged Medora

NEWS RELEASE: Clarence Sitter Named Chief Operating Officer, Emily Klym Becomes Chief Financial Officer of TRMF

(Medora, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) is happy to announce new positions for two longtime leaders of our organization. Former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Clarence Sitter has assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the organization—and previous Controller Emily Klym has taken the mantle of CFO.

Sitter and Klym began their new roles on January 1st, 2022.

“The Medora Foundation is a great place to work,” Sitter says. “The values of our organization—of service to others and respect for people and place—attracted me to Medora and keep me here. I look forward to continuing to share those values in this new capacity.”

Clarence Sitter grew up in Drayton, North Dakota. He earned his bachelor degree and his MBA from the University of Mary in Bismarck, where he was invited to join the Harold Schafer Emerging Leaders Academy. It was there that he became acquainted with members of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. After an eleven-year career as a Certified Public Accountant with Eide Bailly, he joined TRMF as Chief Financial Officer in June of 2012.

“I learned about Harold Schafer’s legacy of reinvigorating Medora during my time at the University of Mary,” Sitter says. “I consider it a blessing and an honor to be able to give back to Medora and the people of North Dakota, like Harold did.”

Sitter’s tenure as CFO brought a great deal of growth and expansion at the TR Medora Foundation: from approximately $10 million in annual operating revenue in 2012 to about $20 million today. The organization’s staff also grew from around 30 full-time employees to more than 70 in 2022.

“I feel like I’m leaving the CFO position in a better place than I found it; that was always my goal,” Sitter says. “I believe Medora will continue to be a safe, family-friendly place for North Dakota to enjoy, and I know we’ll go on to provide more opportunities for our employees to grow and develop.”

Meanwhile, Sitter expressed great confidence in his successor Emily Klym. “Emily is tenacious, detail-oriented, outgoing, passionate, and caring—all great traits for a CFO to have,” Sitter says. “I look forward to seeing what she’ll do to improve the position and our organization.”

“I am very excited and humbled to be in this new role at the TR Medora Foundation,” Klym says. “I’ve gained a lot of perspective on our organization as controller, and have worked closely with our various department managers in that time. I’m glad to have a voice at the table of our excellent Leadership Team.”

Emily Klym grew up in Edgeley, North Dakota. She says her “Medora story” began in her childhood. “We traveled here as a family every summer. I absolutely loved it.”

Klym enrolled at Dickinson State University, where she was admitted to the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program. She graduated in 2012 with degrees in accounting and business, then became a Certified Public Accountant in 2014. After a multi-year career at Brady Martz & Associates in Dickinson, she joined TRMF as Controller in July of 2018.

Klym says she’s grateful to have held a role that allowed her to interact closely with the many branches of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. “I’ve had the chance to learn and understand intimately the opportunities and challenges that emerge for employees at various levels of our organization. That’s a perspective I’m excited to share with our Leadership Team.”

She expressed gratitude that her already-rich “Medora story” gets to continue in this way. “I fell in love out here!” Klym says. “Not only with my husband, but with the landscape, the history, and the people. I’m so glad to be working in Medora.”

NEWS RELEASE: A Bigger, Better Medora Experience Means More Summer Jobs & Free Housing

(Medora, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF), in anticipation of its biggest summer season ever, is preparing to welcome a seasonal staff of hundreds of highly qualified people from all around the world—and to offer several perks for those employees.

TRMF is a year-round operation that employs 72 full-time staff members. In order to better serve the many thousands of guests who visit Medora in the summer, our staff grows to include hundreds of seasonal employees.

And in 2022, TRMF will have even more attractions and features in Medora for guests to experience:

To provide these new services—in addition to mainstays like the Medora Gospel Brunch, lodging at the historic Rough Riders Hotel, and tee times at Bully Pulpit Golf Course—TRMF is poised to hire 337 summer employees in 2022.

“Living and working in Medora makes for a summer unlike any other,” says Sara Michael, Talent Acquisition Specialist for TRMF. “And the summer ahead will be our biggest and most fun one yet. I’m eager to see our staff grow to include hundreds of wonderful people.”

As part of our hiring surge, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation is offering several incentives and perks to our summer employees:

  • Housing will be provided at no cost to employees who reside in double-occupancy housing during their time in Medora
  • Employees will be eligible for a $300 end-of-season bonus
  • Referral bonuses of $200 are available to employees who recommend additional hires
  • Employees can attend the Medora Musical at no cost
  • Golf rounds for $11.00 at Bully Pulpit Golf Course for employees
  • More than $30,000 in scholarship and award opportunities are available for employees who demonstrate leadership and good character

“We often hear from our seasonal workforce that they have the best summer of their life when they work in Medora,” Michael says. “We’re happy that we can offer free room and board to our staff this year, in addition to the competitive wages and other great perks that come with spending a summer here.”

Anyone interested in applying to work in Medora is invited to see our full list of openings at this link.

VIDEO: Work and Explore in Medora!
PHOTOS: Employees on the job in Medora
LINK: Learn about employment in Medora

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!

Remembering Harold Schafer and His Medora Legacy on His Birthday

Remembering Harold Schafer and His Medora Legacy on His Birthday

“My guess is that if I have a legacy, it’s going to be Medora, North Dakota.”

Those were the words of our founder, Harold Schafer, during an interview in 1997. In that wide-ranging discussion, he spoke about his philosophy on hard work, his success as a businessman, and the revitalization of historic Medora that he helped kick-start.

“Medora is real. It has real history. It’s not quite so flashy as Six Flags Over Texas,” Harold said, “but Medora has a greatness to it also.”

It was a greatness that couldn’t have happened without Harold’s help. In 1962 he renovated the Rough Riders Hotel. A few years later, the show we now know as the Medora Musical debuted in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre. And in the decades that followed, a run-down cowtown had become one of the country’s most exciting destinations for tourism.

“You can walk around the parking lot [at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre] and find cars from 30 or 40 different states in one night at the show,” he marveled in 1997.

That was twenty-five years ago—and it just so happened that during that interview, Harold was asked, “What’s Medora going to look like 25 years from now?”

Harold’s answer might surprise you: “I haven’t the slightest idea!”

He continued, “I had no knowledge it would ever be where it is now. I had no outline in my mind that it would grow like this. And if it should continue to grow, I don’t know what it’s going to be. But I think it’s going to continue to grow.”

We wish Harold could see what Medora has become 25 years after that interview. We believe he’d be proud of it.

On this, Harold’s 110th birthday, we’re remembering our founder fondly. We invite you to watch this excerpt from that 1997 interview. Harold doesn’t just discuss Medora; he covers his legacy, his philosophy of work, and more. It’s a fascinating look at a remarkable man!

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.

“It Never Felt Like Work”: UND Alumni Magazine features TRMF President Randy Hatzenbuhler

“It Never Felt Like Work”: UND Alumni Magazine features TRMF President Randy Hatzenbuhler

Friends of Medora will see a familiar face in the pages of the latest University of North Dakota Alumni Magazine:

The President of our organization (and 1985 UND graduate), Randy Hatzenbuhler, shared his journey to the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation—and why 34 years later, he’s still in love with Medora.


“You’re going to die in Medora.”

That was Randy Hatzenbuhler’s wife’s blunt assessment after he gave a third three-year commitment to continue working for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF). The nonprofit organization runs the Medora Musical and dozens of other business enterprises in the gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.

Now, after nearly 34 years with the organization, Randy, ’85, admits with a chuckle that she may have been right.

“I knew at that point (after six years with the organization) that I loved it,” said Randy. “It’s more work than people might understand, but it never felt like work. Hours didn’t matter. You are in a place where people are having fun. They love being here and you’re getting to help take care of them.”


That’s just a snippet of the UND Alumni Magazine’s piece. Click here to read the entire feature story on Randy!

Rise Up: Celebrating Our TRMF Volunteers—and the Bright Days Ahead in Medora

“You are the embodiment of every value that the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation holds dear.”

That message from TRMF Volunteer Coordinator Peg Gunther was central to the 2021 Volunteer Appreciation Events, held in Fargo and Medora at the beginning of October.

The events—with the theme “We Rise”—capped what was a historic summer in Medora, largely thanks to the tremendous help of more than 600 passionate volunteers.

After months of wonderful work by these folks, we were glad to have the opportunity to serve them—to share laughter, memories, music, gratitude, and good news.

Good news like this: a $100,000 challenge donation from Dr. Lana and Warren Schlecht to pay for renovations at the Spirit of Work Lodge for volunteers in Medora!

Volunteers also heard the great news that longtime volunteer Marlene Hoffart made a significant six-figure donation to put Point to Point Park over the finish line—and ensure the new addition of a lazy river, a splash pad, pickleball courts, and much more is ready for families to enjoy by summer of 2022!

We also had the pleasure of sharing some special volunteers’ own stories with the group. They heard from Mike Johnson, a 15-year volunteer with a passion for sharing Medora with children:

And they heard the emotional story of Lonnie Bonner, who suffered a stroke in February—then persevered to volunteer for her 15th year in Medora:

At the conclusion of the events, Peg Gunther reminded our volunteers that they defy all preconceptions. “Many of us are retired or semi-retired, and at a stage in our lives where we can be made to feel like our best years are behind us,” Gunther said. “Well look around! You blow that stereotype out of the water.”


It’s impossible to overstate how much TRMF values its devoted team of volunteers. We can’t wait to see you all again in 2022!

Here’s a message of thanks to our volunteers on behalf of the whole Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Team:

The Dickinson Press: Medora shines light on Johnny Cash with special Broadway musical

The following story by Jackie Jahfetson appeared in the September 21, 2021 edition of The Dickinson Press:

The Broadway musical made its way to the Western Edge, where a schedule of nearly a month-long series of showings is expected to shed light on the man in black. “Ring of Fire” will continue through Oct. 10, with live performances at 7:30 p.m. MDT each day from Wednesday to Saturday, and with a special 2 p.m. MDT on Sundays at the Old Town Hall Theater in Medora.

Actor Dorian Chalmers noted in an interview with The Press before opening night, that not many people understand all of the struggles and trials Johnny Cash went through in his life. 

“I think a lot of it is his honesty about his life because we’re telling his story through his songs… He’s being really honest about what he’s done and what he’s experienced in his life through his music, so I think that’s why his songs touch people because they identify with that honesty,” Chalmers said.

Throughout the theatrical production, the cast reveals how the musical legend crafted his heartfelt songs through the experience of loss and pain, such as losing his older brother Jack after he was seriously injured from a table saw accident as well as overcoming pill addiction. 

“When someone falls down and struggles in life but then kicks themselves back up, that’s always inspiring to people too. So I think that’s probably an important part of his story also. And the fact that he and June went through a lot and they stuck it out,” Chalmers said. 

Through hits such as “Cry Cry Cry” carved a rockabilly sound that would inspire several acts to follow in the country music industry, actor Tim Drake noted. With “universal themes” of love, loss and humor, Johnny Cash had a way to spin a situation he dealt with into a motivational message. 

“His songs are all songs that people can relate to,” Drake said, adding, “… He plays in different genres (such as) rockabilly and a while back… he reimagined the Nine Inch Nails’ song ‘Hurt’ with Rick Rubin and it was a big big hit that they did together.”

Johnny Cash’s 1974 spoken song “Ragged Old Flag” — which was penned following the political turbulence resulting in Nixon’s impeachment and the Watergate scandal — is highlighted within the “Ring of Fire” musical. Performed by Drake, the song tells the story of an American flag and the trails it has gone down. With its patriotic lyrics and sentimental simplicity, Drake’s performance of “Ragged Old Flag” left many in a standing ovation on opening night. 

“I just love this show, it’s so much fun to do… We rarely don’t get standing ovations with this show. Because it’s impressive to people to see (actors) moving around, playing different instruments, dancing and singing at the same time,” he said. “… And it’s Johnny’s music so you can’t go wrong with that.” 

Tickets can be purchased at medora.com, or at any location in Medora that tickets are sold.