Posts tagged North Dakota

Medora Musical Announces Audition Dates for 50th Season

Medora Musical Announces Audition Dates for 50th Season

“The Greatest Show in the West” is looking for talent

(MEDORA, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, in Conjunction with Stage West Entertainment, announced today that auditions for the 2014 Medora Musical will begin in early February. Auditions will be open for singers, dancers and musicians interested in becoming members of the Burning Hills Singers and Coal Diggers band during the 50th year of the Medora Musical.

“Auditions for the Medora Musical attract some of the nation’s top stage talent, each year,” says Kinley Slauter, Burning Hills Amphitheater Director. “And being able to pick the best-of-the-best for the Show is an exciting process – especially so when members of the cast come from our home state of North Dakota.”

Four separate auditions will be held during the month of February. READ MORE »

13 Gorgeous Places to Visit Around Medora

13 Gorgeous Places to Visit Around Medora

1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park scenic drive: Surely our 26th President would be proud of his namesake.  He loved the badlands and advocated the protection of our natural wonders.  Come drive a loop in the park, and you’re sure to fall in love with the North Dakota badlands, just as Roosevelt did so long ago.  You’ll be able to step back and imagine the scenes that may have greeted him when he first came, complete with wild horses, buffalo, and prairie dog villages.  Just be sure to drive slowly around the buffalo!

2. Wind Canyon at Sunset: Take a short, ten-minute hike off the loop in Theodore Roosevelt National Park to experience a truly beautiful sunset.  It’s a great way to end a day of fun and adventure in and around Medora. Don’t forget your cameras! The scene is truly breathtaking.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

3. Buck Hill at Sunrise: Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!  If you’ve been reading your Poor Richard’s Almanack and missed the sunset in Wind Canyon, there is still a beautiful view for you.  Buck Hill is the perfect place to catch a sunrise!

4. Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch is now encompassed by Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  It’s an amazing portion of the park, and surrounded by natural beauty.  Once you drink in the visual aspects of T.R.’s old property, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature, free from the noises of modern hustle and bustle.  You won’t be disappointed!

5. We in Medora are proud of the Bully Pulpit Golf Course! It features some of the best golfing in the west and was even ranked one of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses. The scenery is truly breathtaking – especially for our 3 signature holes: Peaceful Valley, Bully Pulpit, and Perched Rock!

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6. Painted Canyon Overlook: One of the best views of the North Dakota Badlands!  Take a short detour off of the interstate, and you’ll glimpse the buttes, scoria, and natural beauty of the area. You might even see a wild horse or two!

7. The Chateau de Morès: The Marquis and Marquise certainly knew where to build their Chateau. Their view of Medora was unrivaled. Come see Medora from the vantage point of her founder!

8. Medora is surrounded by marvelous buttes, and a good, strenuous hike is just the sort of thing Roosevelt would enjoy. Come hike one of those buttes to get a new perspective on Medora.

9. On your way to the Medora Musical?  Take a right off the path and you’ll get to Medora’s cemetery.  It’s a peaceful resting spot for many Medora residents, and offers another great scenic view for those who visit.  The view from the flagpoles is a sight to behold!

10. Tjaden Terrace Overlook: After or during the Pitchfork Steak Fondue, be sure to take advantage of the view before going to the Medora Musical.

11. There’s no more authentic way to explore the Badlands than on the back of a horse across a primitive trail.  For a truly western experience, come on a guided tour of the badlands on the Medora Riding Stables Trail Rides!

12. Burning Hills Amphitheatre – What better venue to experience the Greatest Show in the West? The Burning Hills Amphitheatre is nestled into the beautiful badlands that captivated the Marquis de Morès and Theodore Roosevelt.  The scenic view lends itself to the Medora Musical, both as a backdrop and as a part of the set.

2013 Burning Hills Singers

13. Come enjoy North Dakota’s State Scenic River, the Little Missouri River! It’s the perfect place to bring a kayak and soak in the sun and a little scenery at the same time.  As Queen of the West Emily Walter would say, “Unpredictable, primitive, and panoramic, the Little Mo passes through all three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The river characterizes North Dakota’s adventurous spirit, and is a great spot for us to gather awhile!”

 

For more information on Medora:

Visit us at medora.com

or Call 1-800-MEDORA-1 [1-800-633-6721]

 

The Delicious Pitchfork Steak Fondue

The Delicious Pitchfork Steak Fondue

There are many exceptional dining experiences in Medora!  The most unique is the Pitchfork Steak Fondue. Where else can you savor a fondued 12 oz. rib-eye steak as you overlook the Badlands from atop a bluff at the Tjaden Terrace. We might be a little bias but Beth Schatz Kaylor who writes the fabulous blog Rhubarb and Venison agrees, the Pitchfork Fondue and the Medora Musical make for a wonderful evening!  Here are a few snippets from her recent post about the Pitchfork Fondue and Medora Musical.

“Deep fried steak. That’s supposed to be the star attraction at the Pitchfork Fondue in Medora, ND, but I’ve gotta tell you, although the steak is great, the view from the Pitchfork Fondue dining area is simply spectacular. Bring your camera.

But back to the food. As any visitor knows, when you go to Medora, you have to make a night out of 1) the Pitchfork Fondue, followed by 2) the Medora Musical. My carnivore husband LOVES the Pitchfork Fondue. As someone who treads a little heavier in vegetables than meat, even I admit that this is one tasty steak. Throw a steak in a pot of boiling hot oil and it sears immediately, creating a juicy cut with a crispy crust. As a crust fanatic, I completely approve of a crusty steak. A country band plays as diners load up their metal lunch trays (yay for reusable trays!) with coleslaw, baked beans, baked potatoes, raw veggies and Texas toast. The sides aren’t particularly interesting – they all play second fiddle to the meaty entree. “

 

You can read Beth Schatz Kaylor’s  full post Pitchfork Fondue in Medora, ND here!

Medora Nightlife

Medora Nightlife

Medora is a swingin’ town.  During the day, you can go on trail rides and buggy rides, visit the museums, or enjoy the Family Fun Center. You can hike, go mini golfing, or enjoy the different day shows.  One would think that things slow down toward the evening; but the fun really kicks up in Medora when the sky starts to dim. READ MORE »

13 Reasons to Visit Medora!

13 Reasons to Visit Medora!

1. Experience the greatest show in the West: the Medora Musical!  You’re sure to have a toe-tapping time at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre as you enjoy our wide variety of country and western music and the amazing talents of our performers.
2. Where else can you enjoy meat that has been prepared on a pitchfork and accompanied by the greatest side dishes in the west and a great view of the Badlands? Enjoy the Pitchfork Steak Fondue when you visit Medora!
3. It was good enough for Teddy Roosevelt.  And that was before it had indoor plumbing! READ MORE »

Bully Pulpit Golf Course to open on April 27, 2013

Bully Pulpit Golf Course to open on April 27, 2013

Managers say inquiries by golfers from across the U.S. point to another outstanding year.

Medora’s Bully Pulpit Golf Course will open for the 2013 season on April 27.

Casey Moen, Bully Pulpit’s Head Golf Professional, says the course is ready for what could be a record year. Moen says inquiries from across the nation have increased since February when Golf Digest named the course as one of the Top 100 Golf Courses for 2013. The magazine also gave the course a “Best in State” ranking.

“Bully Pulpit was already well-known among serious golfers across the country but the Golf Digest ranking has golfers, who have not yet visited the course, saying they need to experience the course for themselves,” says Moen.

While the recent snow may have delayed the course’s opening, Bully Pulpit Golf Shop manager Kathy Solga says the additional moisture was beneficial and the timing for the season opener is still on target. READ MORE »

90 Minutes in TR National Park

90 Minutes in TR National Park

July is almost over, and most of us are busy packing as much life and enjoyment as possible into the remaining weeks of summer.  It had been a while since I had been through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park; in fact, it had been much too long.  I didn’t want to miss the chance to enjoy the park in its summer glory.  Even though I only had about an hour and a half to spend there around other items on my schedule, I decided to go for a quick drive through the loop.

Grasses wave and clouds swirl on a July afternoon in TR National Park.

I have always felt that TRNP is one of the “best kept secrets” of the national park system.  Beautiful, clean, and never crowded, it’s the perfect afternoon drive if you want to clear your mind and fill up your senses. The 36-mile paved loop road winds lazily around hills and past creek beds, under tree branches, sometimes with only a handful of other cars in sight.

Although early mornings and evenings are the best time to try to catch a glimpse of the park wildlife during the heat of summer, I was hoping I’d luck out and stumble across some animals in the afternoon sun.  Prairie dogs are a given – you will inevitably spot those little guys popping out of their ground holes, sitting up to assess your vehicle, barking out a greeting to a neighboring dog, and just as quickly darting back down inside.

Pathway along Wind Canyon in TR National Park.

After enjoying the prairie dog town, I was taken in by colors. Mid-summer is the time of year when grasses start to dry out and add shades of light greens, yellows, and browns to the never-changing scoria reds and cedar greens of the badlands. The view from Wind Canyon was, as always, breathtaking, with occasional clouds threatening sprinkles and adding grays and navies to the summer blue sky.

 

 

 

 

Some buffalo kick up a little dust in TR National Park.

Some wild horses posed on the horizon from a distance, but not close enough to get a good look. Then I turned a corner around a butte, and was greeted by a buffalo herd roadblock!  Mothers with their calves grazed on the grass or rested on their sides.  A couple of the furry beasts got in a scuffle and kicked up a little dust in their wake while the others ignored their horseplay.

 

A wild horse gets frisky in TR National Park.

The oddball in the herd was a lone wild horse, who was busy doing some heel-kicking on its own!

The drive was over before I knew it, but the vivid landscape and surprising wildlife left me wanting more time in the park. Resolved to make it a more regular stop on my summer calendar, I challenge you to do the same as you venture to Medora!

 

 

 

 

Medora’s Badlands Trail Run: Six Years and Going Strong

Medora’s Badlands Trail Run: Six Years and Going Strong

If you ever asked Wade Westin, “What’s new in Medora?” you’d be answered with an enthusiastic listing of attractions, events, and local hang-outs that he was bursting to share.  Wade loved Medora and the North Dakota Badlands, and as the Marketing and PR Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, he was constantly brainstorming for fun and unique experiences that Medora could offer.

A combination of Wade’s interest in running and his love of the majestic Badlands led to the idea for a trail run along the Maah Daah Hey Trail near Medora.  Mark Zimmerman, currently the Director of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, remembers talking about the possibilities with Wade when traveling together to various sport and tourism shows in the winter months.  At the time, Zimmerman was working as the Outdoor Recreation Specialist for North Dakota Tourism.  He loved the idea of promoting the Maah Daah Hey Trail as a place for not only horseback riding, hiking, and biking, but for running as well.

The Badlands Trail Run starts at the Tjaden Terrace, adjacent to the Burning Hills Amphitheatre in Medora, ND

With the help of Wade, Mark, Medora Foundation staff, friends, and volunteers, the first annual Badlands Trail Run took place six years ago in the fall of 2006.  Zimmerman remembers, “The first one, we maybe weren’t as prepared as we should have been.  By golly, people kept registering and we were very busy handling the crowd.  Once the race started, I think one lady veered off the trail and ran down a cow path instead, but everything turned out all right! By the next year we had things organized to run much smoother, and Wade had a great group of volunteers who knew how it worked; it was really a lot of fun.”

Zimmerman points out that the Badlands Trail Run can be challenging to runners used to flatter surfaces.  He notes that many of the races in Bismarck-Mandan are held on pavement or well-worn trails, and that the terrain and grade of the trail on the Maah Daah Hey is tougher than a typical 5K/10K race in North Dakota.

In the summer of 2007, a road race was added to Medora’s calendar of events.  The “Bully Run”, named after Teddy Roosevelt’s trademark saying, took runners through the streets of Medora and on roads and bike paths on the edge of town.   As word of the races spread, the number of participants in each 5K walk/run and 10K run events grew from 70 to 100 to closer to 150.  Still small enough to be timed with hand timers and to have organizers shout out last-minute instructions without a mic, the races have a small town feel and a friendly atmosphere.

Wade’s co-worker Ann Riippa soon took on many of the administrative and organizational responsibilities of the races in order to help share Wade’s many responsibilities in the marketing department.  A runner as well, Ann felt the races were ideal for runners of all ages and abilities.  “The Medora races are all about enjoying being out in the Badlands and having a fun time. It’s a great place for new runners to come out and try their first race.”   (This blogger gives a review of their experience with the Badlands Trail Run.)  The events have gained a following in the running world, too: the Badlands Trail Run was recently featured in Trail Runners Magazineclick here to read the full 4-page article.

Ann Riippa, Wade Westin, and Mark Zimmerman (l-r) pose in downtown Medora following the 2008 Badlands Trail Run, Wade’s last Medora race before passing away in February 2009.

With Wade’s sudden passing in 2009, family, friends, and co-workers were looking for significant ways to honor his caring and adventurous spirit.  One clear way to do that was for the Medora Foundation to continue hosting race events, an effort still led by Ann Riippa.  The seventh annual Badlands Trail Run is schedule for August 25, 2012.  Runners and walkers receive a sweat-wicking t-shirt and buffet lunch ticket as part of registration fees.  Register ahead of time to ensure a t-shirt will be available for you the day of the race.

See you on the trail!

 

 

 

 

July 4th in Medora: A Visit with Sheila Schafer

July 4th in Medora: A Visit with Sheila Schafer

For decades, families, parade-goers, employees, park rangers, Medora Musical cast members, and countless others have enjoyed the 4th of July holiday in this patriotic little town.

Sheila Schafer, the unofficial “First Lady of Medora”, is busy gearing up for the 4th at her log cabin home in Medora.  She may be eighty-seven years old, but her calendar is jam-packed with appointments, lunches, interviews, family time, and frequent evenings watching the Medora Musical.  When I stopped by this week, she was baking all-American apple pies in preparation for the arrival of several relatives over the course of the next few days.   A neat row of American flags—which she proudly notes are labeled by the manufacturer “Made in the USA”—wave in the wind from her front yard flower beds.  And of course, 400 ice cream bars are chilling in her freezer (…we’ll get to that later).

When asked why Medora is such a fun place to celebrate the Independence Day holiday, she quickly replied, “Well, there’s three big reasons to come out to Medora on the 4th of July. First, we always have a big crowd at the Medora Musical, and those kids [the Burning Hills Singers] are fired up and ready to do that show!  Second, we put on a great parade. Third, we put on a big fireworks show that no one can beat, and everyone congregates on my lawn to watch.”

The 400 ice cream bars await employees and volunteers who come to take in the fireworks show at Sheila’s house, the best view in town.  Sheila and a crew of helpers happily hand out the ice cream to the people who keep Medora running all summer long.  Around 11:15pm, members of the crowd quiet down, lie on blankets looking up at the stars, and await the dramatic artillery of a fireworks show that will light up the sky and shake the ground beneath them.

Sheila (pronounced “shy – la”) is the widow of Harold Schafer, owner of the Gold Seal Company, founder of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, and the philanthropist who lovingly poured money and energy into the rejuvenation of the town of Medora in the 1960s.

Harold passed away more than a decade ago, but Sheila says she thinks about him more during the 4th of July than any other time during the summer season in Medora.  “After Christmas, the 4th of July was Harold’s favorite time of year!  He was very patriotic. He so honored people that served.  How proud he would be that we’ve got a grandson now that just got his sergeant stripes in the National Guard.” In fact, Sheila tells that in Harold’s will, one of his wishes was that Medora continue to hold 4th of July Parades and a big fireworks show every year.

When Harold and Sheila were younger, they spent 4th of July holidays riding horseback in the Dickinson and Medora parades, duded up in Roy Rogers-like apparel.  Sheila is proud of the number of parade entrants Medora usually sees, saying the parades here used to be much smaller. She laughs, “Bill Sorensen [of the 4-M Revue] used to joke during his show that our parade was so small, we would just park the parade and let the people walk around it!  Now we get a pretty good sized parade.”  Harold was also known to buy hundreds of little American flags and send Sheila downtown to hand them out to all the children on the boardwalks of Medora.

This year, Harold would have been 100 years old in February.  Sheila knows he would be proud of the patriotic pride still on display today, and throughout the year, in Medora.

(See the Medora calendar of events for listings of patriotic celebrations and parades.  Medora’s special Veteran’s Day is July 8 and honors all armed service veterans.  Click here to read details.)

Surprised by Art in Medora

Surprised by Art in Medora

If you’ve never been to Medora or haven’t visited in a long time, you may wonder if Medora is just a place for cowboys and musical enthusiasts.  Cowboys and music lovers abound—it’s true—and they can be seen daily sauntering through town enjoying the view from the saddle, or reveling in the rhythms of the famous Medora Musical.  But for those of you with a wide range of interests, Medora offers a lot to visitors who take the time to explore—more so now than ever before.

A surprising aspect that visitors to Medora are discovering is the artwork to be found throughout town.  Some examples of art in Medora are obvious, and others are more subtle.  You will discover artwork infused with the flavor of the Old West, along with more modern works inspired by nature that add to the visual interest of Medora.

Enjoy these examples and many more when you are here, and feel free to share your Medora art discoveries with us as you find them! Check out www.medora.com/events for special art shows and feature artist events throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons.

 

Old Town Hall Theater, 1930s Murals

Breckenridge Mural, Old Town Hall, Medora, ND

Guests can catch an entertaining show in the Old Town Hall Theater every day of the week (“A Teddy Roosevelt Salute to Medora” Mondays through Fridays at 4pm, and the “4M Revue” Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm and 4pm).

Breckenridge Mural, Old Town Hall Theater, Medora, ND

However, stop in early to take in original murals on the interior walls of the theater. The Old Town Hall was built in 1924, and traveling artist Joe Breckenridge created the murals in 1936.  He then returned in 1960 to touch up his work.

 

 

 

 

Harold Schafer Heritage Center Patio Lawn, Wind Sculptures

A much newer addition to the artistic side of Medora, these wind sculptures were added in the past month.  Five unique metal sculptures, hovering like trees above your head, spin and swirl in the North Dakota breeze.

These sculptures were gifted by the John Andrist family of Crosby, North Dakota, and are located at the Harold Schafer Heritage Center Patio Lawn, adjacent to the historic Von Hoffman house lawn.

 

 

North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, “Cowboys and Indians: Alive and Well Today” Art Exhibit and Sale

Along with its fascinating permanent exhibits, The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame is currently featuring this traveling exhibit of art.

 

 

 

 

 

The gallery pieces speak to the very purpose of the museum:  honoring the heritage of Native American, Ranching, and Rodeo culture.

 

Take in this colorful exhibit, and while you’re visiting the museum, appreciate the artwork on display in the permanent exhibits such as the beaded Native American moccasins shown here, and the bronze pieces adorning the outside of the building by North Dakota sculptor Arnie Addicott.

 

Downtown merchants

I had to look twice – no, that’s not a longhorn grazing on the lawn of a local merchant’s business, it is in fact a usable grill!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This creative cooker and a colorful herd of mini-horses add to the color and fun you will experience walking the streets of Medora.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyle K. Glass Photography

“Cowboy Lyle” may wear boots and a cowboy hat, but he’s a photographer at heart.  Lyle’s photography features wildlife and scenery from the North Dakota Badlands.

You’ll find his work displayed in frames and as greeting cards in various locations throughout Medora.  And if you’d like to get a shot of Lyle himself (and maybe even an autograph!), you’ll likely find him outside the Badlands Pizza Parlor in downtown Medora.

 

 

 

Theodore’s Dining Room, stained glass windows

When the Rough Riders Hotel Dining room was refurbished and renamed Theodore’s Dining Room in 2009, the interior underwent a total transformation.  One of the beautiful additions to the dining room is a set of identical stained glass windows, placed back to back and looking out onto the dining room on one side, and TR’s Tavern on the other.

The windows were gifted by Jim and Joanne Kack, who purchased the pieces from a Minnesota stained glass collector in the mid 1980s. The glass was thought to have originated from the Church of the Redeemer Episcopal Church in Superior, Wisconsin, which opened in January 1892. Two similar pieces given by the Kacks are also displayed above the front desk of the adjacent Rough Riders Hotel in Medora.