Posts tagged Theodore Roosevelt

“Bully!” for North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation sees passage of Presidential Library funding as next great moment in history for the state


(MEDORA, ND) – In the early 1950s, Harold Schafer peered over the edge of the butte overlooking the tiny village of Medora and proclaimed, “There’s too much here to let disappear.” His son, Ed, standing by his side, took in the broken-down, old cow town with dirt streets and a ramshackle hotel named for Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, and thought to himself, “But—there’s nothing there!”    

Yet, this was the moment that North Dakota’s tourism industry was born.

Harold saw an opportunity to create something wonderful for generations to come. He didn’t have an eminently-detailed plan that considered every possible scenario, or a multi-page budget document projecting every income and expense, but he knew the legend of Theodore Roosevelt translated across the globe and that his ‘Bully Spirit’ could inspire millions.

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Theodore Roosevelt Dakota Datebook Podcasts

We at the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation are proud to support the independently-produced Dakota Datebook segments done in cooperation by Prairie Public Broadcasting, TR Repriser and historian, Steve Stark, and the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most influential and iconic Presidents in the history of the United States — and he believed that he would not have reached the heights he did, had it not been for his time here, in the Badlands of North Dakota.

Enjoy these weekly podcast installments shared with permission from our friends at Prairie Public Broadcasting.

Roosevelt Whistle Stops
in North Dakota

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC APR 11, 2019

It was early April of 1903 when North Dakota welcomed the second sitting U.S. president to visit the state. The first, Rutherford B. Hayes, famously toured the giant Dalrymple farm, the first of the famous Bonanza Farms of the Red River Valley – the largest wheat operations in the world.

Theodore Roosevelt, North Dakota’s adopted son, was the second; and the two-day trip through Dakota’s plains was a homecoming for him.

Listen to episode 14

Theodore Roosevelt
and the Great War

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC APR 3, 2019

On this date in 1917, the United States was on the verge of declaring war on Germany – an action that Theodore Roosevelt vigorously supported. He had made his blistering antagonism toward Woodrow Wilson’s former neutrality abundantly public.

Listen to episode 13

Boat Thieves

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC MAR 25, 2019

On this date in 1886, Theodore Roosevelt was preparing to set out in pursuit of three men who stole his boat on the Little Missouri near his Elkhorn Ranch. His friends Will Dow and Bill Sewall quickly built a pursuit boat, and the following day, the trio of began the chase. It took days of trudging through the rugged and bitter weather of the frigid river valley, but the flinty cattlemen finally caught up with the three boat thieves, and they were soon headed home with the bad guys in tow. Leaving Sewell and Dow behind, TR enlisted a stranger to drive his wagon as he took the culprits to Dickinson.

Listen to episode 12

Weasel Words

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC MAR 19, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt extolled the American West throughout his life, influenced by his adventures with the people of the West, from Dakota Territory’s Little Missouri River all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

He was never shy talking about the ethical standards he adhered to and strove to uphold in his personal, public and private life. He called out with pride the people he met in the West as being “average citizens of the right type.”

Listen to episode 11

Pelican Island Refuge

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC MAR 11, 2019

This week in March of 1903, President Roosevelt created America’s first federal bird refuge. Pelican Island, Florida had long been a favorite haven for beautiful shore and wading birds where mangroves hugged the waters of the small island. Pelicans, peafowls, flamingos and spoonbills adorned the beach.

Listen to episode 10

Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC MAR 4, 2019

March 4th was Inauguration Day in the early 20th century, and on this date in 1901 Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as Vice President under William McKinley. Tragically, McKinley was shot six months into his second term and died eight days later. The stunned 42-year-old TR was sworn into office, becoming the youngest president in US history.

Listen to episode 9

United States Forest Service

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC MAR 1, 2019

People often imagine that Theodore Roosevelt started the National Park system, but it actually began much sooner. On this date in 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law.

However, Roosevelt did create five national parks doubling the number, and he’s known as the “Conservation President.” He protected over 230 million acres of public land, setting aside 150 national forests, the five national parks, America’s first 18 national monuments, the first 51 federal bird refuges, and our first game preserves.

Listen to episode 8

Washington’s Birthday

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC  FEB 19, 2019

Yesterday, on President’s Day, we celebrated the February birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. The observance often recalls the apocryphal cherry tree story of youngster Washington proclaiming “I cannot tell a lie.”

Listen to episode 7

Death of Alice and Mittie

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC FEB 13, 2019

24-year-old Theodore Roosevelt suffered a sorrow of volcanic proportions in February of 1884. Responding to an urgent cable from his brother, TR hastened from Albany to New York City where his wife Alice lived with his mother, Mittie.  Alice was in a dangerous state of health after giving birth to their first child. In another room, Mittie was on the threshold of death from Bright’s Disease.

Listen to episode 6

Roosevelt and Lincoln

By PRAIRIE PUBLIC Feb 7, 2019

President Abraham Lincoln was a friend with Theodore Roosevelt’s parents. As a youngster at his grandfather’s house, young six-year-old “Teedie” (as he was called), witnessed Lincoln’s coffin procession along New York City’s Broadway.

Lincoln was TR’s presidential hero. Fittingly, these two venerated chief executives earned their destiny to be memorialized in stone, side by side on Mount Rushmore, representing two presidents unified in character and moral leadership.

Listen to episode 5

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2018 Cast of the Medora Musical

(Medora, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF), in conjunction with StageWest Entertainment, is excited to announce the cast of the 2018 Medora Musical and that the Show’s theme will be about “family.”

 

Over four million people have seen the Medora Musical since first opening in 1965 – many visitors from around the region make it a family tradition to see the show each year.

 

However, the family tradition extends further than the guests who flock to the Burning Hills Amphitheatre each summer.

 

Back for his third year as Host of the Medora Musical, Chet Wollan grew up on the Badlands stage – first watching his father, Curt Wollan, produce the show (1987-2018) before joining the production for the first time as a four-year old doing rope tricks with Montie Montana.

 

Chet has grown into his role as host and again leads a very talented, professional cast in this year’s Medora Musical.

 

Curt, for his part, remembers his early years in Medora fondly, saying, “Little did I know that answering an ad in 1977 would have led to meeting my wife, Jane, and to the honor of fathering two very talented Burning Hills Singers — Chet and his sister, Lexie Wollan-Swenson.

 

“I love this show. It is so fun coming back to it year after year to tell timeless tales about Teddy Roosevelt, the Badlands and family values in compelling new ways.”

 

Former Bismarck Mayor, Bill Sorensen, will join Chet Wollan as co-host after a successful, four-state tour of A Magical Medora Christmas.

 

This will be Bill’s second season back as a kind of grandfatherly figure, helping his co-host tell the story of the Badlands and Medora.

 

Between Chet and Bill, this year’s show is sure to include a great mix of fan-favorite moments and humor – some scripted and others, well, not so much.

 

Each year some of the top stage talent in North Dakota audition for the Medora Musical. The competition is stiff and those selected compete against talent recruited from across the nation.

 

This year, three North Dakotans made the cast and are returning: Misti Koop, of Grand Forks; Taylor Leet, of Bismarck; and Alyssa Scott of Fargo. 

 

Koop and Leet pursued passion projects during the winter, while Scott and her boyfriend, Medora Musical lead guitarist, Adam Vogel, have been performing and recording in Nashville, TN.


Vocal powerhouse and veteran performer, Candice Lively-Wolllan, joins the cast and her husband, Chet, this year as well. Candice and Chet just finished performing in a National Tour of Ring of Fire together.


The comical and ever animated, Ken Quiricone, will return in his “comedic side-kick role” for his 7th year after performance stints in Atlanta, GA, and Pennsylvania.


Fans will be happy to know that six-year veteran of the Show, Kevin Korczynski, will be returning after working in Florida and Illinois.


Kevin had this to say about his return to the stage of the Medora Musical, “A large part of returning was simply missing Medora. It’s a one-of-a-kind professional contract and I missed the electricity on that epic stage.


“I also missed the people, onstage and off. Co-workers, friends for life, Medora family, and fans it’s all a huge part of every summer story. The joy on-stage and off makes for such a gratifying return.”


Other veteran professionals returning for 2018 include:

Jessica Bradish, whose professional credits include a National Tour in Pump Boys and Dinettes.


Christie Robinson — who’s one half of Medora’s newest Kids Show, Carl and Greta’s Cowboy Sing Along with returning Medora Musical band leader, Andrew Crowe.

 

And Dusin LaFleur, who has worked at the Crossroads Repertory and Grandstreet Theatres.

 

The three new Burning Hills Singers are Ben Massouras, John Woodruff and Benjamin Frankart. 

While over one thousand performers auditioned for the show at locations in North Dakota, Minnesota, Florida and Tennessee this year, for TRMF communications director, Justin Fisk, a cast full of returners is fitting with this year’s “Family” theme.


“Really, the theme can be traced directly to the people who come to the show – the Medora Musical has been a family tradition, for visitors and staff, since Harold and Sheila Schafer started the show in 1965. Today, you see families all summer long with two, three, even four generations coming together.


It seems like fate, too, for our production team to build the show around this theme, and then for the cast to come together in a way that almost feels like a big family reunion – albeit a really musically talented one!”


Fisk concluded, “It will be fun and exciting to see how such an epic story of TR and the Badlands can be told with the family theme, with such a talented cast who are themselves a lot like a family.”

Lead Roles of the Medora Musical

  • Chet Wollan  –  Host  –  “Cowboy Chet”
    Strawberry Plains, TN, by way of St. Anthony, MN — returning
  • Bill Sorensen  –  Co-Host  –  “Wild West Prestidigitator”
    Bismarck, ND — returning
  • Candice Lively-Wollan  –  Burning Hills Singer/Co-Host
    Strawberry Plains, TN — returning
  • Ken Quiricone  –  Burning Hills Singer/Co-Host
    Stratford, CT — returning
Burning Hills Singers
  • Jessica Bradish                   Des Moines, IA — returning
  • Benjamin Frankart              Republic, OH
  • Kevin Korczynski                 Bel Air, MD — returning
  • Misti Koop                           Grand Forks, ND – returning
  • Dustin LaFleur                     Lafayette, LA — returning
  • Taylor Leet                           Bismarck, ND — returning
  • Ben Massouras                   Phoenix, AZ
  • Christie Robinson                Bucksport, ME — returning
  • Alyssa Scott                         Fargo, ND — returning
  • Jon Woodruff                        White Bear Lake, MN
 Coal Diggers Band
  • Andrew Crowe, Fiddle           Franklinton, NC — returning
  • Brandon Fillette, Piano          Weddington, NC — returning
  • Junior Mercer, Steel Guitar    Sevierville, TN
  • Perry Orfanella, Bass            Carmel, NY — returning
  • Barry Smith, Drummer           Orlando, FL
  • Adam Vogel, Guitar                Melrose, MN — returning

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 »

Broadway in the Badlands 

All of the shows playing in Medora’s Old Town Hall Theater this summer, fall and winter season
 

(Medora, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation is excited to announce the shows visitors can look forward to this season at the Old Town Hall Theater, in downtown Medora.

This summer the Old Town Hall Theater will be host to four shows playing all week long.

READ MORE »

Medora to Unveil Life-Size Theodore Roosevelt Statue

(MEDORA, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation(TRMF) announced today that a bronze, life-size statue of Theodore Roosevelt will be unveiled in downtown Medora on Friday, October 27, to honor President Roosevelt, who was born on the same day in 1858.

 

A Press Conference and Statue Unveiling will be held:

  • Friday, October 27
  • 11:30am MDT
  • Downtown Medora, in front of the Old Town Hall Theater

 

Members of the public and media are invited to join the event to see the unveiling, hear remarks, and take photos with the life-size statue.  READ MORE »

“Hell Roaring Bill Jones”

The man who was known in the Badlands as “Hell Roaring Bill Jones” was actually named “Patrick McCue”.

 

He had come from Ireland where, apparently, he had become embroiled in an argument with an uncle. The argument quickly deteriorated into an altercation and in very short order the unfortunate uncle had been battered senseless. Whether or not he ever woke from his slumbers is unclear but “Bill” quickly adopted his new name and packed for the New World.

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A Gathering of TRs

It’s going to be a Bully good time in Medora this weekend!

 

This weekend, July 14 – 16, marks the 4th Annual Gathering of TRs sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

 

A troupe of TRs will take the city by storm this weekend as Theodore Roosevelt Re-enactors from around the nation pour into Medora for this much anticipated annual convention. READ MORE »

Margaret Barr Roberts

“The Most Wonderful Little Woman in the Badlands”

 

Margaret Barr Roberts was an Irish immigrant who moved to the United States when she was around 11 years old. Her life was one of travel and tragedy.

However, through the struggle and hardship, she remained optimistic; always looking forward, as TR would say, “Doing what she could, with what she had, where she was.”

And of course, she wasn’t alone. In fact, TR himself was there to help her along. READ MORE »

Medora to Release New Book to Help Celebrate National Parks Centennial

(MEDORA, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) invites members of the media to a press event to release a brand-new book chronicling Theodore Roosevelt’s time ranching in the Badlands. The book is titled, Roosevelt’s Ranches, and was authored by Medora historian, Rolf Sletten.

Theodore Roosevelt – as reprised by the renowned Joe Wiegand – will speak about the impact his time ranching in Dakota had on his life and Presidency – a time he later recalled was the “romance” of his life.

The release of Roosevelt’s Ranches will be held:

Thursday, April 28, 2016, 10:00 a.m.
North Dakota Heritage Center, Great Plains Theater
612 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck, ND

Roosevelt’s Ranches was commissioned to help celebrate the 100th Anniversary of our National Park System that Roosevelt shaped READ MORE »

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