Posts tagged Veterans

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.)

Medora’s early July events offer a patriotic salute

Medora’s early July events offer a patriotic salute

June 19, 2012

For more information contact:
Suzanne Wentz
Marketing Director
Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation
Office: 701-223-4800
Cell: 701-471-3335

Medora’s early July events offer a patriotic salute

Medora, N.D. – Two events in early July offer a patriotic salute to our country’s independence and those who have fought to maintain our freedom.

July 1 and 4

Independence Day Celebration

Celebrate the Fourth of July Medora style. Line up along Medora’s Main Street to watch the Independence Day parades, starting at 3:30 p.m. daily July 1 and 4. Following the Medora Musical performance on July 1 and 4, fireworks will light up the sky with an amazing display of vibrant colors, patterns and presentations. The professional fireworks show is conducted by RES Specialty Pyrotechnics, an international award-winning pyrotechnics company.

July 8

19th annual Veterans Day in Medora

All veterans and their families are invited to a special day in Medora to honor their service to our country. As a token of appreciation, all veterans will receive a free ticket to the Medora Musical and the Adolph Burkhardt Country Western Concert. The day-long recognition event features activities like an ice cream social, flag retiring ceremony and a special presentation before the nightly performance of the Medora Musical. Veterans are asked to wear their service caps to honor their branch of service.

More information about both events can be found at


Medora is located at the entrance to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. As North Dakota’s #1 vacation destination, Medora offers family entertainment in an Old West atmosphere.

For more information about Medora, visit: For more information about Theodore Roosevelt National Park:

Active military receive discount for Medora Musical tickets

Active military receive discount for Medora Musical tickets

For immediate release

June 15, 2012

For more information contact:
Suzanne Wentz
Marketing Director
Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation


Active military receive discount for Medora Musical tickets 

Medora, N.D. – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation honors the service of all active military personnel, along with their spouses and dependent children, by offering a 50% discount on their tickets to the Medora Musical.

The Medora Musical is a professionally produced, high energy, Western style revue set in the Burning Hills Amphitheater in the North Dakota Badlands. It features an array of music, fireworks, horses and nationally known variety acts. Performances are held nightly at 8:30 p.m. MST June 8 through September 8.

“Our military does so much for us on a daily basis, and this is our way of honoring their service and saying thank you,” said Randy Hatzenbuhler, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

Hatzenbuhler notes that the Medora Musical cast once again has a military connection. Emily Walter, who serves as this year’s host, was the lead vocalist and Sergeant with the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command Band in the Gulf War.

To receive the active military discount, call 1-800-633-6721 and indicate military status. Military ID must be presented when picking up the tickets. For more information about the Medora Musical and other activities, go to

The variety acts performing during the 2012 Medora Musical season include:

June 8 – June 30

Breaksk8, Hip Hop roller skating dancing crew

Breaksk8, a Hip Hop dance crew on roller skates from Kokomo, Ind., has been featured on several TV shows including NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew,” and Disney’s hit show “Shake it Up.” Since the group formed in 2001, Breaksk8 has amazed audiences around the globe with their unique style of entertainment on wheels. Most recently Breaksk8 was featured on the Hunan Satellite Network, which was viewed by more than 500 million people in mainland China.

July 1 – 28

George Casey, comedian

George Casey returns to the Medora Musical by popular demand. He was born in a remote seaside village on Ireland’s west coast that is legendary for its storytelling. Growing up in a large family, he saw humor everywhere and honed his skills as a comic at the expense of his brothers and sisters. In 1970, George immigrated to the U.S., earned his citizenship and now calls Branson, Mo., home. Some of the acts George has opened for and toured with include Rosemary Clooney, The Osmond Brothers, Ray Price, Three Dog Night, Brooklyn Bridge, Donald O’Connor and Bobby Vinton. He has performed at Caesar’s Palace, The Sahara, and The Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas; and for corporations including McDonald’s, Hasbro, AT&T, Lucent Technology and Panasonic.

July 29 – August 18

Etta May, character comedian

To put it simply, when Etta May takes the stage, she is the reigning Queen of Southern Sass and will take you on a ride through the Deep South. Born and raised in Bald Knob, Ark., Etta May grew up alongside nine older brothers. “That’s where my comedy comes from. I just wait for my husband or kids to do something stupid, and then I write it down.”

As the winner of the prestigious American Comedy Awards’ “Stand-Up Comic of the Year,” Etta May is a regular on the syndicated Bob & Tom radio show and on XM and Sirius Radio’s comedy channels. Her television appearances include Oprah, Comic Strip Live, MTV and as a guest commentator on “CBS Sunday Morning.” But that’s not all, Etta May headlines the most successful all female “Southern Fried Chicks Tour,” selling out theatres all over the country. She’s also a headline comic on CMT’s “CMT Comedy Stage,” which is the second highest rated show in CMT history. Etta May also was the subject and first female comic ever on the biography show, “Comedy Club.” She joins the elite comedy company of Ron White, Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy, who are also featured in this series.

August 19 – September 8

Sammy Cortino, illusionist

Taking magic back to its basics in its purest, up-to-date form, mystique runs through Sammy Cortino’s blood. His title in magic, “Magic’s Royal Duke,” can be traced to his 15th century Sicilian royal lineage. With Siegfried and Roy and Lance Burton endorsing his International Brotherhood of Magicians membership, the illusionist is giving audiences the essence of magic: inspiration to follow their dreams. Sammy focuses on the people who make magic possible: the audience.


Medora is located at the entrance to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. As North Dakota’s #1 vacation destination, Medora offers family entertainment in an Old West atmosphere.

For more information about Medora, visit:

For more information about Theodore Roosevelt National Park: