The Dickinson Press: ‘Hoot ‘n a holler’: Medora fall musical serenades Western Edge

Our friends at The Dickinson Press had some nice things to say about Honky Tonk Angels, this fall’s featured musical in Medora!

Here’s an excerpt from Ashley Koffer’s reporting:


MEDORA, N.D. — Classic country music songs and lots of laughs set the stage for Medora’s fall musical performance, “ Honky Tonk Angels .” The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation production is the crowning performance of the Old Town Hall Theater’s fall lineup.

Alixandra Johnson, digital media specialist with TRMF, highlighted what musical goers can expect.

“It runs through November 6, and it is nonstop top to bottom, just classic country hit after classic country hit,” Johnson said. “And that sort of drives the story of these three female friends who hop on a bus to Nashville and sort of find friendship in each other and explore the power of country music.”

Tim Olson, TRMF communications specialist, said the play is led by three actresses that each have a unique singing voice.

“The three leading singers are just incredible, really great musicians from around the country who are cast to do this,” Olson said. “It’s an original story and it features a lot of songs that people know. So that’s kind of the fun of it. People can sing along and be familiar with what they’re hearing, but it tells a story of three ladies finding their way to Nashville and meeting each other. So it’s very cool.”


You can read the full story here.

Honky Tonk Angels runs through November 6th in Medora! We can’t wait to see you here.

Teddy Roosevelt sighting in Fargo! TR visits fourth graders at Fargo elementary school

Teddy Roosevelt sighting in Fargo! TR visits fourth graders at Fargo elementary school

President Theodore Roosevelt made an appearance at Clara Barton Elementary School in Fargo, ND on October 19, 2022!

Joe Wiegand, the nation’s premiere Teddy Roosevelt reprisor, spoke to fourth graders about his life and adventures in North Dakota. He also told them about the Every Kid Outdoors program, which allows fourth graders and their families to visit National Parks at no cost for an entire year.

Thanks to WDAY TV News in Fargo for catching up with TR!

We Built This City: Honoring the 2022 TRMF Volunteers

We Built This City: Honoring the 2022 TRMF Volunteers

On every block of every street in Medora, you’ll find evidence of hard work and passion on the part of our volunteers.

From Harold Schafer’s important first steps in restoring the old town in the 1960s, to the 600+ people who volunteer their time, energy, and talent each year, it’s no exaggeration to say that Medora as we know it today was built, in large part, by volunteers!

This video message is dedicated to the volunteers of 2022: a fun-loving cast of characters who contribute to the magic of Medora in countless ways.

Medora WISH: 1,400+ free Medora Musical tickets, one VIP experience in 2022!

Medora WISH: 1,400+ free Medora Musical tickets, one VIP experience in 2022!

A growing program whose mission is to make Medora a lower-cost experience for families had another great year in 2022!

Medora WISH was created and initially funded by Don & Pat Clement and Michael & Vicki Zaun in 2019. Since then, hundreds of people have contributed to the fund that allows us to host Medora WISH Kids Free weeks each summer at the Medora Musical — and more than a dozen people and organizations have pledged $25,000 or more to the cause!

In 2022, 1,425 tickets to the Greatest Show in the West were provided to kids age 17 and under during Medora WISH Kids Free Week, July 2 – 10!

But the Medora WISH fun didn’t stop there.

Later in July, we welcomed 16-year-old Alyssa Koenig to Medora for a VIP experience, in partnership with the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown! Alyssa, along with her parents and grandparents, enjoyed ice cream, built a custom stuffed animal, and took in great Medora attractions like the Medora Magic Show and the Medora Musical.

“The one thing Alyssa seems to love in life is music,” said Jim Koenig, Alyssa’s father. “When music is on, she just smiles.”

“Her eyes lit up when she met the cast of the Medora Musical,” said Kim Koenig, Alyssa’s mother. “What a special experience for our family.”

To learn more about Medora WISH, click here or visit with our Development Team at 701-223-4800. We invite you to watch the video below to learn more about how Medora WISH came to be, hear from its founders, and see more of Alyssa’s special visit to Medora!

John O’Leary shares optimistic message with employees & friends of TRMF

John O’Leary shares optimistic message with employees & friends of TRMF

“Why me?” “Who cares?” “What more can I do?”

Those three questions were at the center of a tremendous message delivered by John O’Leary to employees and friends of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation on Monday, July 11, 2022.

John’s appearance in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre was a gift to TRMF from two generous supporters of our organization — and a great many of our full-time and seasonal workforce were in attendance to hear what he had to say!

John O’Leary’s story is remarkable: when he was nine years old, he was burned on 100 percent of his body in an accidental explosion. Doctors gave him a 1 percent chance to survive. He overcame the odds — and today, he’s a bestselling author and motivational speaker who has presented in 49 states and 17 countries.

John shared with the audience in Medora that those three questions — Why me? Who cares? What more can I do? — can be framed in a negative or a positive way. He encouraged those listening to be victors instead of victims, and to live with gratitude and inspiration.

During the peak of Medora’s busy season, it was a great message for the hundreds of hard-working folks who make our TRMF mission possible! We’re grateful to have been given the gift of John O’Leary’s story.

Veterans and Military Appreciation Day 2022: Our biggest tribute to veterans ever!

Veterans and Military Appreciation Day 2022: Our biggest tribute to veterans ever!

Each day at the Medora Musical we strive to honor the men and women who have served our country. But July 10, 2022 was extra special in Medora!

Thanks to generous donors who have supported our Veterans Endowment, this year’s Veterans and Military Appreciation Day in Medora was bigger and more special than ever before.

This year we were able to:

  • Welcome 362 veterans, active duty, and reservist military members to the Medora Musical at no cost
  • Honor veterans with a speech by Vice Admiral David Architzel, the retired commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt
  • Dazzle the audience with a flyover by a historic Beechcraft T-32 Mentor aircraft
  • Welcome the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Color Guard from Mandan, ND to present colors before the Medora Musical
  • Host a special Q&A panel discussion with four distinguished veterans in the afternoon

We invite you to re-live the day by scrolling through our slideshow of images below!

We also want to extend an invite to you to support the Veterans Appreciation Day Endowment fund. It’s thanks to that growing fund that we were able to say ‘thank you’ to our nation’s heroes — and the more the fund grows, the more ways we’ll be able to extend our gratitude!

Learn more about the Veterans Endowment here. And follow this link if you’d like to chip in now!

Historic Partnership: Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Donates 3.5 Acres to Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

Historic Partnership: Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Donates 3.5 Acres to Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) has gifted 3.5 acres to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation (TRPLF). The donated land will be used for shared parking, walking and hiking pathways, and a redesigned passage to both the Burning Hills Amphitheatre and the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

“The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and Presidential Library are crucial partners,” said Linda Pancratz, board chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation and also a member of the board of directors of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. “This gift makes clear that our success is shared — for Medora, Billings County, North Dakota, and our nation.”

“The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation believes in the T.R. Presidential Library,” said Tim O’Keefe, chair of TRMF. “The gift of this land is just the start of a mutually beneficial relationship as interdependent neighbors and partners.”

The two organizations also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a critical step toward the beginning of construction in 2023. The agreement creates an access easement for the T.R. Library’s use of Chateau Road. Both organizations will next contemplate an Operating Agreement, Temporary Construction Access, water and other utility easements. The MOU and land donation was unanimously approved by the TRMF Board.

“The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation was founded in 1986 by Harold Schafer,” said Randy Hatzenbuhler, president and chief executive officer of TRMF. “It’s incredible to know that 36 years later Medora will be home to a presidential library.”

TRMF and the T.R. Library are two of the participants in the Medora Area Plan or MAP. The purpose of the group is to assist development and growth in and around Medora. The stakeholders include the City of Medora and its Chamber of Commerce, Billings County, the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, North Dakota Department of Transportation, North Dakota Parks & Recreation, and the State Historical Society. They held their first of three community workshops in May and two additional sessions are planned for October 2, 2022, and January 22, 2023.

TRPLF recently announced the purchase of 90.3 acres of land from the U.S. Forest Service. The transaction completes an 18-month process that began when TRPLF received Congressional approval to acquire the land for construction of the T.R. Library in western North Dakota. Construction is set to begin in 2023 and a grand opening is planned for July 4, 2026 — the 250th anniversary of America and the Declaration of Independence.

Those interested in being “In the Arena” can donate now at or support TRMF at

Ed Schafer Retires from TRMF Board of Directors, Shares Optimism for Medora’s Future

After twelve years of active leadership and a lifetime of interest in and dedication to Medora, Ed Schafer has retired from his position as Chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) Board of Directors.

Schafer delivered his farewell address to friends and supporters of TRMF on Saturday, June 11 at the annual Rough Riders Roundup luncheon in Medora.

He reflected on his long family history in Medora. His father, Harold Schafer, began investing in the revitalization of the town in the 1960s. “I traveled beside my dad to and from Medora long before the seeds of the new Medora were planted.” In 1986, he oversaw the transition of the Medora Division of the Gold Seal Company into the public non-profit Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

In his twelve years as Chair of the Board of Directors, TRMF grew and thrived in substantial ways. Historical landmarks, like the Von Hoffman House and the Ferris General Store, were restored. A campus-style employee work and social space, the Life Skills Center, was constructed. TRMF expanded its lodging offerings by adding the Elkhorn Quarters. And recent additions, such as Point to Point Park and the high-capacity accessible elevator at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre, were approved during Schafer’s tenure.

In his farewell remarks, Schafer said his passion for Medora stems from its ability to “inspire people to self-generate the attributes of freedom.”

Schafer told those in attendance: “I hope you can look around this place and think about endurance. The Badlands have survived glaciers, storms, erosion, petrification, and fires—and they’re beautiful. Let that be a lesson to us in life’s storms and difficulties. We can persevere.”

In a farewell letter to supporters of the foundation, Schafer expressed optimism for the future of TRMF. “Our organization’s success has been because of people like you. I am confident the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation has a bright future.”

Tim O’Keefe, TRMF’s new Chair of the Board, expressed gratitude for his predecessor’s long history in Medora. “As history and legend have it, some 60 years ago, Harold Schafer and his young son Ed stood on the top of the bluff overlooking Medora, when Harold said ‘This place is too special not to be preserved.'”

“Over the last sixty years, no one has been more a part of seeing Harold Schafer’s vision for Medora become a reality than Ed,” O’Keefe said.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum also praised Schafer’s dedication to the service of others. “Theodore Roosevelt said ‘The great prize in life is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing.’ Ed and Nancy Schafer grabbed that prize. The difference they’ve made in people’s lives, not just here in Medora, but throughout their entire careers, is really incredible.”

“Work hard, then play hard!” Honoring Mike & Peggy Bullinger with the 2022 Bully Spirit Award

The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2022 Bully Spirit Award: Mike & Peggy Bullinger of Fargo, North Dakota.

Mike & Peggy Bullingerreceived the award on June 11, 2022 as part of Rough Riders Roundup, a yearly gathering of friends and supporters of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

Mike & Peggy embody and live by this phrase: “Work hard, then play hard.” The pair purchased Western Products, a small home improvement company, in 1984—and grew it into the thriving, family-owned business it is today.

Their success in business has allowed them to give back to causes and communities for which they care, including the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. Mike & Peggy own a home in Medora, and have contributed philanthropically to several TRMF projects, including Bully Pulpit Golf Course, the Life Skills Center, the Little Bully Pulpit Mini Golf Course, and the Old Town Hall Theater.

“Medora is better because of Mike and Peggy,” said TRMF President Randy Hatzenbuhler while presenting the Bullingers with the award. “They have been benefactors to almost everything TRMF has done. There’s hardly a project in this town they haven’t been a part of.”

In accepting the award, Mike Bullinger told stories about the fond memories his family has made in Medora over the years.

“We love Medora,” he said. “And our grandkids love Medora! We were out here on a weekend about a year ago, and at the end of the weekend I asked my grandkids: ‘Would you rather be at the lake, or be in Medora?’ And they all said Medora.”

The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation established the Bully Spirit Award in 2018 as a way to honor individuals or couples who have committed extraordinary effort toward furthering the mission and vision of TRMF: to connect people to historic Medora for positive, life-changing experiences.

Watch the full presentation of the Bully Spirit Award!

Ribbons Cut at Two New Medora Destinations: Point to Point Park & Schafer Point

Ribbons Cut at Two New Medora Destinations: Point to Point Park & Schafer Point

(MEDORA, ND) The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) recently celebrated two major milestones: ribbons were cut at the newly completed Point to Point Park and at historic Schafer Point in Medora.

Point to Point Park is designed to be a hub of family-friendly activities in downtown Medora. It features a mini golf course, a zipline, and a system of hiking trails—and new this year, includes a swimming pool and lazy river, jump pillow, pickleball courts, and more.

The ribbon at Point to Point Park was cut by JoAnn Butler, who along with her late husband Matt made a $2 million lead gift to establish the $8 million project. The couple’s daughter, Twylah Blostky, spoke on behalf of the Matt & JoAnn Butler Family Foundation.

“When families gather, the stories always come out, and they usually start out with, ‘Do you remember that time when…'” Blotsky said. “All of us are here to give you the gift of memories—for you, your children, and your grandchildren—so that going forward, your new stories can begin with: ‘Do you remember that time when we were in Medora and…'”

The Butler family was joined by several other major philanthropic contributors to the project to help christen the park on Saturday, June 11, 2022. See the list of projects and their primary donors below:

  • Lead Gift: The Matt & JoAnn Butler Family
  • Family Pool: Great River Energy
  • Pool House: Marlene Hoffart & Family
  • Lazy River: Dick & Darlyne Anderson, George Pasternak
  • Little Bully Pulpit Mini Golf Course: Mike & Peggy Bullinger Family
  • Boat Thieves: Chris & Trina Smaaladen
  • Point to Point Trails: Linda & Lizzy Pancratz
  • Splash Pad: Dickinson Ready Mix
  • Shade Pavilion: Van & Dee Larson
  • Schafer Point: Jim & Joanne Kack
  • Mini Zipline: Tom & Frances Leach Foundation
  • Pickleball: Brad & Deb Wimmer
  • Zipline: James & Cynthia Jorgensen, Todd & Shirley Porter Family, Arthur & Edith Pearson Foundation, Mike & Shelley Rowe
  • Jump Pillow: 1st International Bank & Trust, Steve & Gretchen Stenehjem
Watch the video above to experience the Point to Point Park ribbon cutting ceremony!

Schafer Point is a historically significant destination along Point to Point Trails, which lead hikers to the top of the butte that overlooks Medora to the north. It is here that Ed Schafer recalls standing as a young boy with his father Harold, who would go on to revitalize the town below.

The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation constructed a log pavilion at this location, thanks to the generosity of Jim & Joanne Kack. The ribbon was cut by Ed and Nancy Schafer on Saturday, June 11, 2022.

“What’s really cool is that there are members of the public here along with the Schafer family,” said Randy Hatzenbuhler, the President of TRMF. “That’s the whole point of this place: we want people to enjoy a hike in the Badlands. I’m grateful that we get to enjoy places like this together.”

Watch the video above to experience the Schafer Point ribbon cutting ceremony!