I came into North Dakota considering two campsites: Medora Campground and the Buffalo Gap Guest Ranch (BGGR). Buffalo Gap wasn’t available because they were hosting the BGGR Real American Jam three-day country music festival that weekend. The concert raises money for Guardians Foundation Inc. and Fallen Soldiers of North Dakota. The proceeds from the festival go towards supporting local injured veterans. This year they raised $25,000 for a veteran in need.
I went to check out the grounds just in case I wanted to stay there after the concert (side note: I didn’t because the Medora Campground is right next to the entrance of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.). I saw a guy on an ATV who was moving around like he was in charge. I don’t know why but I took a picture of him. He stopped to talk. His name was Bill Palanuk. He was the MC and promoter for the concert.
I told him I was in North Dakota to run a marathon in Theodore Roosevelt as part of my Project. He got genuinely excited about it. He said was going talk about it on stage in between acts that night. Of course, now I had plans for the evening. A man true to his word, he announced it right before the headliner Joe Diffie was to start. I managed to capture it on video.
This is truly a North Dakota welcome! Thanks so much Bill!
In the video you can hear him mentioning that I was going to miss the Ukrainian festival the next weekend. He is a former board member of the Ukrainian Cultural Institute and is still active with the organization. My last name is Ukrainian which further connected us. Who knew there was such an Eastern European presence in North Dakota?
My travels have just started but they’ve been full of helpful, energetic people like Bill. I hope that in return what I’m doing gets people inspired to get out and move, visit a National Park or just take a break to breathe in all the joy that is around us.