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Category Archives: Outdoor Adventure

2012 London Olympics

 

As the week comes to a close, our eyes turn to the 2012 London Olympic Games. Although there are no athletes originally from North Dakota competing in the games, there are several college alumni to root for! Athletes include former North Dakota State University standout Amanda (Thieschafer) Smock and Dickinson State University’s Ramon Miller, Derrick Atkins and Trevor Barry.

Smock, originally from Melrose, Minn., attended NDSU from 2001-2004 and was a three-time NCAA Division II national champion and 13-time All-American. Smock holds the NDSU outdoor triple jump record of 43 feet, ½ inch and indoor triple jump record of 42 feet, 4½ inches. She qualified for the Olympic triple jump in June, booking her trip to London with a winning 45-9 at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Women’s triple jump preliminaries will be August 3 at 4:25 a.m., CDT.

A pair of Bahamian sprinters and a jumper formerly at Dickinson State also will be competing in track and field.

Miller, a 15-time NAIA All-American, will represent the Bahamas in both the 200-meter and 400-meter dash. Miller set the DSU school record of 45.42 in the 400 in 2009. The first round of the men’s 200-meter dash is August 7 at 5:50 a.m. and the first round of the men’s 400-meter will be August 4 at 4:35 a.m.

Former Blue Hawk Derrick Atkins will be competing in the men’s 100-meter dash and Trevor Barry will be competing in the men’s high jump. Atkins set the DSU school record of 20.81 in the 200-meter dash in 2005. The men’s 100-meter preliminaries start August 4 at 4 a.m.

Barry, who in 2006 set DSU records in the long jump with a leap of 25 feet, 8 inches and the high jump with a 7-3 inches, will be begin high jump prelims on August 5 at 1:05 p.m.

If these Olympians inspire you, North Dakota has several competitions coming up. The Bismarck Marathon is September 15 and offers a full or half marathon, full marathon relay, 10-K or 5-K run. The Maah Daah Hey 100 mountain bike race though the Badlands August 18 concludes in Medora.

For more events and races around North Dakota, check out our website at http://www.ndtourism.com/whatdo/.

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A Weekend of Softball, Sweat and Shenanigans

The 37th Annual Sam McQuade Sr./Budweiser Charity Softball Tournament was played last weekend in Bismarck-Mandan. For those unfamiliar with this exciting event, it is a men’s and women’s softball tournament that draws around 400 teams from the United States and Canada. It has even featured games between soldiers in Iraq. The tournament is played on 40 diamonds in six complexes and more than 90 umpires are needed for this three-day extravaganza. For many players and the 15,000 or so fans that follow their team, the McQuade tournament is the highlight of the summer.

Being from Bismarck definitely has its advantages during the McQuade. You can sleep in your own bed as opposed to a hotel or camper. More friends and family usually come out to watch and there is always someone you know playing. This being my second McQuade, I was very excited to get out there and play again. My first year was 2010 when I was a pick-up player for a friend’s team. I was a little intimidated at first because I didn’t know a lot of the guys. Eventually my nerves settled and I just played the game like I knew how. That year, surprisingly, we ended up winning the championship in our division (See picture above). It was an awesome experience to win a McQuade championship my first year. I must have done pretty well because the team I played on even asked me to be a permanent part of their squad the next two years!

This year we were out to defend our title despite a two-year layoff. Flooding in Bismarck last year caused tournament officials to limit divisions and teams, leaving us out.  I was a little nervous in our tournament opener this year because it was only my second year playing in the McQuade and I was now a permanent member of the reigning champs. So there were high expectations to say the least. We played phenomenal our first game. Everyone hit the ball really well and we made great defensive plays too! We ended up 10-running our opponent after only five innings. After the game, our whole team got together and tailgated (that’s where some of the shenanigans come in). If you know softball, you know that tailgating is HUGE, especially at the McQuade. We also went to the main complex to watch Team USA play and to watch the annual home run derby.

We had heard the team we were playing in our next game on Saturday was pretty good, so we had to be ready. We started a little shaky and trailed 10-3 after three innings. But we turned the tables in the fourth after escaping a tight spot. Our opponent had one of its best batters up and I decided to back up a little bit in center to give myself a little more range. On the first pitch, the batter crushed the ball my way. I raced back towards the fence and noticed I was running out of room. But I kept running, extending my arm to brace for the impact while reaching over the fence, jumping and catching the ball! I could not believe it when I looked in my glove and saw the ball. I had just robbed the batter of a grand slam. Moments later, I realized that the base-runner who had been on third base had run home without tagging up. So I quickly threw the ball to third to double up the runner.

We used the momentum and excitement from my play as a game-changer. Our first six batters got on base and eventually scored. We ended up scoring nine runs that inning to go ahead 12-10. We shut out our opponent the rest of the way to win 17-10. To celebrate our invigorating win, we of course, grilled and tailgated in the parking lot!

We began Sunday three games from a title. We started our quest for another title at 8:40 (early for a softball game, but this is the McQuade) with an intense see-saw game that was tied 12-12 heading into the last inning. We went up 13-12 but had to hold on in the last half of the seventh. But our dreams came crashing down with two outs. The third batter of the inning got on with a hit down the left field foul line. The next batter sent us packing with a two-run homer.

Although it was a disappointing day, I still had a lot of fun last weekend at the McQuade tournament! It was fun seeing the different teams from around the country and playing in the nice weather. The McQuade tournament was certainly a weekend to remember. We are not defending champs but I will be back next year to shoot for another first-place finish!

 

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Forget the bait, catch a prehistoric monster!

Paddlefish

North Dakota is good at extremes: extreme weather, extreme landscape and of course extreme fishing! Wintertime is often a time where our anglers focus on ice fishing, tiny rod over a stationary hole waiting to catch loads of panfish in below freezing temperatures. The exact opposite of that would be paddlefishing! Hunting a single 100+ pound fish with a rod as thick as a pool cue and twice as long in gorgeous May weather.

May 1st anglers will line the shores of the Missouri Yellowstone confluence area in search of the prehistoric-monster-hundred-pound paddlefish, sometimes called spoonbill. And forget the bait, snaggers tie huge treble hooks to heavy test line trying to get their hook into the mouth of a fish as it happens to swim by.

The season opens May 1st and a paddlefish tag is required, this can be bought at the same time and places fishing licenses are bought and are required in addition to the regular fishing license. They are $7.50 for nonresidents and $3 for residents. The season is is open until May 31st and is subject to an in-season closure. If the season closes early because the harvest quota is reached, an extended snag-and-release-only period will be allowed for up to seven days immediately following the early closure, but not to extend beyond May 31. Sunday-Tuesday are catch and release only days and Wednesday-Saturday are mandatory harvest days, all snagged paddlefish must immediately be tagged and kept.

Hooking a paddlefish is like hooking the bumper of a car, you’re in for one heck of a ride until it runs out of gas.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Fishing, Outdoor Adventure, Sports, wildlife

 

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Why don’t you take a hike

We really mean that as an invitation and a suggestion: Take a hike!  April is the perfect time to talk about exploring the great outdoors in a serene, environmentally-friendly and truly “green-ing” kind of way.  It’s spring in North Dakota and we’ve got trails just waiting for you.

Some of the state’s most popular trails are those found in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and many of the state parks.  The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a 96-mile trail system that has received international recognition for its scenery and challenges.

There’s a new book by Susan Wefald called, “Spectacular North Dakota Hikes” which highlights 50 great day hikes in North Dakota. This is a wonderful companion to a trip around North Dakota – almost like having a hiking guide!

About two years ago, we brought our niece and nephews to North Dakota for a week of “Fun with Auntie and Uncle” and during that time enjoyed a trip to the South Unit of TRNP.  Even though we had been to a waterpark, state fair midway and lots of other cool stuff that week, the kids still say that the highlight of their trip was hiking in the National Park and seeing the wildlife. We’re all anxious to do it again!

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Biking & Hiking, Outdoor Adventure

 

Fishing – no ice, no waiting – in North Dakota

I’ve posted before about my husband – a Minnesotan who has become one of North Dakota’s biggest promoters because of the accessible (and pretty fabulous) hunting and fishing here.  Well this guy LOVES his Missouri River.  It’s no secret that this has been the warmest winter on record in North Dakota.  Most of the state had little to no snow all season and now the daytime highs have consistently been in the 50s, 60s and even 70s from border-to-border.  So what does that have to do with my dear hubby and fishing?  As I was being informed of the boat ramps that have opened in Bismarck and Mandan he also reminded me that in some states, there’s a season opener that’s still weeks away. Here in North Dakota, our walleye/pike season never “closes” or “opens.”  And as many anglers know – that spring bite can be awesome.  HOW awesome?  Just last week a new state record lake trout was caught.

Royce Johnston of New Town reeled in the 16-pound, 6-ounce lake trout from the Garrison Dam Tailrace (on the Missouri River). The 33.5-inch fish broke the old record by more than two pounds. The previous record of 14 pounds, 4 ounces was taken from the Tailrace in 1982.

Fishing North Dakota is easy! Just visit the Game and Fish Department for licensing, waterways and boat ramps. You can also get the latest with the North Dakota Outdoors on Facebook.  Follow @OutdoorsND on Twitter for great information around the state because, not only is the fishing open, golf courses are opening too! The first we’ve heard of are Heart River in Dickinson, Pebble Creek in Bismarck and the Edgewood and Rose Creek courses in Fargo. Several others have told us that they could be opening in the coming weeks!

And if you happen to be going out tomorrow on the Missouri River – it’s expected to be 80-degrees and you can look for my hubby in a green Fisher.

 
 

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Happy Holidays!

If you’re coming home for the holidays or taking a little of your Christmas break to travel this season, our travel counselors at North Dakota Tourism will be available during office hours from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CST.  Our office will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26 and Monday, Jan. 2.

This year you won’t find much snow in North Dakota, but our ski area remain open and there’s still LOTS to do, including hiking and biking the Maah Daah Hey Trail during these 40-degree days.  The Missouri River has open-water fishing and some smaller lakes and bays are frozen for ice fishing.  Great destinations like the North Dakota Heritage Center, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and the International Peace Gardens are open.  Tour through Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  See Fort Mandan and hear stories of the Corps of Discovery from the winter of 1804-1805.  Take in a hockey game and cheer for North Dakota State University as they travel to the FCS Championship!  It’s a great time to enjoy North Dakota.

Happy holidays!

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Fishing, History, Just for Fun, Winter Fun

 

Summer travel tips

If you’re traveling North Dakota this summer, look for state tourism personnel in unlikely places – like rest areas and gas stations.  We’ll be out-of-the-office Fridays in July, providing traveler assistance in terms of route and destination information as well as asking for brief travel information – like how long you’ve been planning your trip and if you’re traveling for business or pleasure.

And speaking of travel tips – here are a few resources to keep in mind as you’re planning your summer getaway.

Several travelers have been asking about flooding affecting their favorite North Dakota city or attraction.  The Tourism Division is keeping tabs on all affected routes and sites.  If you have questions, we can help.  Call our travel counselors at 1-800-435-5663.  Here are some hot updates:

For more North Dakota news – be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

And a quick “congratulations” to North Dakotan Amy Anderson who finished 63rd in her first professional golf tournament – the U.S. Women’s Open.  Golf the legendary courses that Amy has played in North Dakota – affordable, accessible, scenic golf in the state with the most courses per capita.

 

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