September 21, 2021

The highly anticipated Mayville State University Farmers Bowl 2021 has come and gone, but the memories made and the happiness and satisfaction felt by those involved remain. Saturday, Sept. 18 was a day packed with activities, all meant to celebrate the agricultural way of life of the area. Farmers Bowl 2021 will long be remembered as a special day.

Mayville State University and the Mayville-Portland community had the distinct honor of hosting Rodney Miller and Jann Carl and producers of the television show Small Town Big Deal for Farmers Bowl 2021. The hosts and their three-member production crew took part in all the festivities, recording highlights for a future episode of the show. This was their first trip to North Dakota. Small Town Big Deal airs nationally to more than a million viewers.

“I extend my personal ‘Thank you’ to all university and community volunteers and Farmers Bowl participants who pulled out all the stops and made it possible for us to show the Small Town Big Deal group first-hand just how exceptional our community is,” said Mayville State University President Dr. Brian Van Horn.

The day’s activities began first thing in the morning with a 5K Fun Run coordinated by the Mayville State Staff Senate. Runners and walkers of all ages got into the spirit, dressing like farmers and enjoying some physical activity on a brisk morning.

A special edition of the Ceremony of Remembrance at the Mayville State University Military Honor Garden began at 9 a.m. The Leon Mosher American Legion Post 8 enhanced the beauty of the garden with their Avenue of Flags.

Mayville State senior Rylee Heil from Harvey, N.D. started the program off with her lovely rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Program emcee MSU Foundation Executive Director Lon Jorgensen followed with brief remarks and the reading of the names of all who are honored in the Military Honor Garden. In a touching conclusion, the program ended with a rifle salute by the May-Port Honor Guard and “Taps,” played by Mayville State graduate John Dungan from Cavalier, N.D.

Farmers Bowl Parade chairman Jay Henrickson and his committee, Larry Young, Al Hoyt, Fred Strand, Delores Henrickson, Lori Nelson, and Paul Hanson, did not disappoint in their commitment to make this year’s parade one of the biggest and best ever. University and community members stepped up in a big way to help them in their quest. The approximately 50-minute parade, which included antique farm machinery, floats, representations of area family farms, the local school band, and so much more, began to make its journey through Mayville at 10 a.m.

The parade ended on the Mayville State campus, just outside of Jerome Berg Field, where corn on the cob and hot dogs were served by Mayville State athletes for all who wanted to partake. The area was filled with activity as tailgating was in full swing with a record number of tailgaters on hand. In addition, several inflatable games, a dunk tank, and face painting were available for the youngsters.

Sporting their special Farmers Bowl helmets with the wheat motif, the Mayville State Comets were led by President and First Lady Brian and Nina Van Horn and Small Town Big Deal hosts Rodney Miller and Jann Carl as they made their march to Jerome Berg Field for the annual Farmers Bowl football game. The Comets hosted Dickinson State University.

The 15th annual Mayville State University Comet Athletic Club Sportsmen’s Raffle event, held the evening of Sept. 18 at Norsemen Hall in Portland, N.D., generated lots of excitement and anticipation with the ultimate goal of financial support for Comet Athletics.

To add to the festivities, the Farmers Bowl auction offered about 70 items on which those who attended the event could bid. Most items were sold via silent auction, and a handful were offered at live auction. There was something for everyone and bidders had a great time as they worked to win the items of their choice.

Led by MSU Foundation Development Assistant Stacy Buchl, volunteers Ann Willeson, JoAnna Strand, Jessica Amb, Doug Anderson, Cindy Petersen, and JoDee Dungan served as members of the Farmers Bowl auction committee.

The drawing for the winner of the Farmers Bowl Cash Raffle was also part of the festivities. Lori Skadeland, Portland, N.D., was this year’s lucky winner.

Another highlight of the evening was the drawing for 50 guns that were given away to individuals who had purchased raffle tickets for a chance to win. Ticket sales were limited to 500, so participants had a 1-in-10 chance of winning. The event was attended by more than 300 people who enjoyed dinner and had an opportunity to participate in a variety of other raffles with the chance of winning some terrific prizes, as well as bid in the auction. Winners of the 50-gun giveaway can be seen at

“We are grateful to the many people who purchased raffle tickets for the 50-gun giveaway and participated in the event activities on Sept. 18,” said Comet Athletic Club President Mike Carr. “We also express our sincere thanks to our emcee for the evening, to our sponsors and those who contributed prizes; and to the Comet Athletic Club board members who worked hard to make it happen.”

As this event was underway, another was beginning just outside the east edge of Mayville. A barn dance at the farm of Elroy Lindaas provided an opportunity for family fun, old-time dances such as two-steps, waltzes, and polkas, and a potluck lunch of treats that included the Norwegian specialty krumkake. The Cathy Erickson Band, together with Elroy Lindaas, provided the music for all to enjoy.

“Farmers Bowl 2021 was a time to celebrate the gifts that are ours in this special rural community,” said Beth Swenson, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Mayville State University. “Pulling off a successful community festival such as this would not be possible without the extraordinary efforts of many volunteers. Thank you to all who had a part in making Farmers Bowl 2021 a day that we will fondly remember for years to come.”

Several businesses stepped up to sponsor the Farmers Bowl activities. They are Valley Land Investments, Finley Motors, First State Bank, Wells Fargo, Nilson-Brand Law, Brudvik Law, Viking Signs, Agassiz Drain Tile, ADS, Hometown Inn, Anderson Hefta American Legion Post 93, Leon Mosher American Legion Post 8, Vietnam Veterans of America NCP Chapter, and VFW Post 4221. After expenses, proceeds of all activities associated with the annual Farmers Bowl celebration will benefit Mayville State University and its students through the work of the MSU Foundation, Comet Athletics, and the Alumni Association.

“We sincerely appreciate our Farmers Bowl sponsors and all who contributed to the fund-raising aspect of Farmers Bowl 2021,” said MSU Foundation Executive Director Lon Jorgensen. “These thoughtful and generous individuals and businesses are helping to make dreams come true for Mayville State students in pursuit of a college education.”

Scenes from Farmers Bowl 2021

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