MSU President's Newspaper Column

September 25, 2021 

Take a bow, citizens of Mayville-Portland, Mayville State, and beyond!

Wow! I am pleased and grateful beyond words. The members of the Mayville State University campus community and our Mayville-Portland friends came together for an all-out effort to make Farmers Bowl 2021 memorable for all. Thank you to everyone who helped to organize and carry out, and participated in a fabulous Farmers Bowl celebration.

With a schedule that began bright and early on Sept. 18 and lasted well into the evening, the much-anticipated annual Farmers Bowl event was extraordinary this year. Rodney Miller and Jann Carl, along with their production crew for Small Town Big Deal, joined in the celebration and recorded highlights for a future episode of the television show. The crew was able to take part in nearly all of the fun-filled schedule of events, including the Ceremony of Remembrance at the Military Honor Garden, the parade, the corn on the cob and hot dog feed and family fun festival, the Farmers Bowl game, the Sportsmen’s Raffle and Farmers Bowl Auction event, and the barn dance at Elroy Lindaas’s farm.

The people of Mayville-Portland and Mayville State University stepped up to the plate and hit a home run in showing our guests all about what makes the place we call home special. In the process, I think it’s safe to say that everyone involved enjoyed the camaraderie, teamwork, and great memories that came along as a bonus.

How about that parade? The people of the campus and the community definitely accepted the challenge issued by organizers … to make this the biggest and best Farmers Bowl parade yet. Parade-watchers were thrilled to see so many entries, including the local high school band; antique farm machinery; floats, tractors, and trucks representing local family farms; creative floats built and ridden on by Mayville State students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as community groups; and so much more. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Rodney, Jann, and their production crew were extremely complimentary of our campus and community and all the wonderful people they were able to meet. Small Town Big Deal airs nationwide to more than a million viewers. The date for the episode featuring Mayville State and Mayville-Portland is not set yet, but we know it will be sometime during the current season which ends in May of 2022.

We know that many people worked very hard to provide opportunities that might be of interest to the Small Town Big Deal folks. They would have loved to cover every one of them, but unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to get everywhere. Please know that your efforts are recognized and very much appreciated. Our campus and community have so many wonderful attributes, thanks to the many outstanding people who pour their hearts and souls into making it the exceptional place it is.

Many thanks to Tom, Vickie, Rick, Corrine, and Arlys at Soholt Bakery for allowing the television crew into your space on the morning of Sept. 17. Our guests truly enjoyed learning about the local bakery that’s been family-owned for more than 100 years ... and the taste-testing wasn’t bad either.

One important thing the television crew wanted to highlight while in the area is the sugar beet industry. Sugar beets are grown in only 11 states in the U.S. Not only was this the crew’s first stop in North Dakota, it is also their first opportunity to teach their viewers about how beet sugar is made. This ties in nicely with the purpose of the Farmers Bowl, to celebrate the agricultural way of life in our area.

The folks at American Crystal Sugar in Hillsboro were extremely welcoming and did a super job of showing the group how the process works, from beginning to end. Rodney, Jann, and crew were able to experience the harvesting processes of beet topping and lifting with local farmer Brent Freeland. In addition, the beet piling procedure was shown first-hand, as were the actual processing and packaging steps.

A sincere “thank you” goes to Crystal Sugar Hillsboro Factory Manager Chris Patullo, Vice President of Administration Lisa Borden, and Maintenance Supervisor Zach Olson, along with Agronomy Manager Greg Richards and grower Brent Freeland for rolling out the red carpet for our Small Town Big Deal guests. They went above and beyond and we are grateful.

Some down time in the company of kind and genuine people provided the end of a perfect first visit to North Dakota for our Small Town Big Deal guests, who enjoyed dancing and visiting at the Lindaas Barn Dance on Saturday evening. One would have to search far and wide to find a slice of Americana such as this. How fortunate we are to have this gem right here in our own back yard.

As I joined in the activities of the weekend, I could not help but reflect on how fortunate we are to have so many wonderful things going on … and special people who make these things happen … right here in Traill County! It’s easy to take for granted the people and things that are around us every day. There is no doubt about it. We have much for which to be thankful and proud.