Dakota Datebook


Saturday, February 28, 2009


The rider gives a signal.  The pen door opens and the bull charges out as the crowd looks on with bated breath.

Spectators appreciate the skill and hard work of rodeo cowboys and cowgirls.  But it’s easy to overlook the dedicated rodeo association men and women who work behind the scenes to make the event possible.

One such organization that has stood the test of time is the North Dakota Rodeo Association.  Over fifty years ago, Norman “Peg” O’Neil of Killdeer, ND concluded that rodeos throughout the state needed to be better organized and coordinated.  He called an organizational meeting of local rodeo committees on this date in 1953 and the NDRA was born.  Those early board members laid an important foundation.  Half a century later, the NDRA is one of the state’s largest rodeo entities, determining the state champions each year.

Written by Christina Sunwall


Baird, Phil, “Eight Seconds to Go – History of ND Rodeo – 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 Years Ago”, North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame http://www.ndcowboy.com/archive.asp?ID=21.

Pennington, Vicki, “NDRA — the Beginning…”, North Dakota Rodeo Association http://www.ndrodeo.com/history.htm.

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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