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Medora to host Cowboy Christmas

Courtesy Photo Fireworks light up the sky over Medora at last year's Cowboy Christmas.

The Medora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is preparing to host the 14th annual Old Fashioned Cowboy Christmas on Friday and Saturday.

"It's an opportunity to bring people into town during the month of December," said Pam Reinarts, event chairperson. "Secondly, it allows the ranching community to share old traditions and fun with everybody else."

The event draws visitors from Montana, South Dakota and a large share of North Dakota, she said.

Friday features a wreath ceremony. A lighted wreath is delivered via horseback from the west side of town to the Medora Community Center.

"It's really a cool event," she said.

Another Friday highlight is the jamboree that starts at 7 p.m. at the Medora Community Center.

"In past years, area musicians and performers shared their talents. This year, we're bringing it up a notch with Medora's Cowboy Idol Jamboree. We'll have a small panel of judges and award prizes to the top three places," said Reinarts.

In the middle of the two-hour show, time will be dedicated to a veterans' awards ceremony, in which the veterans of Billings County will be honored, she said.

The band, Thunder Road, will serve as the backup band for the performers. Later, the band, will play for a dance.

Another Friday tradition is the oyster stew dinner served by the Cowboy Café from 4:30 p.m. until the food runs out.

To warm up, visitors are welcome at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park Visitor Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the Chateau Interpretive Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A children's holiday movie also is running in the theater at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday's activities are highlighted by Eats in the Streets that is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at various locations throughout Medora.

"Merchants are offering food of all different kinds -- a majority is free -- a bowl of soup, a piece of pie, hot dogs...," said Reinarts.

It was originally created as a lunch opportunity, but people love it, she said.

"It gets them into the stores," she added. "A lot of stores are open year around, and some will come back from their winter locations for the weekend."

One of Reinarts' favorite activities is the North Dakota Cattlewomen's Fowl Fling that starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Medora Community Center.

"It's to see who can swing a rubber chicken the farthest. It's a real crowd-pleaser," she said.

Hay wagon rides are offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout the streets of Medora on Saturday.

"A team of horses drives up and down streets, giving people rides to various locations. It's free, but tips are welcome," she said.

Another community gathering is the fireside cowboy poetry that starts at 2 p.m. in the Medora Community Center.

"We have 10 poets from North Dakota and Montana, and western music as well," she said.

The cowboy poetry leads into the community Christmas dinner, featuring roast beef, potatoes, vegetable, dessert and a beverage. Serving is from 5-7 p.m. at the Medora Community Center.

"The open mic is a new event this year. It was totally impromptu during the dinner hour last year. People were getting up on stage and singing. The crowd loved it and we're bringing it back," she said.

This year's open microphone event is from 6-7 p.m.

The activities conclude with fireworks and a Christmas dance with music by Thunder Road.

The "Fire and Ice" fireworks display starts at 7:30 p.m. on the bluffs east of the Medora Community Center.

"This is an astronomical event added three years ago -- to see ice crystals and snowflakes hanging in the air and fireworks on the bluffs. The winter night magnifies everything. It's gorgeous," she said.

While many of the events are free to the public, others require an admission fee. For a weekend package, contact 701-623-4910 or e-mail

For more information regarding the Medora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, call 701-623-4829 or contact