by Francis Materi
Association of Commerce members and sale organizers have rounded up a lengthy list of entertainment and activities to be held in conjunction with the wild horse auction set Sept. 28 at Wishek Livestock.
Around 100 horses culled from the herd at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, near Medora, will be transported to Wishek and they'll go on the block at 11 a.m. Saturday.
A large crowd of bidders is expected to pack the stands at the sales barn. A $10 admission fee will be charged there.
Prospective bidders and spectators also can attend for the same price at the Wishek Civic Center, where BEK Communications Cooperative will beam a live video feed of the sale. Offsite bids will be accepted from that location. The Wishek High School band and choir will sell lunch and beverages.
"There's been tremendous buzz about this event over the last few months," says Lora Hochhalter, Association of Commerce president. "We've received calls from all over the United States and beyond. Wishek is the talk of the horse world."
The equine-related excitement really kicks up Friday, with horse viewing from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Wishek Livestock, located just north and east of town. Admission will be $5.
Evening festivities are being formally billed as a Buyer's Reception, but everything is open to the public.
First Baptist Church serves an authentic German supper, true to the area's ethnic heritage, beginning at 5 p.m. at the historic Wishek Civic Center, 719 1st Ave. S. The supper is $20 per plate. The fee also includes an evening of fun and entertainment.
An informational seminar is set for 7 p.m. at the Civic Center. Speakers include Marylu Weber, representing the North Dakota Badlands Horse Registry; Maggie Bauer, coordinator of the Wild Horse Research Project at Colorado State University in Fort Collins; and Dan Sparling, who purchased "Bashful" at the last Theodore Roosevelt National Park horse auction, held in 2009 at Dickinson. Deb Fjetland, from the Horse Registry, and Eileen Norton, representing Wild in North Dakota, also will be available for a "meet-and-greet."
From 8 p.m. to midnight, the Radio Stars band, featuring Wishek's native son-in-law, Merrill Piepkorn — married to the former Connie Meidinger — takes the Civic Center stage, sponsored by the McIntosh County Farm Bureau. Dance admission for those who did not attend the supper is $10.
Blondie's Lounge will provide a cash bar at the Civic Center. At 9 p.m., there will be a stick horse auction. Fifty percent of proceeds benefit the Wild Horse DNA Fund.
Bids for a silent auction, with items donated from throughout the world, will be accepted throughout the evening. In addition, cash and prizes will be given away at the Farm Bureau booth.
Saturday's slate begins with the Wild Horse 5K Fun Run and Walk. Registration is set for 7:30 a.m. at the Civic Center, with the race at 8:00. Once again, half the proceeds benefit the Wild Horse DNA Fund.
Wishek Community Hospital and Clinics will host a breakfast, with serving from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Wishek High School gym. The menu includes sausage patties, ham, french toast. pancakes, eggs and omlettes. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 8 and under.
Following the horse sale at 11 a.m., visitors are invited to dine at local restaurants. Among the many culinary attractions is a nacho special at Big Screen Bar and Grill, 12 N. 5th St.
Saturday evening, disc jockey Chris Gross provides music and entertainment at the Lariat Lounge on the east end of Beaver Ave. There's no cover charge.
For more information, call sale managers Clyde and Anna Meidinger, 452-2669; Denise Morman, Wishek Livestock, 452-2100; or Lora Hochhalter, Association of Commerce, 452-0117.