Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award Hall of Fame

An honorary rank of Colonel in the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders was established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial. The award recognizes North Dakotans who have been influenced by this state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens.

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. As a young man, he spent several years in the North Dakota Badlands. Roosevelt said if it had not been for his experiences in North Dakota, he never would have been President of the United States. Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt vigorously championed the conservation of America's scenic, natural and historical resources. In recognition of his valuable contributions toward conservation, Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in 1947 in the North Dakota Badlands that Roosevelt loved.

North Dakotans can be nominated for consideration through the Contact Us page on the North Dakota Governor's website or by mailing or delivering nomination materials to the Governor's Office. Nominations should include the nominee's name, a description of the reason for nomination and contact information for the individual or individuals submitting the nomination.

Recipients of the award are chosen by the Governor, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State and the Director of the State Historical Society.

As of October 2023, 48 North Dakotans have received the award. Their portraits are on display in the lower level of the Capitol building, including the latest recipient, Virgil HIll.


Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award Winners

Award Recipient Presented
Lawrence Welk, Entertainer August 28, 1961
Dorothy Stickney, Actress November 2, 1961
Ivan Dmitri, Artist April 13, 1962
Roger Maris, Athlete January 4, 1964
Eric Sevareid, Journalist April 17, 1964
Gen. Harold K. Johnson, Military Service April 23, 1965
Dr. Anne H. Carlsen, Educator September 9, 1966
Edward K. Thompson, Journalist April 19, 1968
Dr. Robert Henry Bahmer, Archiving July 28, 1970
Louis L'Amour, Author May 26, 1972
Bertin C. Gamble, Entrepreneur October 20, 1972
Casper Oimoen, Athlete February 12, 1973
Peggy Lee, Entertainer May 23, 1975
Harold Schafer, Entrepreneur July 4, 1975
Era Bell Thompson, Journalist August 14, 1976
Dr. Leon Orris Jacobson, Physician October 1, 1976
Elizabeth Bodine, Humanitarian July 27, 1979
Phyllis Frelich, Actress April 27, 1981
Cliff "Fido" Purpur, Athlete May 16, 1981
Gen. David C. Jones, Military Service May 21, 1982
Ronald N. Davies, Judge June 11, 1987
Phil Jackson, Athlete July 30, 1992
Larry Woiwode, Author October 23, 1992
Angie Dickinson, Actress December 2, 1992
Rev. Richard C. Halverson, Minister March 26, 1994
Brynhild Haugland, Legislator March 20, 1995
Admiral William A. Owens, Military Service January 29, 1996
Carl Ben Eielson, Pioneer Aviator August 26, 1997
Warren Christopher, Public Service June 20, 1998
Bobby Vee, Entertainer June 20, 1999
Chester "Chet" Reiten, Entrepreneur October 8, 2002
Thomas J. Clifford, Entrepreneur November 23, 2002
Sister Thomas Welder, Educator May 1, 2004
Harry J. Pearce, Business Leader August 11, 2004
William C. Marcil, Business Leader May 18, 2006
Master Sergeant Woodrow Wilson Keeble, Military Service July 23, 2008
Doug Burgum, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist November 20, 2009
Ronald D. Offutt, Agribusiness Leader and Philanthropist September 15, 2011
Louise Erdrich, Author April 19, 2013
Herman Stern, Business Leader and Humanitarian March 13, 2014
Gerald W. VandeWalle, Elected Official January 7, 2015
John D. Odegard, Aviation Pioneer and Leader October 15, 2015
Eugene Dahl, Business Leader and Entrepreneur October 28, 2016
Clint Hill, U.S. Secret Service Agent and Author November 19, 2018
Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux, Olympic Gold Medalists July 14, 2021
Dr. Merton Utgaard, Founder of the International Music Camp  July 29, 2022
Virgil Hill, Five-Time Boxing World Champion Boxer October 30, 2023

The Rough Rider Award Artists

  • Ann Linton Hodge
  • Emmett Morgan
  • Vern Skaug