Mandan News

Diane Boit: Winter Daze festival a success, 1988

Diane Boit


25 Years Ago – 1988

Following the coronation of the Winter Daze Queen, Cyndy Piela, the Winter Daze festivities began with the second annual Mandan Zonta Chili Cook-Off held at the Mandan Community Center. The winning entry out of 10 teams went to Larry Anderson and Gary Himmelspach, who combined to create delicious “Dog House” Chili. Their first prize was a $25 Beef Certificate, donated by the District 6 Cattlewomen.

Other Winter Daze events included a parade down Main Street, a Beach Party at the Community Center, Valentine’s Day dances, an outdoor picnic at BN Park, ice skating, fishing derby at Sweet Briar Lake, flag football in the snow, outdoor golf, softball and volleyball tournaments, a Mello Yello scavenger hunt, wheelchair and grade school basketball tournaments and the Mandan Hospital Volunteers Benefit Dance.

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The Mandan Hospital Volunteers sponsored the 23rd annual Hospital Benefit Dance held at the Mandan Elks Club. This year’s theme was Winter Daze Cruise. Following a chicken and beef dinner, the crowd danced to the music of the Bernie Stein orchestra.

Games of chance included ring toss, bingo, golf and a silent auction. Since the first dinner-dance in 1964, the volunteers have donated more than $110,000 to the hospital.

The following ladies chaired the evening’s events: bingo, Ruby Huber; golf, Millie Block; silent auction, Rosie Porsborg; raffle tickets, Mary Meeker; tickets at the door, Marilyn Falkovic and Caroline Olson; “white elephant” gifts, Vivian Schaff; posters, Irene Feil; publicity, Irene Monzelowsky.

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After a long spell of subzero temperatures, the Winter Daze 10-day long festival concluded with a fireworks display at the Community Center on Sunday, Feb. 14.


Taken during the beach dance at the Mandan Community Center as part of the Mandan Park District's Winter Daze. Truckloads of sand had been hauled into the Community Center scattered unto the dance floor to offer those who attended a feeling of partying on the beach.

Taken during the beach dance at the Mandan Community Center as part of the Mandan Park District’s Winter Daze. Truckloads of sand had been hauled into the Community Center scattered unto the dance floor to offer those who attended a feeling of partying on the beach.

50 Years Ago – 1963

Mandan Attorney Leland G. Ulmer has been named executive manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. Ulmer succeeds Conrad Blomberg of Bismarck, formerly of Mandan. Born in Hazen, Ulmer is a graduate of Mandan High School and a 1951 graduate of North Dakota University Law School and has since been associated with the law firm of Vogel, Ulmer & Bair. He is married to the former Mary Jane Pierce, whose father was editor of the Mandan Daily Pioneer for many years.

John Gehring, Mandan High School senior, and son of Mrs. Della Gehring, has been nominated to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy. Eight other nominees were also named to compete for the two vacancies available through Congressman Don L. Short’s office.

The Mandan Braves basketball team dropped its 15th straight Western Dakota Conference game falling to the Minot Ryan Lion’s, 87-55, at Minot. However, the Braves got a fine game from their senior center Gary Gustin, who sank four field goals and nine free throws for a total of 17 points. Clem Richau played his usual good game, tallying 14 points.


Leland Ulmer in 1963.

Leland Ulmer in 1963.

75 Years Ago – 1938

Mrs. Mary Mackley, Minot, department president of the Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, conducted the formal institution of the Mandan unit to Harry L. Kidd post of the VFW. Fourteen candidates were inducted as charter members. Mrs. Albert Brorby was installed as the unit’s first president. Other officers are: Mrs. Martin Nelson, senior vice president; Mrs. Charles Toman, junior vice president; Mrs. Joseph Gilligan, treasurer; Mrs. E. P. Needham, secretary; and Mrs. Fred Coker, chaplain.

Mrs. Charles Kidd, a Gold Star mother, was also named an honorary member of the unit; she is the mother of Harry L. Kidd, after whom the local post is named. Her son was killed in action while overseas during the World War.

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A new weekly column, entitled “His & Mrs.” has appeared in the Daily Pioneer. It is written by long-time employee, Charles F. Pierce, who comments on daily news, both national and local… along with adding a few anecdotes and little pearls of wisdom.

In this week’s column, Mr. Pierce commented on D.C. Mohr, manager of the Mandan Penney’s store: “D.C. Mohr, who knows his music and whose bass voice adds much to any musical entertainment, says that a true lover of music is one who, when he hears a soprano voice in the bathroom, puts his ear to the keyhole.”

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Points scored from the free throw line were the margin of Mandan’s superiority over Dickinson’s basketball team as the Braves eked out a 27-24 victory in the Memorial Building this week. Despite being handicapped with a wire mask that obstructed his vision, Ray Toman was the Braves’ top scorer with 11 points. Toman’s nose was broken in a game with St. Leo’s at Minot. Also scoring for Mandan were Gordon House, eight points, and “Dusty” Knoll, with three free throws.


100 Years Ago – 1913

“Twelve pupils of the eighth grade were declared eligible for promotion to the high school department on Feb. 1, resulting in a total of 101 pupils in the local high school which is the highest number in the school’s history. It is noted that the athletic features of the high school are largely responsible for the high efficiency of the pupils. To take part in athletics, a pupil must be up in all of his studies and, with practically every boy in the school out for a place on some team, all are applying themselves assiduously.

“Six more weeks of winter, and if it is the same brand we have had so far, there will be no need to cuss the ground hog, who last Sunday ventured from his burrow, saw his shadow and then scuttled back to cover for six more weeks of sleep.

“Excitement over a game of cards cost the life of John Weldi, well known farmer of Taylor, who dropped dead Saturday evening at the home of his friends here in Mandan. Whether the cause of death was attributed to his winning hand or to his weak heart has yet to be determined.”


125 Years Ago – 1888

The village of Mandan was organized in the spring of 1881; by 1888 its population was at 2,600.

February 15, 1888: “On Friday, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 12 degrees below zero.

“The woman who has been an inmate of the Poor House some time under the name of Florence Fuller, died Friday of consumption. She will be buried in potter’s field, northwest of Mandan.

“On Saturday, the slippery-fingered gentleman named McComb, who palmed himself off on the people of Bismarck as a nephew of General Sherman, was arrested in Mandan and sent to Bismarck. He will there meet his just desserts.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email