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Anna G. Larson, Published March 01 2013

ND Winter Show returns for 76th year

Valley City, N.D. - The North Dakota Winter Show, now in its 76th year, returns with new attractions – even one that takes showgoers on a wild ride.

Besides its traditional agriculture-focused exhibits, this year’s winter show has new stage acts, NASCAR and golf simulators, and 30-plus new vendors.

One of the most exciting attractions this year is expected to be the NASCAR simulator, says show manager Dawn Riley.

This is Riley’s second year managing the show.

“I’m really excited about this year,” she says. “The NASCAR simulator, made out of a retired NASCAR vehicle, is like an amusement ride. It moves, and wind blows in your hair. It’s like you’re really driving a race car.”

The golf simulator feels much like playing on a par-3 hole, Riley says.

A hole-in-one contest worth $10,000 sweetens the deal for golfers who want to practice their swing, she says.

Gracing the stage during the show’s six-day run will be Black Hills Raptor Center, a nonprofit based in Rapid City, S.D., that rescues birds of prey; Tigerlily, a musical act from Hazen composed of sisters Kendra and Krista Slaubaugh; and Imaginick, a Park Rapids, Minn.-based magician.

“The biggest thing is the Tigerlily group. I’m very excited about them,” Riley says.

Country musician Jerrod Niemann is the “star entertainer” who will take the stage on March 8. Singer/songwriter Gwen Sebastian opens for him at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

The Winter Show PRCA Rodeo celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Combining the traditional staples with new entertainment is the key to a successful winter show, Riley says.

“I think the longevity of this show and how we’re still so much about agriculture and the 4-H part of it and the crop show – it’s still very strong,” she says. “We want to keep this show going by bringing in different things.”

Ticket sales so far are slightly up this year from last, Riley says.

She expects a strong crowd at the show, but says weather plays a vital role in attendance.

Crop and animal exhibits, livestock sales, youth events and commercial booths round out the show.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525