Year in Review: 2021



It was a big year with some changes, recognition and awards in Bowman and Slope counties.

But 2021 is in its final hours and 2022 will soon be dawning.

Looking back on 2021, the communities survived a pandemic, found success on the basketball court and the football field, had local people honored at the county and state level.


It started in January when Mindy Schumacher took over as the Bowman County auditor. She took over for retiring Sandi Tivis. Schumacher had been working as the deputy auditor for 14 year when she was selected to take over the position held by Tivis for 23 years.

On the wrestling mat, Taylor Wanner and Austin Wanner helped kick off the new year with victories that helped the BuccaDawgs place second in a tournament in South Dakota (Buffalo) behind Hettinger- Scranton.

On the basketball court, it was senior Samantha Oase who kept the Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks rolling with a 61- 48 victory over visiting Harding County in a contest held in Scranton.



The Bowman Fire Department started off the new year with vaccinations against COVID 19. They were part of the first phase of vaccinations headed to healthcare workers, first responders and others designated by the state of North Dakota.

It was on Jan. 11 when the Christmas lights in the City Park were turned off. They had been on each night since the Festival of Lights ceremony more than a month earlier.

Just a few days later, the region was hit by strong winds which climbed to more than 70 miles per hour. A January fire near Lemmon became an inferno that would eventually burn about 20,000 acres and draw support from fire departments in Bowman (Bowman and Scranton) and Slope (Amidon) counties and even from Montana. Wind gusts were as high as 93 miles per hour in Williston and 81 miles per hour in Hettinger.

It was in mid January that North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced the end of statewide mask mandates.



Locally, Southwest Healthcare Services added a mobile robotic sanitizing machine to its medical arsenal to clean and disinfect rooms.

It was announced that Vanessa Fischer of Bowman won the Gold Key in novel writing as part of the Red River Valley Writing Project at North Dakota State University.

By the end of January, the flashing yellow light had been taken down at the intersection of Highways 12 and 85 South…. people from Bowman and Slope counties visited Baker in Montana for the annual “March for Life” in spite of very cold temperatures…. Lois Miller stepped down as the vice president of operations at Dakota Western Bank in Bowman after 44 years with the bank…. while the Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks, led by Scranton’s Samantha Oase took over the lead in the Region 7 girls basketball standings with a narrow 57-52 win over Bowman County.

In addition, a 37-year old Adams County man was arrested on bank robbery charges after he allegedly robbed the Dakota West Credit Union.



Almost a year after high winds tore off part of the roof at West River Health Services in Bowman, it reopened.


A local bank officer was recognized for his assistance in the arrest of an Adams County resident for a Bowman bank robbery. The Chief Financial Officer of the Dakota Western Bank, John Burke, received a challenge coin from Bowman Police Chief Charles Headley for his assistance.

The NDHSAA (North Dakota High School Activities Association) opened up online television with schools for basketball coverage, allowing fans to watch local schools play road games and would be able to even watch home games during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A local fundraiser for Giving Hearts Day went for 24 hours (Feb. 11) at locations Frontier Travel Center and Lasting Visions in downtown Bowman.

Scranton’s Samantha Oase continued to break the school’s career scoring record with every game in February.



In spite of subzero weather, the Great Plains Food Bank was able to make the delivery to the Bowman/Slope County Community Cupboard which was able to distribute the food to local residents.

Preston Louis of Browning (Montana) won the Bowman Bull Blowout, but it was the bull “Night Shift” which proved to be the big winner at the Bowman County Fairgrounds.

Bowman County’s boys basketball team lost a narrow 77- 76 decision to Beulah in overtime … the second overtime loss in February.

The Pioneer Trails Regional Museum won one of seven Main Street Tourism grants from the state of North Dakota.


Hettinger-Scranton won the girls Region 7 title to earn a berth in the state championship tournament in early March.

They would end up finishing eighth in the tournament, with Samantha Oase being named to the all-tournament team. In three tournament games, she scored 48 points and grabbed 38 rebounds against some of the top teams in the state.



About a week later, the Scranton senior would be named as North Dakota’s Miss Basketball – an honor given to the top senior basketball player in the state.

In her senior season, Oase averaged 20.4 per game and 11.7 rebounds. She had taken the Night Hawks to the state tournament for three straight years. She also had signed to go to college in Black Hills State University in South Dakota.

Lebanon Lutheran in Amidon held its first pancake supper since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States.

In March, Smokehouse reopened in a new location in downtown Bowman but would close just a few months later.

In mid-March the wooden Has Been statue was stolen from its location in front of the Silver Dollar Bar and approximately 200 people were vaccinated at the Four Seasons Pavilion.

The Knights of Columbus closed out the month of March with a fish fry that served up about 100 meals at the St. Charles Catholic Church in Bowman.



Bowman County senior Caleb Duffield was named to the all state basketball second team.

A local restaurant celebrated Veterans Appreciation Day (March 29) with a free meal at Kroger’s Kitchen in Rhame and 25 local veterans taking part.


Bowman County won both the girls and boys division track titles in the team’s seasonopener at the Early Bird Invitational.

Linda Narum of Amidon was honored by the Great Plains Food Bank in early April as a 2020 Hunger Relief Champion.

According to officials, the honor goes to people who fight hunger. They explained that in addition to fighting hunger for years, Narum also found unique ways to serve those in need.

Has Been, the wooden statue which had been taken from the front sidewalk outside the Silver Dollar in mid-March was found in South Dakota and returned to its post in front of the bar in April.



The Bowman County Fire Department put the vacant Shopko building to use in April – as a training site for other firefighters in the region. The event drew about 50 firefighters from Baker, Rhame, Dickinson, Scranton and Hettinger.

Earth Day in Bowman helped ABLE Inc. collect more than 1,400 pounds of cans for recycling – before 11 a.m. in the morning.

The Bowman County track team used eight event wins to power for a big victory at the Killdeer Invitational. The Bulldogs scored 181 points, almost double the host’s 99 point total in second place.

Bowman County won the Badlands Conference track boys title April 29 in Dickinson.


Carlee Miller was one of the top riders in the Barrel Daze competition at the Bowman County Fairgrounds. She was third in the final day of competition, but also took second in the Saturday competition.

The annual National Day of Prayer drew people to the flagpole in front of the Bowman City Hall May 6.



The Bowman County boys track team won both the Mandan and Killdeer invitationals, with the girls placing second at Killdeer. The girls team was third in the Mandan meet.

Scranton celebrated graduation with a pair of valedictorians – Jeran Anderson and Samantha Oase.

Scranton faced a challenge to the co-op agreement they had with Hettinger in late May, but eventual the disagreement was settled, allowing the arrangement to continue.

Kevin Fischer of Bowman

County High School won the 2021 DeKalb Outstanding Agricultural Accomplishment award.

Bowman County and Beulah each won regional track titles, with the Bowman boys winning and the girls placing second, while the reverse happened for the Miners.

The 2021 graduation at Bowman County High School made a pointed reference to surviving the pandemic and graduating with accolades, awards and scholarships.

Senior Brian Miller closed out his prep career on the track by winning the state 800 meters crown at the Bismarck State College oval. The boys team finished with Miller getting seconds on the first day in the 1,600 meters and as the anchor of the 4×800 meter relay team. Miller cut the lead by Lisbon to just a few years by the end of the race after his teammates Gavin Scott, Austin Wanner and Caleb Sarsland kept him close to the leader.



As a team, Bowman placed second with 53 points in the boys competition.


Joe Torillo was the guest speaker at the North Dakota Firefighters Association convention held at the Four Seasons Pavilion in early June. A 9/11 survivor, Torillo has become a motivational speaker.

In addition, there was a semi devoted to the story of 9/11 and the people and families that had been impacted by the terrorist attack.

Karsen Kulseth placed 27th at the state Class B golf tournament at the Crossroads Golf Club course.



Scranton’s Jeran Anderson was named as the top senior baseball player in Region 8 at the playoffs in Beulah. He was playing for Hettinger-Scranton.

The annual North Dakota High School Rodeo Championships are a big draw to Bowman and a big infusion into the local economy, according to local businesses.

Bowman’s Saylor Wilson won the short go goat tying competition at the state high school rodeo competition.

Father Paul Eberle said his farewells to his St. Charles Catholic Church (Bowman), St. Mel’s (Rhame) and St. Mary’s (Marmarth) parishioners in June as he got a new assignment.

A North Dakota brewery came to Bowman in June for a public taste test in the conference room behind Grazers in the Bowman Lodge. The Rhombus Guy’s Brewery in Grand Forks was looking to introduce several new flavors into the local market.

The Bowman Airport held a Fly-In in June drawing pilots from surrounding states to stop by and even got a surprise when a national guard helicopter stopped for the evening because of the weather near Minot.



Slope County’s Ellie Rettinger earned a berth in the Nationals in the goat tying competition. Teigan Marmon and Clay Schmalz also grabbed a berth in the national in the team roping competition during the state championships in Bowman. Jayda Miller also earned a trip to the Nationals.

At the Junior High Nationals, Carlee Miller was a reserve champion in barrel racing.



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