MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) – The biggest rodeo in North Dakota and one of the oldest in the nation is about to get a permanent home. The new arena will be open before the 2023 Mandan Rodeo Days performances.
The new $2.8 million facility will be named Dale Pahlke Arena on the Dakota Community Bank & Trust Rodeo Grounds. It will feature two sets of 2,000-seat ADA-accessible bleachers, a larger arena, and more amenities that have a positive impact on both contestants and the fan experience.
The new arena will be in place of the current Mandan Horse and Saddle Club arena. It will feature several improvements including updated LED lighting, an area for a food truck court complete with electricity and water, a video board, covered grandstands, and better drainage for the arena.
The arena will feature sandy soil instead of the heavy clay in the old arena. The clay ground gets sticky when it rains, making unsafe conditions for rodeo animals and contestants.
Jason Mittlestadt, past president of the volunteer Mandan Rodeo Days committee, explained the covered grandstands and storm drains were crucial to the plan citing the July rain during a drought.
“Over the Fourth of July it likes to storm in North Dakota,” he joked. “When it rains, the rodeo grounds turn into a slip and slide. Drain tile and storm drains will be installed, helping the arena drain and dry out quicker.”
Over 85% of the overall funding has been secured for the community’s newest venue. Mittlestadt said they are short about $380,000 and are accepting donations for it.
Dale Pahlke, a rodeo fan, made a generous donation, as did Dakota Community Bank and Trust. G. Roy Gilbreath, Montana-Dakota Utilities, Butler Machine, and Mandan Visitor Funds are also donors of Dale Pahlke Arena on the Dakota Community Bank & Trust Rodeo Grounds.
Contractors are Northwest Contracting, Western Edge Electric, Bowers Excavating, ICON Architectural, Prairie Engineering and Independent Land Surveying and Engineering, Inc. All contractors are making a portion of in-kind donations to offset costs.
Mittlestadt’s work with the design and fundraising for the new facility is all-volunteer as his goal is to bring the community together and create an experience for everybody to share.
“It’s a huge undertaking, and people will say, you must be a huge rodeo fan. But it’s more for the community and the people involved,” Mittlestadt said. “A permanent setup will make it so much
easier for the race club, the volunteer Mandan Rodeo Days committee, Mandan Parks and Recreation, and the city of Mandan.”
To keep costs down, some of the existing infrastructures will be used. This includes the parking area, ticketing area, and concessions.
The new arena will be available for other equine and youth events including team roping, barrel racing, and bull riding competitions.
“I remember riding in the original arena, and I know it can be special for youth to compete in a place that hosts a rodeo the likes of the Mandan Rodeo Days,” Mittlestadt said.
The 143rd annual Mandan Rodeo presented by Dakota Community Bank and Trust takes place July 2-4, with performances beginning at 7:30 pm nightly. Theme nights include Family Night presented by H.A. Thompson & Sons on July 2nd, Patriot Night presented by Eide Chrysler on July 3rd, and Firework Night presented by KX News on July 4th.
Rodeo fans can buy reserved seating or VIP seating with the brand-new ticket packages available now. Tickets are only available online at MandanRodeo.com.