KX News hit the road on Friday for the third part of our Summer Road Trip to where the West begins — Mandan!

Brooke Williams, Nicholas Quallich, Nikiya Carrero and Dave Holder made the drive for the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts to bring you the news live on location.

And just in case you missed it, here’s a recap of the stories we’ve shared from Mandan:

Mandan businesses prepare for a busy Fourth of July weekend

The week of Fourth of July brings in an array of events, and visitors from all over the state and beyond will be flocking to the city. Now, local businesses are gearing up for the week.

“We’re doubling down on the number of staff we have in each location. We’re doubling down on the amount of inventory we’re carrying so we don’t run out. So it’s stressful, but really exciting simultaneously,” explained Dot Frank, the owner of Latidot Scoop and Cappuccino on Collins.

Ellen Huber with the City of Mandan says this weekend will give businesses an opportunity to take it a step further.

“We look at events as a chance to put hundreds, if not thousands of people in front of or in close proximity to the businesses in our community. And they know it’s their job to get those people through their doors or into their drive-thru as the case might be or whatever the case might be,” explained Huber, the Business Development & Communications Director for the City of Mandan.

They’re expecting tens of thousands of people to come out to the parade, and that’s not including those heading to the rodeo.

For the full story, click here.

Mandan High School band prepares for Independence Day parade

The city of Mandan will welcome thousands of people over the coming days and helping hands are coming from the Mandan Marching Band, 150 to be exact! That’s how many kids will be marching in this weekend’s Fourth of July Parade.

“I’m pretty excited. Of course, it’s going to be hot out which I think is everyone’s least favorite part. It’s real nice just being able to be out on the street, have both Bismarck and Mandan citizens watching you, go out on the street cheer you on,” said Callie Miller.

Some members marching are alumni as they were invited back after the parade was canceled last year.

They begin their two-day practice indoors before taking it out in the summer heat and marching around the neighborhood.

Band Director Jon Baumann says for some of them, it’s their first time marching in a huge event.

For the full story, click here.

Korean War veteran to serve as Mandan Fourth of July Parade grand marshal

We met a man who is leading the Independence Day parade on Sunday — a veteran who, at one point, had his own freedom taken from him.

It was 1950 when Vernon Huber joined the United States Air Force. He was assigned in January 1951 to the Korean War.

His F-84E was hit in the left wing and while trying to retreat back to the base, the wing collapsed. As the plane began to spiral, Huber says he had no choice but to eject. While waiting to be picked up, he was captured.

Huber spent 16 months as a prisoner of war until one day, a representative came in and read a document declaring the war over.

“We went inside of the building and he came and said to some of us asking, ‘Well aren’t you pleased that the war’s over? Aren’t you pleased?’ Nobody said anything to him. Well finally, they left and we started jumping around and hugging each other. And we were very happy to hear it,” shared Huber.

He says serving for the first time as a grand marshal is a complete honor.

He spent 25 years in the Air Force before retiring.

For the full story, click here.

Mandan city employees working hard to bring you Fourth of July parade, rodeo

The city has been preparing for all the events going on this weekend, like the Art in the Park festival.

And while last year it was downsized due to COVID, this year they are back to taking over Main Street.

“All of the art vendors, everything is hand-made, their own personal craft. Anything you’re looking for you could find at the Art in the Park. Any kind of food cravings you’re having, we have tons of food vendors that are providing tons of different types of food, tons of beverages,” explained Amanda Enriquez, chairperson for the Art in the Park festival.

The Mandan Public Works Department says countless hours go into the week leading up to the events.

“Preparing the rodeo, working with the park district, prepare the rodeo grounds, move dirt, help set up panels, coming in the middle of the night, painting lines so the lines look nice and fresh in the streets for parking, coming in the middle of night sweeping the streets,” explained Mitch Bitz, the Director of Public Works for the City of Mandan.

Bitz says this weekend will be a team effort across multiple departments.

Once the rodeo leaves town and the parade has marched on, it’s then time for the cleanup effort to begin.

But with no fireworks this year, the clean up process will not take as long for the city.

For the full story, click here.

Two men say the rodeo lifestyle is ‘a heck of a way to live’

The Mandan rodeo brings cowboys and cowgirls together from all over and while the competitors are the main attraction, there are many other key players.

We spoke with two guys who both play an important role in rodeos, and they both say it’s the love for the atmosphere that keeps them coming back.

Richard Ratley, a professional bullfighter, and Matt Tarr, a rodeo clown, say growing up working in the rodeo was not what they expected to do.

Both men say when they originally began rodeoing, they weren’t in the positions they are in today.

“When you’re a kid, you dress up as a clown or something for Halloween. Don’t think much of it. But it’s a heck of a way to live. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” shared Tarr.

While cowboy protection is the priority, they say it takes a real team effort to get out there each time.

“This barrel is like a bomb shelter. I mean I could go out, I can pick it up and go in there, get them guys out of trouble if they get in a bind. And that fighting bulls all them years kind of helped me know where to be to help those guys. And get them out of a jam. Hopefully, before they get into it. Those are all– They’re some of my best friends. I don’t want them getting hurt,” shared Tarr.

They say they are just as big of fans of the rodeo as those in the stands and it’s the action-packed fun jobs that keep them coming back.

For the full story, click here.

What to expect at Mandan Rodeo Days

Reporter Nikiya Carrero was live for the first day of Mandan Rodeo Days and was joined by Heather Jacobson-Bauer, the Mandan Rodeo Committee president.

They are expecting thousands of people to walk through the gates every day and Brent is here to tell us everything people need to know. Heather, can you tell us what people can expect when they come down to the rodeo?

“Well, there’s going to be a lot of rodeo action here at the Mandan Rodeo Days. We open our gates at 5 o’clock with performances starting at 7:30 each night here on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Tonight we have our family night as you can see. You can come on down and get hot dogs for the first 800 that come through the door and then after that, you can do some of our kid’s activities, we have signing and autographs with some of our contestants and also our clown and princesses,” said Jacobson-Bauer

Each night is a different theme. Friday is Family Night, Saturday is Patriot Night and the grande finale on Sunday is a firework spectacular. For the full schedule and more information, click here.

For the full story, click here.

KX Conversation: MPO President Layn Mudder talks events happening in Mandan this weekend

We’ve been talking a great deal about the Mandan rodeo, but the City of Mandan has a number of other events happening.

We were joined by the president of the Mandan Progress Organization, Layn Mudder.

We discussed the Art in the Park festival and the parade on Sunday morning. We also touched on how to get involved with next year’s event.

For the full story, click here.