**CORRECTION: The original version of this story stated the last North Dakotans to receive the Rough Rider Award did so in 2001. The most recent recipients, the Lamoureux sisters, received the Rough Rider Award in 2021.
NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The International Peace Garden turned 90 years old and a special celebration will take place this weekend to celebrate the big milestone.
One part of the festivities is the Rough Rider award, a tremendous honor for North Dakotans.
The rough rider award recognizes North Dakotans, who have gained national recognition.
Prior to the most recent award winner, only 46 North Dakotans have received this award, the most recent being in 2001.
“Merton Utgaard who is the founder of the International Music Camp, decided that the peace gardens was a great place to build this camp and after the first year and the last sixty-five years after that, the camp has been home to people from across North America and the world coming here,” said International Music Camp Director, Tim Baumann.
Utgaard’s efforts have been cherished by many from the past and present. As of now, the camp sees close to 2,000 campers. And although Utgaard has since passed, his legacy lives on at the International Music Camp.
“So he’s brought so many people here to North Dakota and to the region just through his vision and his goal of having a music camp,” added Baumann.
The International Peace Garden and Music camp have a great relationship all thanks to Utgaard. Through his actions and compassion for music and helping others, many feel that he deserves this award.
“This is our 66th year of operation and we wouldn’t be here without Doctor Utgaard deciding that this place was the right place for music camp back in 1956,” said International Music Camp Director, Christine Baumann.
The Baumann’s feel honored to be able to continue the legacy that Utgaard has left behind, to this day, the original building for the music camp, still stands.
The North Dakota Governor personally picks who he or she believes deserves this prestigious award.