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Geo Day Draws Over 600 People

By Staff | Aug 28, 2015

The Johnny Holm Band performs at this year's Geographical Center Day.

The Rugby Armory was hopping last weekend.

According to Shelley Block, Rugby Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, over 600 people came out to the Geographical Center Day dance – with music by the Johnny Holm Band. Block said the event was well-received by those in attendance.

“Everything turned out as best as we could’ve expected,” Block said. “Even though at the last minute we had to move it all into the Armory, The Chamber Board of Directors, the volunteers who were on the committee, they just stepped it up and we went to town.”

Originally the event was slated to be held in downtown Rugby, but rainy weather was in the forecast.

One difference from last year’s event was it not being the same day as the Daryl Kuhnhenn Memorial Ride, which has been scheduled for Sept. 12 this year. Block said the date was the only time they could book the Johnny Holm Band.

“That’s who we were looking for. We wanted Johnny Holm. He was here five years ago, and we know he draws a crowd. And they’re fun [the band], they play everything!” Block said.

Block said this year’s event had more games, including the second ping pong ball drop – an event sponsored by local businesses in which children could win prizes – and a dunking booth.

Prize winners for this year’s event included Tim Drader, who won a $150 salon package from La Bella Vita; Karen Teigen, who won a $50 gift card from the Brown Lantern; Lindsey Gessner, who won a $50 gift card from Borth’s; Michelle Berube, who won a gift certificate from 3rd Street Station; Ashlynn Munyer, who won $100 in Chamber Bucks; Rose Quick, who won a $50 gift certificate from Thrifty White Drug; Renae Selensky, who won a $100 gas card from Harper Oil; Barb Opstedal, who won a .223 Axis Savage rifle from Hardware Hank; and Bert Anklam, who won a $50 gift certificate from Ashley B. Photography.

Block said one drawback of having this year’s event at the Armory was where to put the food vendors.

“The thing that we had to scale back on, which was the biggest bummer, was having our food vendors outside and not around the dance area,” Block said. “The Armory served its purpose for darn sure. The stage was great. We probably could’ve had a little more room for the games, but that all worked out great.”

Block said the purpose of Geographical Center Day is to bring people to Rugby.

“We advertise in a 60-mile radius, and I can say we brought people in from a 60-mile radius and more,” Block said. “People were here from Minot!”

The event started as the Wind Harvest Festival in the past, which, according to Block, was in part because of a sponsorship from Iberdrola Renewables. To this day, despite changing the name to Geographical Center Day in celebration of Rugby, Iberdrola still sponsors and contributes to the event.

“They’re wonderful to work with,” Block said of Iberdrola. “They love being a part of the community where they’re at.”

Last year’s event drew an estimated 300 people with the band Hicktown performing.

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