ART & CULTURE
Art Of // The Connection
HOME & DESIGN // The Childhood
OUTDOORS // Living As A
RHOMBUS Guys ReĎ?lect Co-founders Arron Hendricks, Matt Winjum talk change, the future and the no-fear attitude responsible for their regional empire ISSUE 3 2018 GrandLifestyleMagazine.com Printed in USA
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GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
Contact: 314 4th St. NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721 218-399-0200 www.upnorthpizzapub.com email@example.com
ISSUE 3 //
features EAT & DRINK //
08 THE VIEW FROM RHOMBUS Rhombus Guys co-founders Arron Hendricks and Matt Winjum explain the rise and future of their regionally iconic brand.
64 MEET YOUR GROWER Dawn Rognerud reveals the process of growing, harvesting and selling vegetable produce and products at the Town Square Farmer's Market.
SHOP & STYLE //
HOME & DESIGN //
THE INDEPENDENT SHINE
TRANSFORMING THE CHILDHOOD HOME
A mother-daughter duo operating a Grand Forks-based jewelry store reminds us that we don't have to travel to see, touch or acquire the highest of high-end style.
Self-made home designers and general contractors Marc and Chelsie Kuhn turned a childhood home into a forever residence.
ART & CULTURE //
40 THE ART OF CONNECTION The North Dakota Museum of Art has found a way to supply the region with art that we can relate with, understand and feel the impact.
50 CAPTURING THE ACTION Russ Hons is a private eye that captures more than just Stanley Cups, wild horses and crime scenes.
HEALTH & FITNESS //
34 MORE THAN A MARATHON The Wild Hog Marathon organizers explain the evolution of the three-day event and what its meant for the Grand Cities.
22 THE SKY-VU DRIVE IN: A RED RIVER VALLEY ICON OF AMERICAN POP CULTURE
The region's remaining drive-in movie theatre is rekindling old memories, and making new ones.
56 LIVING AS A RACECAR FAMILY The Pedersons race together all season long. Their daily, weekly and weekend schedules reveal why they've won and what keeps them focusing on the inish-line of the next race.
EDITOR'S NOTE //
An Iconic Issue The GRAND region is lush with iconic places, people and annual events. We are lucky to have such places, to be living amongst the type of peo-
ple that transcend the minutia of our day-to-day and inject us with inspiration and plain-old happiness. We live amongst diamond ambassadors, racecar drivers, drive-in movie theater operators, growers, connection artists and Rhombus guys. In this issue, we tried to capture the essence of several highly-recognizable and established stories. On a Friday morning in July, we ventured to a small vegetable growing operation just after the sun had come up. Then we spent the mid-morning with the founders of one of the region’s most well-known and trusted food and drink brands. To wrap up the day, we talked with a lifelong racecar driver about his family—all of whom are into racing. A few days before that, we were at a transformed childhood home touring a forever-type renovation project that a husband-wife team had just completed. That was followed by a trip to an independent jewelers where everything shines, and if you wanted to, you could hold a stone worth more than most luxury cars. While we were at the jewelry store talking with the motherdaughter duo about their trips to the world capital of diamonds, we heard a line that stuck with us and seems itting as a thematic thread that shows a connection between all of these iconic people, places or events covered in this issue. Nancy Marchell, owner of Signature Jewelers, said it is a myth that people need to travel from this region to see high-end jewelry. In fact, she said, “If you want to see a $1 million diamond, I can have it here in a day.” That’s the thing about this place—we are surrounded by world-class amazing people. We have iconic destinations to visit ive minutes away. We can be a part of memorable events and we never have to leave the region. Think that’s a plug or a cheesy line we were paid to say? Try and eat a slice of gourmet pizza on the Rhombus roof deck over a cold beer from the Rhombus brewery Luke Geiver with Arron Hendricks or Matt Winjum chatting you up and try to EDITOR GRAND Lifestyle magazine not slip into a state of food, drink and setting nirvana that people firstname.lastname@example.org from anywhere would pay for. Or, go to a race and watch 16-year old, Chelsie Pederson, crawl out of her lightning sprint car after she’s won and see the little girls run up to her. Watch her take her helmet off, slide a strand of hair away from her face and then smile. There’s no way you won’t get chills. Want to sit along a runway and witness designer fashion on glorious models walk by within arm’s reach, we have that here too.
GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
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CONTRIBUTORS MANSTROM PHOTOGRAPHY Jeremy and Jamie Manstrom provide an intimate view into the world of their subjects and settings every time they grab a camera. For this issue, they captured the entire essence of the North Dakota Museum of Art and the daily operations of a racecar family. // ManstromPhotography.com
MEGAN SUGDEN PHOTOGRAPHY Driving by the Sky-Vu drive-in doesn't leave you awestruck. But, Sugden, working with us for the first time, was able to capture the unique ambiance in a way that makes you want to check your schedule and mark down a night when you can catch a movie at the drive-in. // MeganPhoto.com
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SHAWNA NOEL SCHILL PHOTOGRAPHY It was easy to see how committed and able Shawna is during a photoshoot. While at Rhombus, Schill stood on rooftop tables or knelt under beer stills to get unique angles and shots. Impressive. // ShawnaNoel.com
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EAT E AT & D DRINK RIN // Photos by Shawna Noel Schill
THE VIEW FROM
RHOMBUS Nearly two decades in, Rhombus Guys co-founders Matt Winjum and Arron Hendricks have created an iconic regional brand. Learn how they became synonomous with the best, and, whatâ€™s next.
GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
If you’ve lived in the Grand cities long enough, you probably remember the irst time you ate at Rhombus Guys Pizza. If you
are new to the area or just visiting, chances are, you’ll be making a Rhombus memory soon. The regionally iconic brand name has become a leading word in our lexicon of what’s cool, fresh, unique and worthy of our time when it’s time to eat, drink or just hang-out. When you think of Rhombus, you think of gourmet pizza served to you on a rooftop, or now days, a fresh pint of beer, cold and direct from a still positioned in the corner of a massive, undeniably beautiful former opera house that doubles as a brewery and restaurant. Rhombus is the type of place that reminds us that life can be great and simple at the same time. With the sun setting and the daily grind of the city winding down, we can sit on a shiny silver outdoor chair situated on an open air rooftop and dangle the tip of a fresh slice of T-Rex pizza above our mouths and narrow down all of our worldly concerns until all we care about is one thing: how big of a bite should we take. These days few places can do that for us. GrandLifestyleMagazine.com
EAT & DRINK //
Few places can somehow move our eyes from a screen or our thoughts from somewhere else to our immediate surroundings. When we are at the house of pizza or the brewery, it is nearly impossible not to look around and notice the uniqueness of the setting or the food. At a Rhombus location, it is hard not to simply feel cool sitting on the roof, unique for patronizing at a local brewery or above all else, happy with how you chose to spend your precious time. More than a decade after Matt Winjum and Arron Hendricks brought the Rhombus brand to downtown Grand Forks, much has changed, in their offerings, their perspective and their impact on the region. The story of Winjum and Hendricks—a well-known tale of young entrepreneurs eager to plow their own future without a fear of failing and a gift for making great pizza—has also evolved. As we found out, Rhombus is on the cusp of a memorable new era.
The Guys On Then, Now and In The Future Winjum has spent 18 years (half of his life) working and building out the Rhombus brand. “This is who I am,” he says. After starting a smoothie-making business with Hendricks out of a used snowmobile trailer in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, Winjum has evolved from a 19-year old kid that thought owning more than one smoothie trailer would be a big deal, to a proven entrepreneur that now gets asked to speak or teach on the secrets of business. Hendricks is Winjum’s best friend. They’ve hung-out and schemed together since the seventh grade. According to Hendricks, Winjum is the big thinker, always looking for 10 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 2 2018
newness. He is the king of hype. As we sat in the brewery on a summer afternoon, his eyes kept checking on customers and at least once, he paused in his commentary to ask if a customer walking by was doing alright. Hendricks once considered a career as a lawyer and also as an iron worker. The freedom to build his own business and the lexibility to fail without answering to a boss was too much to ignore for Hendricks, however. His main job title has always been co-founder of Rhombus. Winjum says Hendricks is great with details and iguring out the answers to problems. His eyes, during our talk, drifted toward the small things good restaurateurs notice. As we spoke at either the rooftop or in the brewery, he swiped single crumbs off of tables or attempted to clean a surface that was already shining. In the early days of Rhombus, neither proprietor had kids. A typical day at their smoothie stand, café in Thief River, house of pizza in Mentor, Minnesota, or restaurant in Grand Forks, involved a 16-hour day that ended after midnight, at which time, a few hours of downtime, light partying or more, typically happened. The next day, it was just about getting up and repeating. “For the irst few years everything happened so fast,” Hendricks says. “During the irst few years in Grand Forks, things were moving so quickly it was hard to slow down or plan ahead.” They played foosball, experimented with pizza and food and nutured existing relationships or grew new ones. Hendricks met his wife at the foosball table in Grand Forks.
THE PARTICULARS OF PIZZA Ar ron H e n dr ick s can tal k pizza-sh op all day l o ng. H e ’s be e n to s pe ci al ty classe s on pizza a nd picke d th e brain o f pi zza ch e fs eve r ywh e re. Here are s ome words of pizza wisdom. More isn’t more. Young or inexperienced chefs often believe more toppings will make a better pizza. As Hendricks explains, no one that orders a multi-topping pizza wants a single bite of all one ingredient.
(Winjum met his wife at the Thief River location). Because they always chose to buy their store locations, money was tight early on. Hendricks remembers a trip to Kmart for black Velcro shoes. With money still tight and a friend’s wedding to buy clothes for, it was all he could afford. Winjum recounts sitting with Hendricks and trying to calculate how much they were making per hour. By his estimates, sometimes they made $.35 cents per hour and at others, $.50 cents per hr. “Everyone told us this all would be
risky,” Hendricks says, “but I wouldn’t have changed anything we did in those early years. You can’t be afraid to fail.” In 2018, both say the main clothes they wear on a daily basis—whether they are at work or not—still have a Rhombus logo on them. Their passion for solving problems and growing hasn’t changed, but other things have. “A day now is nothing like it used to be,” Winjum says. Now they work normal (er) hours. Winjum has a one-year old, Hendricks has three children. With multiple locations spread throughout
Easy in the middle. To build a better pizza, refrain from loading the middle of the pie with toppings. When the slice is pulled from the whole, the overloaded area will ﬂail, and the toppings will get lost. Thickness determines slicing. If you want to slice your pieces a particular way, crust thickness can help, or hinder, the success of the cuts in relation to overall taste. Pizza is cyclical. Although Rhombus still relies on staple toppings, most gourmet shops are always changing ingredients. Even national brands are trying their hand at gourmet. Trends show that is the current trend in pizza. GrandLifestyleMagazine.com
SHOP EAT && DRINK STYLE // //
RHOMBUS GUYS ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP Stay flexible with your strategies, and everything else. Try to be organic and trust your instincts. The Rhombus way is to own the building, not lease it, even if cashflow comes quicker through leasing. Work to stay relevant. Failure will happen, so don’t fear it.
Fargo, Grand Forks and Mentor, the duo meets up less frequently. When they do, conversations partially include serving strategies, pricing, accounting and staf ing. As restaurant and brewery owners, they still exude an air of coolness when they are in their settings. They joke with employees as they walk by or ask them how their night was. They still cook, tend bar, clean tables and bottle beer when needed. When they talk about their past, they laugh at how different times were and show no remorse about failed ventures. The pair takes great pride in their ability to bring new ideas to the region and ex12
GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
ecute them well. Rhombus was the irst— and still is—restaurant with a roof top in the city. They toured more than 15 similar sites in other cities to learn how to pull it off. They also taught themselves how roof infrastructure and building codes work. They are well versed with banking terms and how to navigate the inancing process. After a decade of operating in a space they demo'ed then rebuilt with their own skillset, they recently renovated their pizza space with a new bar, painted brick walls and seating and performed a general slimming down of the décor. The feel of the place, they both agree, is a bit different
but in a good way. The type of way that could be duplicated elsewhere. With the brewery in the historic opera house, they were the irst to bring the craft brewery wave splashing into the region. Winjum remembers pushing local bars to have a fresh beer tap with at least ten taps. They thought he was crazy, he says. Now, most bars would think ten taps is far too few. “What we are always trying to do is stay in front of trends. It is on our minds constantly. We are looking for the new,” Winjum says. They ind inspiration from traveling or attending major restaurant trade
shows from Vegas to New York City. The pressure of family life has made its natural creep into their day-to-day, but as for their vision of the future, it seems as if they are still running a smoothie stand with no fear of sweltering heat, bugs swarming in the trailer or customers that don’t come. The brewery has no doubt reshaped their outlook. When they started the brewery, it did force them to relive the challenges of starting a new venture that they hadn’t experienced since the early days of Rhombus. At one point, wanting to get the brewery menu executed so perfectly, Hendricks recalls a night when he broke down on his couch to his wife after a hard day of mishaps in the kitchen. Those tough times related to starting a new venture in Grand Forks, have given way to success though. Hendricks' main focus now is on the brewery and his success in building that part of the Rhombus brand gives him a new motivation. “This year we’ve seen great growth,” he says. Although he isn’t in charge of the brewing process, he’s found a new passion in the process and helps however he can. “I enjoy the labor of it all and talking about the process.” The power of the new motivates them and keeps their spirit as fresh as it was in the early days, Winjum says. “People ask us to open a new location in a new city about every GrandLifestyleMagazine.com
EAT & DRINK //
LESSONS IN PEOPLE Hendricks People want to do well. If we treat them well and train them well they stay motivated and perform well. Winjum Everybody is dealing with something and you probably donâ€™t know what it is. We have to remember that. Winjum Focus on quality and service.
week,â€? he says. That comment affects each of them in multiple ways. They both know the attention and focus required to maintain the Rhombus legacy at its current scope is a lot of work, and, times are different now. Growing is not easy, even for Hendricks and Winjum. They have mortgages, kids and know what the daily grind is like after 18 years of being the boss. When they talk about their Rhombus empire, they admit it is not always a dream job free of stress. But there is also something else to it all. Despite the long-hours and long-list of responsibilities that come with owning and operating a memorable set of locations, the longtime friends seem to be in a transitional, yet familiar, stage. When asked what their best Rhombus moments entailed, they each got animated, sat-up and looked past me like they were reliving something magical in a place they wanted to go ind again. Winjum remembered the nights, one in particular in fact, when the major dinner rush was kicking their butts, and everything was hectic in the type of way you hope for as a restaurant owner. Eventually the rush slowed and almost every14 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
one went home. The loor was wet after a cleaning and they sat down at a table with a cold beer. As they sat together in that moment, Winjum says, they both knew--without saying it--that what they had just done was worth doing forever. â€œItâ€™s hard to imagine ever having a beer that would taste that good,â€? he says of that late-night-dinner-rush-celebrationdrink he shared with Hendricks, laughing in disbelief as he says it. When I asked them what the future holds, they were just inished detailing the dif iculties of operating, managing and owning a business. Times have changed they said. But, when thoughts of the future crept into their brains, there was a clear change in their posture and demeanor. They each sat a little differently in their chairs and you could see a physical pep re ill their bodies. They each started to smile and looked around as if they were staring at everything, and, it was almost as if they were about to talk about drinking a beer after a late-night rush or about some other magical moment that they knew would happen in the future of Rhombus. G GrandLifestyleMagazine.com
SHOP & STYLE // Photos by Russ Hons Photography
GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
The Independent Nancy Marchell and her daugher Andrea Eklund travel the world to meet diamond cutters and custom jewelry makers. They are certiďŹ ed diamond ambassadors, independent jewelry sellers and adept at all things bling.
SHOP & STYLE //
As a mother-daughter duo operating an independent jewelry store in Grand Forks, North Dakota, trips to Antwerp, Belgium, are becoming common. Nancy Marchell, owner of
Signature Jewelers, and now her daughter Andrea Eklund, a former English teacher from Grand Forks, are getting used to seeing the billboards that greet guests when they enter Antwerp, known as the diamond capital of the world. They especially like the billboards that greet them. The slogan on the signs is only three words: “We speak diamonds.” The pair has traveled the country and the world to meet with diamond cutters and custom jewelry makers. Since Marchell’s early days operating her store as a single mother, Eklund has always shown an interest for the products in her mom’s store. Starting this summer, Eklund’s addition to the Signature staff will ensure Marchell’s lifelong passion will become a second-generation operation. As purveyors of highend style that at times can come with a high-end price tag, the duo is con ident it has found the right strategy to compete locally against national entities for generations to come.
The Independent’s Advantage Travel is the number-one myth Marchell hopes her team can dispel. “People think they need to travel to major metros to ind high-end or custom jewelry,” Marchell says. “I can have a million dollar diamond in our store in a day.” Like most regional entities competing against national brands, the Signature team believes it can succeed with an attention to customer connection. “We get to help people celebrate some of the greatest moments in their lives,” Eklund says. “Because of that, we take what we do seriously.”
GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
To make their mark and develop long-term trust in what they hope can be a generational It’s always better to try on jewelry customer base, Marchell and before buying. Skin tone impacts Eklund have visited nursing the look of each piece. This fall, homes to help resize rings, deEklund expects rose gold to remain livered custom pieces to clients popular (along with a general unable to travel due to illness or comeback of all gold-based traveled to Vegas to participate products). Elaborate hoops and in engagement surprises. Bestatement hoops are set to shine fore Christmas, Signature holds panic parties for the last minute in the earring side. (male) shoppers. And, the team also invites women shoppers to partake in wish-list nights that allow the participants to enjoy wine, massages and ill-out a wish list of items they wish they could have if their signi icant others make it into the store. “Finding a connection and forming a relationship is what it is all about,” Marchell says. “I have clients whom I’ve never met in person, but through our conversations about what they’ve needed, we were able to establish a lifelong client.” With the addition of Eklund to the team, Marchell now knows the store will continue to offer new products that can only be found in south Grand Forks. Eklund’s style is noticeably different than her mother’s. While Eklund prefers dainty pieces, her mother prefers showy pieces. Both value the time they’ve spent together and look forward to the future trips planned to meet jewelry makers in Belguim and Paris. Marchell can look at any piece of jewelry in the store and rattle off the details of where it came from, who made it and why it ended up in North Dakota. Eklund, who loves to see people fall in love with jewelry—a process that can be recognized when a client holds a piece in their hand and says nothing, instead staring
Creaঞng The Best Case Eklund’s favorite task at the store is to build custom display cases. At the store, the front-and-center case shows the newest and coolest designer pieces that no one else has. To build a unique ue case of jewelry, Eklund recommends following llowing these three steps for displaying style.
Make sure the placement of each piece doesn’t get lost by anot ther piece another
U Uঞlize layers aand levels of pieces
Have themes for the overall aestheঞc GrandLifestyleMagazine.com
SHOP & STYLE //
'...loves to see people fall in love with jewelry—a process that can be recognized when a client holds a piece in their hand and says nothing...' Andrea Eklund
at the piece for a prolonged, almost awkward moment of time—says there is pressure to live up to her mom’s eye for jewelry. That doesn’t mean she isn’t ready to help continue the success of the family business. This fall she is headed to Antwerp with her boss to the city of diamonds where she’ll meet cutters and craft-piece makers and others who speak about jewelry in a way that she knows will keep her inspired back in Grand Forks—just as her mom has done many times before—where she can help create those moments with clients when they ask to see a piece from the case, to hold it in their hands, to hear a story of how it was made or how it can be customized, and then to watch as the clients stare in silence as they fall in love. G
20 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
Customized Process A big part of Signature’s services includes making custom jewelry pieces from scratch or utilizing existing stones for revamped pieces. The process starts with a sketch or photo than moves into a computer-generated image followed by a wax mold. Off-site custom jewelry makers from near and far help Signature creates a piece and have it to the client in two to three weeks.
OUTDOORS // Photos by Megan Sugden Photography
THE SKY-VU DRIVE IN:
A Red River Valley Icon of American Pop Culture Movie theater rekindles old memories, creates new ones
22 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
On a warm July day, wild ires in Canada triggered a smoke advisory for northwest Minnesota, creating a foggy shroud under overcast skies. By the time Steve No-
vak inished mowing the grass that evening at the Sky-Vu Drive-In movie theater just west of Warren, Minnesota, the clouds began to break up, the sun started to shine and a cooler breeze from the northwest prevailed, helping clear much of the smoke. Would lower temperatures and clear skies attract more moviegoers to the Friday-night screening of “Hotel Transylvania 3?” “Your guess is as good as mine,” replies the irrepressibly cheerful Novak, who operates the business. “On a night like this, 30 cars, I’ll be happy; 50 cars, I’ll be ecstatic. And anything more than that, I can’t tell you,” he laughs. Novak’s phone rings. The caller from Fargo wants to know what movie’s playing tonight. Novak launches into full-sales mode, telling about the movie, the beauty of the setting, the delicious food and snacks available at the concession stand and how much fun everyone has at the drive-in. He does his best to convince the potential customer that watching a movie under the stars at the Sky-Vu Drive-In is well worth the 200-mile round-trip from Fargo. “They can make a family vacation out of it,” Novak says after hanging up. “A lot of people got this on their bucket list. Once I can get them here, they do come back—that’s the key. A lot of times, when people come here, they don’t think it’s that big of a deal, but it is a big deal.” It’s a big deal because since the irst drivein theater opened in the U.S. in 1933, their numbers have steadily fallen from a peak of around 4,100 in 1958. According to the statista.com website, there are currently fewer than 350 drive-ins remaining in America. Novak says the
Sky-Vu—one of a handful of drive-ins open in Minnesota—is the only such theater between Minneapolis and Winnipeg, which recently lost its only drive-in. A Smithsonian Institution article on the history of drive-ins says there are currently about 100 drive-ins in other countries—mostly Australia and Canada—but they’re also gaining popularity in China. “The drive-in became an American phenomenon when people became more mobile with cars,” says Wheeler Winston Dixon, professor of ilm studies and English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. “There were drive-ins around the world and—once upon a time—in Europe.” One aspect of drive-ins that attracted young people during the 60s and 70s was the opportunity to get away from their parents. “Drive-ins were known as passion pits because teenagers would go there to neck when they wanted to get out from under mom and pop,” Dixon says. “The drive-in was a great place to get out of the house, to go and have some time alone.” A ilmmaker himself, Dixon has written and co-authored more than 30 books on ilm, including his best-selling work, “A Short History of Film,” used as a required textbook for ilm studies classes worldwide. He says a combination of factors led to the declining numbers of U.S. drive-in theaters, a trend he believes won’t be reversed because the land upon which many drive-ins are located is being turned into of ices, apartments and big-box stores. “The biggest factor that led to the demise of drive-ins is that it’s much easier to stay at home and just pop something in the microwave,” Dixon elaborates. “It’s kind of sad. Of course, it doesn’t give you the same immersive experience that you got in a drive-in because ilms were not designed to be shown on lat screens—that’s television. They’re meant to be shown on enormous, 100-foot-long screens in CinemaScope.” However, Dixon also believes that drive-in theaters will never completely disappear. “There will be a niche for them,” he says. “There will be a few and they will be kept up by people who love cinema. There won’t be many because they’re just not economically feasible anymore. It has to be a labor of love.” The Sky-Vu Drive-In near Warren originally opened in 1953 when drive-in theaters were approaching their zenith. Novak’s father, Leonard, who lives with his wife in a house adjacent to the Sky-Vu, bought the theater with his brother in 1973 after working a second job there as a projectionist. “We’d run triple features out here and all these kids did was drink and party,” Leonard remembers. “Now it’s totally different. You don’t get that. You run a triple feature and they don’t stay for the third show. The party boys, they were the ones who stayed until 3 or 4 in the morning. You don’t have those anymore.” Today, Steve says it’s unusual when either he or his employees have to pick up trash after a movie. That’s mostly because SkyVu has returned the experience to its roots, a time when drive-ins were considered entertainment for the entire family. Leonard recalls when many area drive-ins in North Dakota
and Minnesota began shutting down between 1985 and 1995, mostly due to the advent of movies on VHS tape and DVDs. “Back in those days, if I hadn’t lived right next door, I think I would have shut it down, too,” he says. While Steve and Leonard sometimes disagree on details of the Sky-Vu’s history, they both remember the movie that signaled a turnaround in the theater’s fortunes. It was the release of “Twister” in 1996 starring Helen Hunt and the late Bill Paxton as star-crossed storm chasers. It brought the moviegoers back, which Steve inds somewhat ironic. “We’ve had two or three tornadoes go through here and take the screen down,” he chuckles. It was around this time that Steve began to get involved in operating the Sky-Vu, even as he ran four restaurants in the area. In 2008, he took over managing the theater and now also runs Beaver’s Cafe across the Red River in Minto, North Dakota. He’s put his own stamp on marketing the venue and promotes a family atmosphere centered on fun and quirky attractions. For example, customers are encouraged to write their names on the concession stand, the theater marquee and other outbuildings. There’s a tiny building called the penalty box. As Steve explains it, if someone brings a guest to the Sky-Vu and the guest doesn’t have a good time, the guest’s host must sit in the penalty box. “I love people; I really do,” Steve says. “I love seeing their expressions and how much fun they’re having here. Seeing these kids and adults writing on the walls, it’s a great feeling.” Normally, the price to attend a movie is $8 per adult and $6 per child, but an entire carload can get in for a dollar if they pay with a silver eagle piece or Morgan silver dollar. Steve has added pizza made at his restaurant and soft pretzels to the concession stand’s fare, which also includes popcorn, barbecues, hot dogs, candy, soft drinks and slushes. “The irst impression I want to give when people walk into
this place is that if I can’t get them to laugh and smile and have a good time, then I’m not doing my job,” Steve says. “They just love that irst impression or last impression and the good food—that’s what it’s all about at the drive-in.” Although the Sky-Vu looks as if it hasn’t changed since the 70s, part of its recent success is not only due to a nostalgia for drive-ins, but also because of updated technology. Steve uses a Sky-Vu website and social media to help attract clientele and keep them up-to-date on movie schedules and events. The business’s Facebook page has 14,000 followers. He also updated to a digital projection system, brought in rural water and recently purchased a new popcorn machine. GrandLifestyleMagazine.com
Moviegoers no longer need to hang a speaker inside their car window to hear the audio, a practice Leonard remembers causing at least one broken car window a night when drivers tried to leave without irst removing the speaker. Now they can either tune into an FM station and listen through their vehicle’s audio system or listen to the theater’s outdoor speakers. The Novaks, however, have no plans to change what makes their drive-in the Sky-Vu. “A person could add on here and make it really fancy, but then would you lose your nostalgia and lose your clientele?” Steve asks. “You just never know. You want people to look at it as a drive-in. You want it to be recognizable.” Part of the success is the Sky-Vu’s focus on family-friendly entertainment. That drew Brittany and Ryan Horn, who brought their daughter Ellie to see the Friday-night showing of “Hotel Transylvania 3.” Ryan hadn’t been to the theater in more than 20 years. Brittany, who grew up in Grand Forks, had never been to a drive-in. “It’s been on our bucket list to do every summer,” she says.
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The Horns joined other families who backed their pickups and SUVs into parking spots in front of the big screen to watch the movie from the comfort of their own chairs, using blankets and pillows to stay comfortable on a cooler-than-average night. The setting sun and smoky haze created golden rays through the passing clouds, which culminated in a brilliant red-orange sunset through purple-hued clouds. Moviegoers scrambled to capture the unfolding scene on their cell phones. “I remember hearing of this drive-in, but I never went,” Brittany Horn says. “Even now, this is just beautiful,” she remarks, gesturing with a sweep of her hand across the darkening starilled sky. “We’ve been taking pictures since we got here tonight. It’s just like he (Steve Novak) said: you need to write on the wall, you have to have fun and you need to make memories. I just feel like this is memories,” she relates. The Sky-Vu opens when the snow is gone, which can be as early as mid-April. It closes after the irst snow lies, which is sometimes late October. When school begins and families are far less likely to attend a drive-in movie, the theater shows movies that appeal more to the 18- to 35-year-old demographic. As long as the Novaks are in charge, the Sky-Vu will be a labor of love, providing Red River Valley residents with a unique opportunity to experience a slowly disappearing slice of American pop culture. G
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HOME & DESIGN // Photos by Russ Hons Photography
Marc and Chelsie Kuhn, the husbandand-wife general contracting duo turned his childhood residence into a dream home worthy of forever
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On the morning his childhood home was set to go up for auction, Mark Kuhn put a call into his banker. The call was short. He
was driving to the auction site and he didn’t have time to elaborate. His message was simple: he was going to make an offer on a house. A week prior, he and his wife didn’t know the house was heading into auction. They had never planned to acquire the house. As a husband and wife custom-homebuilding and general-contractingteam, they were thinking about projects under construction in Grand Forks and rural Thompson, meeting client demands and staf ing up for another construction season, not about the former Sears Craftsman home Kuhn had lived in during his childhood and how it might make a perfect dream home someday. By the time of the auction, time had taken its toll on the house and his mom’s ability to maintain living in the residence. Most bidders were planning to demo and start over. At the auction site, there were others there set to bid. Kuhn made the irst bid. $85,000. The other bidders there, knowing Kuhn, held off from bidding, he says. With the irst and only bid, he won. Two years after that day, Kuhn and his wife have turned his childhood home into the type of dream residence that most couples never consider possible until they are ready to invest in forever.
HOME & DESIGN //
“I hope our kids live here one day,” Chelsie says, “we built with forever in mind.” Using the know-how and staff from his general contracting business, Kuhn and crew spent a summer-plus working on demo and renovations. During that time, they became accustomed to interested neighbors and community members driving by, curious to see what progress was being made. As the walls came off, trim crumbled, musty dust illed the air and elements of the property that are still featured in its current form were exposed (shiplap was a great ind, Chelsie says). Knowing they wanted to preserve a large portion of the house and add on a great room to the side of the house, the couple spent countless nights working with their drafter 30 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 2 2018
HOME & DESIGN //
on plans for the property. The process was much different than their new builds, both say. Instead of laying out beams that would be exposed, they had to ind ways to hide beams and duct work. Existing sliding barn doors, shiplap and a few ixtures were preserved. Most everything else covering the walls is new. “We built a new house on an existing house,” Kuhn says. The couple focused on custom windows, adding massive windows throughout the house. In the kitchen, Chelsie stayed true to the farmhouse style, adding a farmhouse sink and décor to match. With forever in mind, they added two master bedrooms and impressive bathrooms to ensure guests (parents) would have a great place to stay. Their style was inspired by Chelsie’s love of old things, clean lines, an af inity for modern farmhouse designs and the functionality a mother of two young girls would want infused throughout the property. Several custom built-ins provide storage and style. To free him from the stress and long days working on the construction site, Kuhn opted for outlet spaces with his second garage (paid for through Menard’s rebates) that include a golf simulator and car lift for the weekend’s toys. Although they aren’t sure if they’d ever take on a similar project, both agree the bid at the auction was worth it. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would live in this house,” Chelsie says. G
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Self-Made Home Experts Marc grew up on a skid steer working construction for his dad’s small crew. His ﬁrst job as boss for his one-man company—MAK Construction (his initials)—Marc poured a driveway for a friend. A few similar jobs, a lot of borrowed tools and several hours behind one of the oldest skid steers still running later, Kuhn was doing consistent business. With the support of Chelsie, a marketing major from the University of North Dakota that had an unexplored passion for home and design, the two turned a successful weekend at a home show into a 20-person business that is bidding and winning some major jobs in the area. They’ve built a business that was funded by backyard patio concrete work to one that now takes on major commercial build-outs, like the new gas station under construction in Thompson. If the regional market was better for it, they’d ﬂip houses. For now and the foreseeable future, they are just trying to manage their growth in construction and building on a legacy that was founded—and funded—with their own sweat equity.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS //
Now in year 8, the Wild Hog races’ event has morphed from a fun-weekend run to a serious economic infusion for the city. As the organizing team nears the ﬁnish line for the 2018 three-day spectacle, we found out what the races mean to them—and to us.
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Since 2011, a team of runners, restaurant owners, musicians, private business sponsors and volunteers have given us a reason to line the streets along the river and strike cowbells or raise hand-made signs in an effort to inspire our friends or family members to keep going. For a three-day stretch in late September, the Grand Cities becomes a runnerâ€™s town. What started as a half-marathon designed to promote an active lifestyle and a handful of south-end businesses, has transformed into a Boston Marathon-qualifying 26.2-mile race that infuses the community with an economic impact that can be seen on the streets and in the businesses around town (racers like to celebrate post-run). We asked the organizersâ€” there are now more than 30 who work on the raceâ€”how the Wild Hog Marathon event has evolved, how the community has embraced the race and what most runners are thinking about as they cross the inish line.
HEALTH & WELLNESS //
PLAN YOUR RUN Thursday Race:
6:30PM Subaru of Grand Forks Hog Dog Jog Fun Run
Friday Races: 6:00PM Crary Real Estate Family Fun Run 6:30PM Alerus 5K
weekend RACING Race brings in FOR $200,000 to DOLLARS $250,000 per year to the city
RUNNING Over 55 percent of TO THE race participants REGION come from outside
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7:15AM Wild Hog Full Marathon & Full Marathon Relays 8:00AM Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relays & Subway Restaurants 10K
MAKING THE MILES MATTER The Wild Hog Marathon donates a major portion of its proceeds to at-risk or low-income youth. The funding helps support active lifestyles and provide running shoes and other equipment. (Last year, shoes purchased with this funding made it to the North Dakota State Track meet podium)
- The YMCA Partner of Youth fund received $10K from the 2017 event, for a lifetime total of $35K - The Grand Forks Parks & Rec Foundation received $10K from the 2017 event, for a lifetime total of $35K - The Grand Forks Public Schools Foundation for Education received $10K from the 2017 event for a lifetime total of $40K. This fund is called the Wild Hog Fund
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HEALTH & WELLNESS //
WHAT ARE (SOME OF) THE BENEFITS TO THE COMMUNITY FOR HOSTING THIS RACE IN THE GRAND CITIES?
This race is a great opportunity to feature the communities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Not only do we see economic impact from visitors coming to town for the race weekend, but we get to show off our beautiful cities, the greenway and that we’re a great place to visit even outside of race weekend! -STACY KUSLER, SPONSOR MANAGER/RACE ORGANIZER
The people of Grand Forks have a special opportunity to watch hundreds of people attempt to bring their goal or dream to fruition. Witnessing a person strive for something great, something bigger and better, is very powerful. -VALERIE BAUER, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
WHAT IS THE BEST MOMENT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED WITH THIS RACE SINCE ITS INCEPTION?
In 2017, I had the opportunity to be a pacer for the half marathon. Essentially, pacers run the race at a particular speed or pace and promise to inish in a speci ic time. Runners can follow a pacer if their goal is to complete the race in that time. I had a wonderful woman run with me nearly the entire way (she sped off towards the end to inish even faster than her goal), and it was absolutely amazing. I spent the race trying to dis-
tract her from the long mileage using stories and, well, singing Taylor Swift. I also took every opportunity I could to remind her what an amazing feat she was accomplishing and getting the crowds to cheer for her speci ically as we ran by. It was such a fantastic experience! I was honored to share a tiny part in her race. -VALERIE BAUER
WHAT IS IMPORTANT ABOUT THIS MARATHON?
I think the biggest thing I’d like people to know is that there really is something for everyone! You don’t have to be an experienced runner to be a part of the marathon weekend. We have a 5K and a 10K in addition to the half and full marathon. We also offer relays, a family fun run and a “hog dog jog” where you can bring your dog to run along with you. It’s really just a fun weekend to get out, be active and have some fun. -JASON ROLLAND, MARKETING TEAM LEAD
The Wild Hog races bring a diverse group of people together each year. From those on the planning committee to the racers to the spectators. In an era where divisiveness and snark is on the rise, it is wonderful to see so many people come together to share time, energy and support for one another. -VALERIE BAUER
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF OR THE COMMUNITY AFTER BECOMING A PART OF THE RACE?
Just go and stand at any of the races’ inish lines and see people come across it and I dare you not to tear up a bit at their effort and sense of accomplishment. It’s amazing to watch. -DEB DUNHAM, RELAY AND RACE ZONE CAPTAINS COMMITTEE
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ART & CULTURE // Photos by Manstrom Photography
The North Dakota Museum of Artâ€™s mission
PHOTO: MANSTROMS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Connection to make art accessible and memorable
ART & CULTURE //
When the main exhibit space at the North Dakota Museum of Art is transitioning to a new display set-up, Laurel Reuter doesn’t close the area under construction. That is not normal of most art centers, she says.
The more you spend time with Reuter or walk amongst the many intricate and ever-evolving spaces of the museum, the more you realize she isn’t a normal art curator. Reuter, NDMOA’s director for more than 30 years, wants to ensure that if someone has traveled across town, or across the country to experience her building, they won’t miss out on the chance to see, touch or experience an element from one of her unique collections—even if it means walking around freshly painted walls or dusty construction materials. Reuter is committed to connecting the multitude of installations, displays and artists she has curated to us. (Each year, NDMOA features ten to ifteen different exhibits). She’s built an entire career and life around her quest to ind and bring us memorable art, the kind that illuminates different times in history or Article continued on page 46 //
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THE ART OF DISPLAYING ART It’s called visual language. The art has to very clearly speak to the onlooker, according to Reuter. The NDMOA team goes through multiple iterations of a display—from the frame colors to the alignment on the wall to the location in the hall—before they get it right. Key to team NDMOA’s ability to create the perfect display is a volunteer. According to Reuter, a retired farmer helps the team during the build-out of a display. “He is amazing,” she says, because he has been around sight lines and small details his whole life. That is the key, she says, “he can see all of the details that matter.”
ART & CULTURE //
Article continued from page 44 //
the nuances of a culture. Reuter is a literature major turned art expert. Growing up on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation, she was fearful of the outside world, inding comfort in it only once she challenged herself to travel the world alone. Now, she’s earned accolades for her work—most of which has been guided by her travels. On the northern plains, she has learned the keys to creating a positive, well-attended exhibit. “We’ve found you can’t share art about art,” she says. “We need pieces that speak in visual terms, that say something clearly.” If a visitor, donor or enthusiast wants to talk through a technical- or art-speci ic-lens, Reuter and her team are more than quali ied and happy to do so. But, when it comes time to instruct visiting artists on how they should discuss their work during presentations, Reuter is strict. “We ask them to avoid art speak and just use plain language. People here are very intelligent.” For every exhibit, Reuter deploys the same strategy. “We have to give people a way in to the art. They have to have a reason to connect,” she says. If the team can pinpoint the angle for connecArticle continued on page 48 //
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BARTON BENES’ MAGICAL PLACE To build the near-exact recreation of famed art collector Barton Lidice Benes’ New York City apartment, the NDMOA team spent more than a week in his New York City space taking photos, cataloging and diagraming where everything from the giant giraffe to his African bug collection was located. After that, they spent time carefully packaging and then hauling the random art pieces into a moving truck that was driven back to North Dakota. Early on, the team knew one thing: they needed a bigger truck. At the request of the famed art collector, the team brought his collection to the museum for display. Despite a few minor inconsistencies due to space limitations, the NDMOA team has recreated his apartment as it always was, even including the television with, Law & Order, playing on a continuous loop. The recreated apartment is on exhibit now, and highlights the NDMOA’s team inﬂuence on artists. Benes’ once ran an exhibit in Grand Forks and the time was so memorable, he gifted his collection to North Dakota upon his death.
ART & CULTURE //
Article continued from page 46 //
tion that will entice them to a showing or exhibit, the museum’s design will take care of the rest. “This space makes mediocre art look good and great art look amazing,” she says, adding that the design and layout of the space somehow makes the human body feel comfortable. A former University of North Dakota gymnasium (Reuter’s of ice was once the men’s locker room), the NDMOA was redesigned by a New Mexico-based architect that in his prime was considered one of the best designers in the country. With her fulltime staff of eight and several volunteers, the team operates two main exhibit spaces, four off-site storage facilities, a café known for its ine-dining-esque menu, an artist-in-residence house in rural North Dakota and a music in the garden series. Although Reuter travels the world in search of the next best exhibit, she prides herself on staying in-tune with the greater North Dakota community scene. With museum attendance dropping across the country, Reuter must ind ways to engage and attract more visitors. To do that, she believes social events, collaborations and a willingness to let others use the NDMOA space is crucial to helping form the connection between the art on the walls and the potential onlookers outside. When she isn’t studying the textiles of a region to learn more Article continued on page 50 //
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MUSIC IN THE GARDEN Outside the NDMOA, a sculpture garden is displayed where the sunsetting tones of a North Dakota summer night hit at the perfect angle, making for the most picturesque backdrop a band could ever hope for. Each summer, the team collects donor funds to bring-in established acts from Nashville, California and everywhere in between, to play a concert in the garden series. The chefs from the cafĂŠ serve unique concert food, kids attend for free and as long as concert goers stay within an established boundary, they can enjoy a glass of wine or refreshing beer while listening to musicians that typically only play larger venues. According to Reuter, the musicians that play in the garden consider it their favorite gig of the year. The setting of cottonwood leaves swaying overhead, a crowd of music lovers and kids sprawled out on the grass and sitting or dancing near lawn chairs, along with the ambience of a North Dakota night makes for a memorable session.
ART & CULTURE //
REACH OUTSIDE THE WALLS Article continued from page 48 //
From late spring through early fall, the NDMOA operates and maintains a farmhouse in rural North Dakota near the small (only one stop-sign small) community of McCanna. The house is a place where artists focusing on painting, visuals or writing can go to create. The house allows NDMOA to bring in visiting artists at a pioneering location. In the 1920s, upon realizing where she would be living, the original owner and donor of the house asked her husband to build her a French country home. The artist-in-residence dwelling, now owned and operated by NDMOA, gives those there to paint or write a unique space with three bathrooms and a maid’s quarters, all in the middle of North Dakota’s vast prairie ag ﬁelds. If the house isn’t inspiring enough, the grounds also feature a useable barn.
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about that region’s art, she is most likely illing out a grant form or conversing with potential donors about the merits and value of the NDMOA. For the past thirty years, the facility and its team has thrived, even if Reuter sometimes wonders how they have survived. Part of the museum’s success stems from the view international artists take on North Dakota. Most artists from outside the region describe this place as exotic and exquisite (artists on the coast, she says, think this place is at the end of the world). The NDMOA may not have the funds or clout to draw the biggest U.S. names in art, but Reuter’s sagacious ability to visualize and predict how art moves people has helped the facility land major international artists before or during their prime. On most days, she feels cluttered with paintings, displays, photos and books of art. She is either thinking about the team’s storage offerings—all of which are at capacity—or a new exhibit that is under construction. The security of the museum always feels tenuous, she says, sitting and elaborating from her desk about the future of the museum before she smiles and says with pride and a clear tone that seems to illustrate exactly how she feels about the Museum’s long-term role, presence and possibilities in the region, “But we’ve never missed a payroll.” G
ART & CULTURE // Photos by Russ Hons Photography
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CAPTURING THE ACTION Russ Hons learned to take photos working as a private detective. Five years ago, he started taking sports photos to bring his attention-
starved mind into focus. Today, Hons’ commercial photoshoot schedule on any given week might include a University of North Dakota Men’s Hockey, a National Hockey League playoff game, a trip to Medora to capture wild horses or a night spent laying on his back in a dirt ield north of town after midnight to capture the northern lights. His hectic schedule and diversity of photo shootsettings helps make him a better photographer, he says, and for a person that is always curious and looking to see the details of life, it is how he prefers to operate. “I can’t imagine doing things any other way,” he says. Hons portfolio of work will leave you wanting more,
or at least the chance to sit down with him and ask him what it was like to be in attendance at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, spending the day with former UND standout hockey player and current NHLer T.J. Oshie and the Stanley Cup, or watching a massive buffalo bull roll in the dirt in the badlands only 100 yards away. (Through his detective agency, he still captures crime scene images). Like most in his line of work, he loves the attention his photos get and the smiles they create for people. His approach is to rely on very little editing. “My photos feel raw. I try to get it right in the camera,” he says. “I’m going for a natural look without a lot of manipulation.” Because his style doesn’t require major time for editing, Hons seems perfect for the culture of now. For
ART & CULTURE //
FROM THE SIDELINES For a veteran sports photographer, there is nothing like the adrenaline rush created during a major sporting event. On site behind the glass or on the hardwood, Hons tries to capture the small details that people don’t see in live action but want to spend more time on through his stills. Going through the process of media credentials, setting up before a game and mingling with other photags is exciting to Hons. Most others there are great to work with, he says, “but there is always one guy that steps out in front of everybody else and ruins the shot.” At major events, he may be positioned amongst 100 other photographers. His most memorable moments have come during UND national title events. But, for all he has accomplished and seen, he is the ﬁrst to clarify that he isn’t—and doesn’t want to be—just a sports photographer.
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hockey events, he takes photos and has them ready in between periods. For GRAND, Hons pulled off two photoshoots in a single morning and had all the shots print-ready that evening. “I know how to change the settings of my equipment on the ly for the setting I’m in,” he says. Despite his success and love of sports photography, Hons has succeeded in nature work, commercial set-ups and nearly everything else. His national client list is growing as his portfolio grows. A student of the craft, he has traveled to sports photography academies, constantly studies the work of other photographers he admires, and, in his downtime, experiments with unique shots. “Figuring out where to shoot from and the right setting to do it in is exciting and fascinating,” he says. “I’m constantly learning what makes a great photo and I’m always chasing the next opportunity.” G
register online today: gfmarathon.com
Saturday, Sept. 29th
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OUTDOORS // Photos by Manstrom Photography
Living As A Racecar Family
56 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
The life of a racecar driver requires sacriﬁces most of us will never experience. The Pederson family has a trophy wall to recognize their commitment and achievements in racing. Through long nights in the shop, ﬁnish-line victories and dirt-track mishaps in towns hours away from here, their adventures in racing help reveal why they are always getting ready for the next race.
Joey Pederson is a racecar driver married to Julie, a former racecar driver, whom he met at a race track. Kelsi, their 16-year old daughter, is a rising star racecar driver. Their son Tucker, 13, is doing what his dad, Joey, was doing when he was 14, racing cars. The Pederson’s are a racing family. They travel to races every Friday night of the season—which these days is early spring through late fall. On Saturday mornings after the races, they wake up early and hit the road with their race cars for the Saturday night circuit in another town. If something happens to one of their cars on Friday night (they each race a different style of car) they go back to their shop in East Grand Forks and get to work ixing the issue, ignoring sleep and chores and everything else around them that isn’t going to help them leave in the morning with a raceable car.
“On an average week, especially now with three cars, there is no question I’m spending 25 hours working on or driving race cars,” Joey says. According to Joey, and the hundreds of fans who take in the River City Speedway’s weekly races throughout the summer, the region is all about racing. “It never gets old. The excitement and adrenaline that you feel before a race starts. Whether you are behind the wheel or in the stands, you are laser-focused from one moment to the next,” he says. “The truth is, like any sport, everybody is coming to win. Nobody is pulling over for you.”
Everybody Wants To Drive Joey started racing at 14, after a few years trying snowGrandLifestyleMagazine.com
'In the racing community, once you decide to show up, most people will support you and do whatever they can to make sure you come back the next week.' JULIE PEDERSON
58 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
mobiles and riding four wheelers. His dad raced near Hallock, Minnesota. Julie, when she was still racing, was a ierce competitor, Joey says. “Many races we were battling. One time at Devils Lake I beat her for a win. She says I rubbed her out with a couple laps to go. I don’t remember it that way, but I still go with her version of the story.” When Kelsi was 7 and Tucker 5, they started showing interest in anything with an engine. At that time, they were introduced to go-karts. Originally, they thought Tucker would be into racing after showing an interest. The night the entire family went to look at a pair of gokarts for sale, Tucker got cold feet. Only seconds after Tucker stepped away from the machine in front of him, Kelsi stepped in. “Dad, I’ll do it,” she said. They left that night with one go-kart. A week later, Tucker had changed his mind and Joey went back and purchased the second unit. The two spent many Wednesday evenings racing at the speedway in Grand Forks after that. Joey has carved out an impressive career as a racer,
THE SECRET TO RACING The Pederson’s title wall proves their abilities. Each share the same thought on racing: patience is critical. Consistency in picking your line on the track and controlling the car so that it ends up in the same place on the track lap after lap is crucial. You have to be patient to do that. Staying humble is good because a lot of people go to the track with unrealistic expectations of placing ﬁrst. And, the truth of it, they all say, is that in racing, it is difficult to win.
illing an entire wall with trophies and name recognition throughout the country. Kelsi and Tucker are living up to the Pederson name. Earlier this summer, Kelsi and her father became the irst father-and-daughter duo to ever win their divisional races on the same night. Tucker consistently inishes in the top ive (at age 14).
The Cost Of Racing “There is a lot we have given up over the years. We are rarely at the lake and we rarely go on family vacations. The majority of what we do and the time we spend is at the track,” Joey says. Like all racing, the sponsors advertised on the outside of the cars help pay for expenses throughout the season. Racing at the regional level doesn’t yield the type of pay-outs that can even cover the costs associated with a weekend of racing, Pederson says. A new street stock car with good equipment costs more than $25,000. The same price tag would be placed on a new lightning sprint car. A late model with good, new equipment would run more than $80,000. The Pedersons don’t own any spare cars, they perform their own maintenance and operate with a small crew— one or two crew members—all season long. “Often times the sponsors determine how long a person is in racing. The payouts don’t pay for the expenses. Good support from sponsorship and advertising dollars has the potential to get you close to breaking even or minimizing your losses for the year,” he says. The Pedersons have more than 20 sponsors between all three cars. For those looking to become the next Pederson, the costs of racing may seem intimidating. Pederson would beg to differ. “It is a huge misconception that it is hard to get into racing. When our family started, we were irst timers. In the racing community, once you decide to show up, most people will support you and do whatever they can to make sure you come back the next week.” The Pedersons all realize they are making sacri ices as a family of racers. Joey knows he is too competitive at times and takes losses harder than
THE KEYS TO A GOOD CAR Finding and buying the right equipment Staying up on maintenance Winning the race in the shop Fine-tuning tire pressure and suspension give
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HOW TO RACE ON DIRT Dirt track racing isn’t about smashing the throttle and turning left. When the track is wet, everyone has traction and speeds are fast (85 mph-plus). When the dust starts to rise, traction leaves. Racing dirt is all about traction. “You want to ﬁnd the moisture and where the track is darker. Sometimes it is real high and sometimes it is real low,” Pederson says.
he should. Kelsi knows there is pressure on her to represent well as one of the only female drivers in her sport, regardless of age. “The kids, the little girls especially, all lock to her. They look up to her. She has to remember that and act accordingly,” Julie says. “I want to win every race,” Kelsi says. “And, I want to tell any of those little girls that haven’t come up to me at a race that they shouldn’t be scared of racing or doing anything. People will tell you that you can’t in one way or another. You can’t believe that. We can do anything.” And Tucker, with a bright career ahead, is the young gun with a recognized last name. When he is in or around the cars, however, he looks and acts like he is a veteran ready to add to the title wall. Racing, working on cars, traveling to the track and throttling down while turning left are natural actions for each
of the Pedersons. “We make it work. It has been very rare in our history that we haven’t been able to make the next race,” Joey says. Even when race season is over and the dirt tracks are closed for the year, they are race car drivers on the same team. They are family and proud of what each has accomplished. The time spent cheering for each other, commiserating over loses, driving to obscure towns or shops for spare parts, talking to each other through the padding of a helmet or holding their father’s or daughter’s or brother’s arm as they exit a car after a dusty race in some town far away from here, is what they share. It is how they ind their version of nirvana. All of that, the memories mostly, but also the wins, the losses, the tires and the tools, is what drives them to continue their status as a racing family. G
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62 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
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64 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
GROWER Dawn Rognerud is growing her commercial gardening operation right along with the ever-expanding Town Square Farmer’s Market. We spent a morning with her in her favorite place as she prepared for the Saturday market.
Dawn Rognerud is at ease with a million things going on. Witness her working in her 1.5-acre
vegetable garden and its clear she isn’t lying. Rognerud is one of several produce and product providers that wake early on most Fridays to pick vegetables, or on Saturdays, to make it in time to operate a booth at the Town Square Farmer’s Market. If you’ve been to the market, you know that produce is popular. The market features several growers that provide a range of products including vegetables, fruits, eggs, salsa, honey, coffee beans and a wide-range of crafts. We spent a calm and cool sunny Friday morning with Rognerud to see her in her element as a grower and vendor for one of Grand Forks mustattend summer attractions. At 7 am when we show up to her operation north of East Grand Forks, Rognerud is already on her smaller section, hands dirty with a bit of sweat on her brow just starting to gleam. Adjacent to a massive golden wheat ield, Rognerud Farms was established after the farmer decided to square off his ield, leaving a pocket for the garden to grow. On their second section—she runs the operation with her husband who was working the morning of our visit—she convinced
ROGNERUD FARMS BASICS TO GROWING Once produce comes in, pick every day to promote continued growth Know what plants need for room and when they need food to fill that room When the plants start to do their thing, you don’t need to do much
the owner of the land they are renting from to disc the dirt for the heart of their growing operation. Rognerud weeded, dug, picked and piled product that morning while she explained her operation. “My parents always had a garden on the farm their parents homesteaded near Cavalier,” she says. “We knew our garden here was going to be bigger than we could handle, so we decided to sell at the farmer’s market.” After starting a smaller operation a year previous on land provided by the Stable Days Youth Ranch, the Rognerud’s have found their home base on the 1.5 acre plot they are on now. They live in a house between the garden plots. In February, they start growing from their own seed with the help of grow lights. In early spring, they risk
66 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
losing their plants to a late frost for the reward of having more plants of different varieties sooner than most at the market. Watering occurs during the early part of the growing season, especially during the time of germination. After that, Rognerud farms relies on mother nature to supply the necessary moisture. During most of the growing season, a portion of the Rognerud family is in the garden two to three hours per day. “If we get behind on weeding or planting, we get stressed,” she says. “But, we always get everything picked before it spoils, even if we are out in the garden past 11 pm.” Her kids help her pick and weed. On Saturdays at the market, they are each given $10 to spend during the day. “They love being out in the garden,” she says. At the market, the family takes turns walking to other vendors and talking shop. Since they started participating in the event, they’ve never felt tension or competition with other growers. According to Rognerud, there is an unspo-
EAT & DRINK //
WHEN THEY AREN’T GROWING Dawn takes care of the children, works as a baker at O’ For Heavens Cakes, is going to school for graphic design and entrepreneurship, helps promote and run events near Cavalier and picks a lot of weeds. Charlie works at Steffes Corp., is getting an education in industrial construction and intends to add animals when they move to a bigger farm location.
PLANT PERSPECTIVES Rognerud’s favorite plant to grow is watermelon. It is fun to watch through the summer and there are tricks and tips on
ken bond and understanding amongst all of the growers. They keep their prices in check with others and many buy produce or trade with others. “We’ve met so many people. All of us just want to raise something and share it with other people,” she says. In the midst of another great growing season, the Rognerud’s have also joined a produce cooperative that provides product to paying participants. In the future, the family wants to expand with a greenhouse and geothermal heat. They want to establish an apple orchard and better irrigation. If they have a million things to pick this summer, they want two million next summer. The demand is there to justify what she calls an inherited passion she just couldn’t do without. “Typically, during the week, we don’t eat as many vegetables as you would think. We try and save everything for the market and when we come home, there is never anything left.” G
when to pick it. (The melon has to sound hollow and the stem has to be dry). Her least favorite plant is a pea or bean plant. They are the most difficult to pick, stay ahead of and each plant grows a massive amount of product. Her least favorite weed is creeping Charlie, or, thistle if they are gone from the garden too long. The bestselling plant is peas. “There is not a vendor at the market that can bring enough peas.” The neighbor, a metal worker, traded a brand-new hockey goal and net for some cucumbers.
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68 GRAND LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE // ISSUE 3 2018
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