Overseth, Wendt honored as marshals

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By Sara Bertsch-

The Mobridge Rodeo Association are honoring two long-time members for their dedication and commitment to the city’s annual celebration by naming Harley Overseth as Grand Marshal and the late Rich Wendt as Memorial Grand Marshal.

Overseth was born and raised in Mobridge and has always loved the town and the community.

Saying that Harley is involved in the community would be an understatement, because he is deeply involved and committed. In his many years in Mobridge, he has been a part of numerous active, community groups.

“Somebody once asked me if there’s anything I’m not involved in,” Overseth said. “Once you live in a small town, you eventually do it all.”

He’s been on the business side of things since 1974 but joined more community-involved organizations in 1984 with the Mobridge Jaycees. Overseth described this as leadership training. He has served on city council and was active with the Mobridge Chamber of Commerce.

He has also been a member of Rotary International since 1995 and is currently the president of the Mobridge Rotary Club. Overseth is a Mason and a Shriner.

Overseth became a licensed real estate agent in 1981 and joined Key Real Estate in 1994.

He joined the MRA in the 1980s but didn’t become active until 1994. He manned the ticket booths for many years until he became president in 2001.

In addition to ticket sales, he also helped with concessions. Due to his background in the restaurant business, Overseth became very hands on.

Though Overseth never participated in rodeos, he always helped out “back stage.” When he was younger, he liked to help sell programs at the rodeo. His favorite part, however, was going with his dad behind the chutes.

To be named the Grand Marshal of this year’s rodeo really surprised Overseth, but it’s a good surprise. He is also very proud to be recognized alongside the Wendt family.

“Its quite an honor, especially to share it with the Wendt family. Rich was one of my mentors,” Overseth said.

Overseth is very proud to be the Grand Marshal this year. To him it’s an honor that he never would have expected to receive, but a surprise that he welcomes.

“To me it’s a big deal,” he said.

The 69th Annual Sitting Bull Stampede Memorial Grand Marshal is Rich Wendt, a longtime MRA member who died suddenly in August of 2013.

He was born in Timber Lake where he lived on a ranch with his family. When he was 5 yearsold they moved to Mobridge and he graduated from Mobridge High School in 1963. Although Rich never competed(6-foot-7-inch height kept him from competing in rodeo) he treasured the sport.

Two years after he graduated he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in 1968.

After attending Northern State College and working with Montana Dakota Utilities for 27 years, Rich finally achieved his life long dream of ranching in 1989. Rich moved his family of three children and wife Peggy to the ranch near Glenham.

Peggy finds that the honor given to Rich gives her a lot of mixed emotions.

“Our feelings are both with honor and great sadness. It would be a very happy and fun time if he could be riding his horse and enjoying the honor,” she said.

Rich is being honored for one main reason: his love and passion for the rodeo and his community. He was a member of the Mobridge Rodeo Association beginning in 1986 and served as president from 1999 to 2001.

He joined the association because his friend and fellow MRA member Jim Peterson encouraged him to. Rich excelled in his time with the group as he served as vice president as well as president.

While Rich loved rodeo and everything about it, his love of horses and ranching was greater.

Peggy believes Rich would be extremely pleased but also would want to thank all of his friends and fellow members of the MRA.

“He would be proud but know that he would say ‘Being President of the rodeo doesn’t make a rodeo.  It takes team work!’” she said.

 

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