Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award
An honorary rank of Colonel in the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders was established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial. The award recognizes present or former North Dakotans who have been influenced by this state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens.
Recipients of the award are chosen by the Governor, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, and the Director of the State Historical Society.
As of January 2015, 41 North Dakotans have received the award. Their portraits are on display in the lower level of the Capitol building, including the latest recipient, Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle.
Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. As a young man, he spent several years in the North Dakota Badlands. Roosevelt said if it had not been for his experiences in North Dakota, he never would have been President of the United States.
Roosevelt vigorously championed the conservation of America's scenic, natural and historical resources. In recognition of his valuable contributions toward conservation, Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in 1947 in the North Dakota Badlands that Roosevelt loved.