The return of the nearly impossible North Dakota Trivia Game (Prize Alert!)

Remember this little gem here that I found among old Halloween costumes, yearbooks and spiders in my basement last January?  Remember how we passed the time together in the depths of winter searching for the answers to the world’s most impossible trivia game? Remember how we laughed at the ridiculously detailed and in depth questions I chose to present to you after digging through about thirty thousand stacks of cards?

Remember the fun we had making wild guesses? Remember the prize winners? There were two!

Don’t you just love prizes?

I do.

I love them.

And I love presenting a good challenge. A challenge that is fun and quirky, a challenge that is voluntary. A challenge very much unlike the challenges that have been placed before me this week.

Because this week was a bad one. A doozy. One of those stretches that slaps you in the face a few times to remind you that, oh no no no no, you don’t have control of this life sister. Not much control at all.

One of those weeks where the weather matches the tears that fall from your puffy eyes and you don’t bother changing out of the sweatshirt that you’ve been wearing since Tuesday and husband’s homemade chicken noodle soup is on order…and even that doesn’t take the edge off much.

I know we’ve all had days like these. I know you all have. And I could elaborate and go into detail here, but the truth is I know each and every one of you is struggling in your own way, every day. So whether your pain is locked up tight in your broken heart or flinging off a mountaintop, I would like to do my part to distract you from it and offer you a little prayer of peace. Because this place we have created here on the world wide web is a good one, an honest one, a solid place for an escape, a contemplation, a laugh and a glimpse into one another’s similar or not so similar lives.

And I’m all done crying for today. I want to laugh!

So what have I decided to do? Bring us all together in the name of  ridiculous trivia….and bring on the prizes!

So this afternoon while I sat at the kitchen table and continued to listen to my most recent addition to the animal population meow consistently and persistently outside my kitchen window…

you're driving me ccaaarrrraaaazzzzaaayyy!!!

I thumbed through the stack of 30,000 trivia questions to find you, dear readers, the most challenging, the most ridiculous, the most incredibly ponderous questions that may or may not have anything to do with our great state of North Dakota.

Nothing could be more distracting, more mind bending, more educationally, academically, recreationally daring and exciting than trying another round of “The Game that Makes Learning about North Dakota Fun!”

Because there’s a lot to learn.

Six diplomas worth in fact.

Diplomas that can be earned in the following categories:

  • Geography (GEO)
  • People (PLE)
  • Government (GOV)
  • Flora and Fauna (F&F)
  • Transportation and Communication (T&C)
  • Industry and Agriculture (I&A)
But I am only going to give out one.
One big one.
One big congratulations squeeze for anyone out there with the skills and knowledge and perseverance to correctly answer the following questions I have hand-picked for you while munching on a turkey sandwich.

Be the first to get every question correct, answering in the comments below, and you win a prize. 
(If we can’t get every question right, then the person with the most correct answers by the deadline of Saturday afternoon wins! )

The prize? Your choice of the following 5×7 metallic matted prints found on my Veeder Ranch Photography and Gifts Etsy site:

1) Wild Daisies in the Rain

2) Dew Covered Pink Bluebells

3) Snow Cactus

Yeah, I am aware the photos are all rain soaked and snow soaked…but hey, momma said there’d be days like this didn’t she?

Ok, put on your thinking caps and lock that knowledge in tight. Here we go:

  • GEO: How much wider is North Dakota’s southern border than its Norther border?
  • PLE: Who was the first native born governor of North Dakota?
  • GOV: How large did claim shacks have to be to qualify for homestead rights?
  • F&F: In what year was the North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame Started?
  • T&C: When did cars become legal on North Dakota Roads?
  • I&A: What happened to the “belle” who stated publicly that she didn’t believe there was a North Dakota?

Now onward party people!

Good luck, happy Googling and have fun chatting up your old high school history teacher!

And remember, someone in North Dakota loves you very much…and that someone happens to have all the answers…

Well, at least the answers to the trivia game, not life in general…I’m still working on that one.

Melty Monday Trivia Question (prize alert!)

We were foiled again by the big sky this weekend. After days of blue and sunshine that was working miracles on turning things green and purple and yellow and other glorious spring colors, in its predictably unpredictable bipolar attitude it freaked out and poured down snow and freezing rain, covering us in ice and white and shutting the lights off in the little ranch house for hours.

I was pretty pissed, I’m not gonna lie. For a few minutes.

Until I realized that it was a perfect excuse to leave  the laundry for another day.

And the dishes, and the vacuuming and the yard work and the emails and all things productive in general.

Ok. Ok. I took one more snow day in stride.

And read a book.

And cried and got all depressed because my favorite books are the sad kind.


But that’s it. That’s all.

Cause I want more of this…

and a little less of this…

I love a good adventure, but a girl has her limits. And snow heavy enough to snap tree branches on the last day of April is pushing that limit.

Anyway, the thing about spring snow is that it is gone before you even get the chance to use all of your favorite curse words. So when I was on my way out the door yesterday, the green grass looked like it was making its way to the surface again.


Because today I am hitting the road on behalf of the North Dakota Humanities Council to learn about a community that was home to the first North Dakota Farm and I will be interviewing two women who are working the land for a living.

I can’t wait to hear the stories.

And can’t wait to see if anyone can guess what town in North Dakota I will be visiting this morning based on the hint above. 

First correct answer (for those not related to me who know my schedule) wins a matted 8×10 metallic print of this photo sent directly to the comfort of your home. 

I think it’s appropriate given the feisty attitude of the season.

Because nothing fixes a Melty Monday like a prize.

Love ya!

Trivia Winners and North Dakota Lovers

Another week is rolling in and it’s bringing March with it.

And around here March usually brings with her a little more sunshine to get us excited about the whole spring thing…and then it slams us with just one or two more big snowstorms.That’s why I never have put much faith in the whole Groundhog thing, because depending on the year we’re not out of the snowy woods until June.

It’s a good thing I have concocted such entertaining and utterly impossibly challenging contests to torture you all with to help pass the last leg of winter-style weather.

Anyway, thank you to all who participated and researched the heck out of the seemingly impassable quiz I presented to you. Those six little questions gave you all a run for your money and I’m convinced that those six little questions were indeed written by the devil himself.

So taking the whole devil thing into consideration I regret to inform the masses who took a try at the tricky questions that no one single person came up with all six answers, but your combined efforts did get us there.

But don’t worry friends, there will still be prizes! Yes there will. Because this was impossible and two people got impossibly close (and it seems, may have had all the right answers one way or another, depending on who you ask.) But we’re asking the game here…

The answers (according to the game):

1. GEO Question: What organization in North Dakota has 415 volunteer units?
Answer: Fire Department

2. PLE Question: What happened to the North Dakota Norwegians who decided to march on Washington to protest Norwegian jokes? (Note: My favorite question out of all 5 million)
Answer: They were last heard of a few miles from Seattle (From: North Dakota, A Bicentennial History, Wilkins and Wilkins 1977–* thanks for citing where you got the answer devil game, but like you could make stuff like this up…)

3. GVO Question: When were fishing seasons first established in North Dakota?
Answer: Pre-statehood, 1883

4. F&F Question: What are the three fossil fuels found in North Dakota?
Answer: Coal, oil and natural gas

5. T&C Question: What is a “Cow Catcher?”
Answer: The front low bumper-like part of an old train

6. I&A  Question: In what year was ranching introduced into the western part of North Dakota?
Answer: 1878

Here I am going to admit that questions 3 and 6 were troublesome, even for me, who had the answers. It seems I can’t remember a date to save my life, but am confident enough to say a date is correct if you are “close enough.” Anyway, that resulted in me confusing the winners listed below by telling them they only had one answer wrong, when they actually had two.

If you knew me and my relationship with math this might make more sense. If you also knew about my eagerness to please and how irrationally excited I get about prizes and awards and making people happy, you would also understand how someone like me could jump the gun.

I would never win this game.

That being said I now vow to never ask questions that need to be answered in the form of a date or a number again.


Either way, congratulations Melanie and Samantha for taking this challenge and running with it. You have tied for the prize which means you are both winners!

Can I get a “woot, woot” and a happy dance from ya now?

I have listed the winners’ answers below to show you all how much effort they put in to cracking this challenge and to illustrate that in this game it seems there might be more than one correct answer, depending on the source.

And isn’t that how it goes in small town North Dakota? News travels from neighbor to neighbor, each with their own version of the truth…

Melanie’s Answers
1. ND Public Health Emergency Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps
2. Last we heard they were half way to Seattle…
3. 1896
4. Oil, Natural Gas, Coal
5. a device attached to the front of a train
6. 1878

Sam’s Answers (painstakingly thought out, researched and referenced…she must be a graduate student)
1. North Dakota Volunteer Fire Departments (theorized through multiple sources providing various hints that all added up to one (hopefully) lucky guess)

2. “When last heard from, they were more than halfway to Seattle.” (as reported in The Youngstown Vindicator, November 26, 1981). Retrieved from:,3756080&dq=north+dakota+norwegians+march+on+washington&hl=en.

3. May 16, 1952 (as reported in The Billings County Pioneer, May 29, 1952) Retrieved from:,796096&dq=north+dakota+fishing+season&hl=en.

4. Coal, crude oil, and natural gas. Retrieved from:

5. A cow catcher is typically a shallow, V-shaped wedge, designed to deflect objects from the track at a fairly high speed without disrupting the smooth movement of the train. The shape of the cow catcher serves to lift any object on the track and push it to the side, out of the way of the locomotive behind it. The first cow catcher models were constructed of a series of metal bars on a frame, but sheet metal and cast steel models became more popular, as they work more smoothly. Retrieved from:

6. In the spring of 1884 by William D. and George T. Reynolds. Retrieved from:

*Melanie and Sam will be receiving an 8×10 framed print of one of my photographs. If you have fallen in love with any of my photographs and would like to display them in your home or give them as gifts, all of my photos featured on this site are for sale. Just send me an email at and we can talk sizes and prices.

Thanks for playing everyone. And here is where I make my promise for more fun and games and prizes in the future!

I know you’re as excited as I am.

Also, while I have you here and thinking about North Dakota, I would like to thank Jeremy Bold and the folks at The Blank Rectangle for the beautiful work they are doing to promote, think about and engage with our great state. Jeremy and his crew are planning a hike across North Dakota this summer and are using their creative energy to think about what makes their home-state unique and what ties its people so firmly to their roots.

In addition, Jeremy is a poet and is using my photos as inspiration for a weekly “Nodaiku” feature (North Dakota haiku…get it?) on his blog.

Check out Jeremy’s Nodaiku project here and then browse around the site to learn more about the project.

Because to know where you came from, to love it and to trust it, grounds you solid in your roots and gives you the confidence to fly.

And so I am glad to have found others who believe the same thing, whether or not we can correctly answer any impossible trivia questions it…

Become North Dakota’s Valedictorian (P.S. there’s a prize involved)

So you know the basement? The one at the bottom of the steps under this little house where I occasionally venture to load dirty laundry into the washing machine and then forget that I actually need to go back down there to put them in the dryer? Yeah.

Well, in addition to the place where all our socks mysteriously become mis-matched, it is also home to some odd little things that have been left behind by previous relatives who have either lived between these walls, or, when it was empty, convieniently used the scary basement for a nice warm place to store things they couldn’t possibly bear to be without.

Like old records, college portfolios, embarrassing love letters, photos from eighth grade, three malfunctioning vacuums, thingsthat weren’t supposed to break but did, a few thousands spiders and this little gem right here:

Yup. And I am the lucky one who found it in my quest for party games last weekend. Little did I know that this existed under my very roof. Imagine all of the knowledge? Imagine all the fun my house guests and I could have bragging about our “Flickertail” state and screaming out our state bird and flower and song!

So I decided to bring it up from the deep, dark sock graveyard to expose it to the light of day and my guests patiently waiting for something a little less nerdy and a little more like Catch Phrase.

But how could you go wrong? It’s the game that makes learning about North Dakota fun! FUN! It says so right on the box.

So I trudged up the steps and presented my new found treasure to my guests, waiting with wine filled glasses and anticipation.

“Look what I found!” I declared in my best super-excited-and-you-should-be-too voice.


“Yyyaaaayyyaaaa ggguuuuyssss. This is gonna be so much fffuuunnnaaa!”

I unloaded the contents of a game that I soon discovered was probably invented shortly after North Dakota was declared an official state.

You know, just a few years ago, in 1889. It’s in pretty good shape considering…

Anyway, as you can see there is a board, those little pawn things, pictures, about three million trivia cards and… wait for it…wait for it…diplomas! Yes that was plural. Not a diploma. Five. You can earn five in five different categories.




So exciting!

This game has everything!


Except the directions.

Not that I would have read them.

I have no idea how to play this game.


And if my guests had an inkling, they weren’t giving it up.

But that didn’t stop me. We could still test our knowledge of the state we all know and love. We could tally the answers. We could wrack our brains. We could high five and shoot little guns formed out of our hands and then blow the imaginary smoke off the tip. We could finally justify taking that North Dakota History class in college. I…I mean we could be victorious.

Yes, all my board gaming dreams could come true if only the inventors of this deceivingly enticing game didn’t delight in the misfortunate miseducation of others while dancing with one foot in the devil’s living room,  laughing and rubbing their long goatees.

And it turns out making people feel stupid about a place they have lived and loved most of their lives does not a good party make.

No one was dancing on the tables about getting questions like “What modern contrivance of the white man did Sitting Bull accept and wear?” wrong. Or because they had never heard the word contrivance before. That will just bum a person right out.

Anyway here’s what I’m going to do for you on this Friday morning, because I am so depressed about the whole thing. I need to know there is someone out there who has the capability to conquer this game, or at least the skill to Google the shit out of it.

So I have hand picked one question from each of the following six categories:

  • Geography (GEO)
  • People (PLE)
  • Government (GOV)
  • Flora and Fauna (F&F)
  • Transportation and Communication (T&C)
  • Industry and Agriculture (I&A)


Be the first to get every question correct, answering in the comments below, and you win a prize.

The prize? An 8 x 10 framed metallic print of one of the following photos–your choice.





Yeah, my prizes are customizable.

And I might just send you the diplomas as well.

Yay Fridays!

Yay smart people!

Yay hope for humanity!

Yay North Dakota!

Here we go party people–setting the weekend off right.


  • GEO What organization in North Dakota has 415 volunteer units?
  • PLE What happend to the North Dakota Norwegians who decided to march on Washington to protest Norwegian jokes? (Note: My favorite question out of all 5 million)
  • GVO When were fishing seasons first established in North Dakota?
  • F&F What are the three fossil fuels found in North Dakota?
  • T&C What is a “Cow Catcher?”
  • I&A In what year was ranching introduced into the western part of North Dakota?

Go get ’em friends and be the first to be crowned “North Dakota’s Valedictorian.” Now that’s a title to brag about at parties.

I’ll be waiting here with all the answers…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and Google Valedictorian.

And contrivance.

Happy Trivia.