Dakota Thunder is buffalo’s nameOne of the most iconic landmarks in Jamestown has a new name. The World’s Largest Buffalo will be officially named Dakota Thunder in a ceremony later this summer.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
One of the most iconic landmarks in Jamestown has a new name. The World’s Largest Buffalo will be officially named Dakota Thunder in a ceremony later this summer.
The name was chosen by residents after it was submitted for a contest by Michael Shirek of Mandan, N.D.
There were 3,565 entries submitted and the name Dakota Thunder was entered 33 times.
Shirek entered the name 1 minute after the contest started at 8 a.m. on March 1. For his winning entry he will receive $1,000.
“I got to work, types it in and three months later here I am,” Shirek said.
To be fair, Shirek said he was commuting to work in Jamestown from Mandan so he did have some time to think of a name on the 90-minute drive after hearing about the contest on the radio.
“To come out on top was a little surprising,” he said. “I haven’t gotten my head around what exactly that means but I figure I’ve beaten some pretty long odds.”
On May 15, five ballot boxes were placed at different locations around Jamestown, one for each of the top five names selected by a panel of judges from submitted entries.
Residents could then vote by placing $1 in the box of the name they liked the most.
Dakota Thunder received 244 votes, Sir James received 140, Dakotah Spirit received 92, Beauford received 91 and Benny received 33. The $610 raised will go to improvements around the statue.
“I’ve been lobbying for people to vote and I didn’t know if they were voting for me or not,” Shirek said.
What set Shirek’s entry apart is the fact he was first to submit, and also his rationale for choosing the name, said Nine Sneider, executive director of the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation.
Shirek wrote, “I chose Dakota Thunder because I feel the name Dakota evokes the spirit of the land and people of the Northern Great Plains and the name Thunder conjures the sound and feel of a herd of bison loose and unfenced on the plains.”
He said he will use his prize money for his honeymoon when he marries Kara Geiger of Mandan in November.
The name will become official at a ceremony starting at 2:30 p.m. July 24 at the buffalo statue.
“In a way, it’s making history,” Sneider said. “The World’s Largest Buffalo has been up there for 50 years and is kind of an icon.”
The ceremony will include a Wild West shoot out performance, children’s games with a buffalo theme and an actual buffalo chip throwing contest.
CSi will be shooting video during the ceremony and it will be submitted it to “Good Morning America” for a segment called “Three Little Words,” Sneider said.
“We’d love to have a huge crowd under the buffalo for the filming,” she said.
The World’s Largest Buffalo has gained some national attention recently after Reader’s Digest named it a reader’s choice for third best roadside attraction in the U.S.
“It really is a great roadside attraction,” Shirek said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com