The first Buffalo Days in Jamestown featured events, sales

A rodeo was held as well.

JSSP Keith Norman Column Sig

The first Buffalo Days Rodeo was held in October of 1965 here in Jamestown. Whether it was a success or failure depended on whom you asked.

High winds and sporadic rain hampered the outdoor events like the parade although the rodeo was indoors at the Hippodrome in McElroy Park.

The Hippodrome was an impressive 120 feet by 200 feet and had been constructed in the 1930s. The building utilized lumber salvaged from the old flour mill, which had been located at the base of Mill Hill, for the beams.

Despite being indoors and out of the weather, the rodeo only attracted about 2,000 spectators over its three-performance run. Chamber of Commerce officials reported the event lost about $4,500.

Adjusted for inflation, that would be $43,000 today.


Still, the first Buffalo Days Rodeo did generate some enthusiasm in the community.

The parade was reportedly well attended and lasted about a half hour, according to newspaper reports.

An entry from the Teen Canteen won the prize among the service clubs for a float that depicted “Today’s church, tomorrow’s leaders.”

Not sure if that won them a cash prize or not.

Community stores and restaurants offered some Buffalo Days sales with the Wagon Wheel Drive In offering a bag of five hamburgers for $1. You could add a pint of coleslaw as a side dish for just 35 cents.

There were other things going on in the community as well.

The Jamestown College, now known as the University of Jamestown, football team traveled to Ellendale to play the North Dakota Normal and Industrial School Dusties.

And on the national sports scene, the Minnesota Twins had a commanding lead in the American League standings as they headed for the World Series against the Dodgers.


Chamber of Commerce officials recapped the event about a week after the dust of the rodeo had cleared. Given it had lost money, I’m sure many people asked whether it would be held again in 1966.

The reply from the Chamber was, “Yes, but we’ll do it better.”

Author Keith Norman can be reached at

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