North Dakota is known for the ranch of former President and Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt, the northern Badlands or Teddy Roosevelt National Park, and something called a Pitchfork Steak Fondue. Local families and tourists flock to the summertime event in Medora, a small town on the western side of the state.
Events begin around 6 p.m. in a pavilion on a hill overlooking the town. The view is spectacular with nearly 360 degrees of open sky and light dancing on canyon formations. Musicians from the famed Medora Musical serenade attendees with foot stompin’ tunes.
Cowboy cooks spear steaks on pitchforks and thrust them into vats of hot oil. Don’t get too close, but it’s quite an operation to watch.
You may feel as if you are in prison when given a partitioned metal tray, but trust me, the food is delicious. Select your sides from the buffet: baked beans, baked potatoes, salad options, coleslaw, Texas toast and fresh fruit – then let the cowboys slap a perfectly done medium-rare steak on your tray. Wine and beer are available for an extra fee.
Kids tend to eat quickly and are attracted to the hillside, which simply begs for a roll. Photographers eagerly await sunset at the panoramic site overlooking Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Eventually, dessert is served. Brownies and cake earn high marks and rank as crowd pleasers.
Most folks hang around until the Medora Musical begins in the nearby amphitheater. The wait is a bit long as the show, featuring western music and dancing, doesn’t start until 8:30. However, stomachs are full and just sittin’ and soaking in the scenery feels rather nice.