Best of Show - Ice on the Rocks

2022 North Dakota Governors Photo Contest Winners

In October Gov. Doug Burgum along with North Dakota Commerce Tourism and Marketing Director Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota Council on the Arts Executive Director Kim Konikow and Director of North Dakota AAA Gene LaDoucer presented the winning submissions from the 19th annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest at the Morton Mandan Public Library. 

Launched in 2004, the Governor’s Photo Contest encourages North Dakota amateur photographers to submit photos that capture the unique things to see and do in North Dakota. 

Photographers submitted photos to one or more of the following categories: Recreation, Road Trips, Badlands Scenery, Beyond the Badlands Scenery and Wildlife. Winning submissions will be published in North Dakota Tourism’s promotional materials.  

This year the contest had a total of 471 entries from 79 photographers, with a limit of 10 entries per photographer. Since 2004, the annual contest has received more than 17,600 photos.   

Prints of the winning images will be on display through the end of 2022 at the Morton Mandan Public Library and the Mandan Progress Organization’s office and will be viewable during the Mandan Holiday Lights on Main event.  

AAA has been a proud sponsor of the Governor’s Photo contest for the past 14 years providing prizes and exposure for winning photographers. 

Festivals and Events


Oakes Parade - Downtown Oakes
Jacob Just from Bismarck 

Downtown Oakes is alive with a summer parade. The image hints at nostalgia with modern-day touches. It’s no wonder we can see such variety in the generations shown. 


Long Live Cowgirls - Ransom County Fair Parade - Lisbon
Angie Waletzko from Lisbon 

Bright smiles catch the eye in this fun parade image of rodeo princesses serving as the color guard. 



On the Edge - Lake Sakakawea
Joleyn Larson from Mandan 

The swirl of the clouds, the angles of the rocks and even the walking stick she holds draw a viewer’s eyes to the hiker and then to the endless horizon. The muted tones play off each other, increasing vibrancy. 

Sunset Rider - Hazen
Savannah Joy from Hazen 

Riding out into the great wide open is the perfect end to a long day. The high contrast makes the shape of the rider very clear and leaves us wondering what marvelous view is seen.

Family Ice Fishing Fun
Laura Gardner from Washburn 

One line is set and a family wastes no time heading to the next task in their Sakakawea ice fishing adventure. The day must be absolutely beautiful, from the sweatshirts they wear.


Date Night - Sweet Briar Lake
Joleyn Larson from Mandan 

A couple takes full advantage of a gorgeous summer day, kayaking on the calm waters of Sweet Briar Lake. The peaceful view of the endless horizon is the perfect setting for some time together.  

Road Trips


Cool Waters - North Country Scenic Trail
Mary Lizakowski from Minto 

The reward of this serene 2.2 mile hike is the view of North Dakota’s only natural waterfall. A woman rests with her dog, taking in the view, before heading back. You can almost hear the water cascading.


Living the Dream
Laura Gardner from Washburn 

Trees, calm waters, starry skies, and a hammock – what more is needed for a perfect summer camping trip? The touches of bright color draw in the viewer’s eye and circle us back to that peaceful hammock again and again.



Blooming Sunflowers at Sunset - Rural Cass County
Carmel Meier from Fargo 

Bright sunflowers in full bloom stretch to the textured sky, representing so many corners of our wonderful state. The colors complement each other perfectly.

Aurora Midnight Train - Hi Line Bridge in Valley City
Suanne Kallis from Carrington 

Greens and purples of the northern lights fill the night sky behind the Hi-Line trestle bridge in Valley City. The timing was perfect as a train sped through the long exposure adding an extra flare of color from the lights of the train.

Hiking to the Sheyenne River Valley - Near Kindred
Roxanne Westman from Mapleton 

The colors of fall fill this image and you can almost smell the crisp air while staring into the beauty of the landscape. 


Ice on the Rocks - Government Bay
Laura Gardner from Washburn 

The sun sets over the frozen waters of Government Bay. This winter shot is serene and beautiful, and the glow of the sun adds an inviting warmth to the striking landscape.  

Vibrant Communities


Under the Twilight Sky - Downtown Fargo
Dan Francis from Fargo 

Downtown Fargo comes alive in this winter scene at Broadway Square, leaving no doubt that the fun continues any time of year. 


The Great Race Ends in Fargo
Roxanne Westman from Mapleton 

The first time North Dakota was included, The Great Race wrapped up their 2022 event in downtown Fargo. The excitement of the community can be felt throughout the image.



I Have My Eye On You - Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Jeremy Witte from Dickinson 

An elusive big horn sheep strikes a stately pose in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 

Sunrise Pintails - McKenzie Slough Wildlife Management Area
Greg Kolden from Bismarck 

A pair of pintails is captured at the exact moment their wings complement each other and fill the image. The crisp lines of the wings showcase the skill of the photographer. 


Catch of the Day - Pembina County
Lisa Buchweitz from Langdon 

A blue heron grasps a fish that would make a lot of anglers jealous. The outspread wings of the bird fill the image and we can’t even imagine how much time the photographer spent observing before being able to capture this fantastic image. 

Under 18 Honorable Mention

Peekaboo dear

Wildlife submission: Peekaboo
12-year-old Grey Ulrickson from Minot 

We can’t help but appreciate the humor of these nosey neighbors peeking over the fence. The image of deer peeking over the fence lends itself well to our wide-open spaces and quality of life. It just makes us want to drop in a “Find the Good Life” logo.  

Best in Show

Ice on the Rocks photo

Ice on the Rocks - Government Bay
Laura Gardner from Washburn

You can view last year’s winners here