Football: A Change of Seasons in North Dakota
The onset of November brings us to football crunch time in North Dakota. NCAA Football Championship Subdvision title-holder North Dakota State will join others universities in the state on playoff pushes. The best high schjool programs are battling toward the Dakorta Bowl. Here is a list of some of the top football venues in the state, in no particular order. And if you can't score tickets to the big game (not usually an issue), you can always take part in pregame tailgating, then join friends at the nearby watering hole to cheer on your favorite team.
Whitney Stadium had a charm. The Hank (Dickinson’s Henry Biesiot Activity Center, now named after former Dickinson State Coach Hank Biesiot) is just a great place for high school and college football. From the seating to the press box, it’s well done with easy access in and out and throughout during games. The Blue Hawks are southwest North Dakota’s team and fans flock from the small towns to games. It gets the nod because it’s outdoors, and the people create a family atmosphere. It's also home to Dickinson High School and Dickinson Trinity.
A seven-time national champion can make even the big barn a fun place to watch the game. True, you need field glasses in the upper reaches to get a close view, but have you ever been to a large stadium where you don’t? The exploits of Carson Wentz, Easton Stick and even famous University of North Dakota rival JJim Kleinsasser (of Carrington) were crystal clear, even from the cheap seats.
Bismarck Community Bowl
Another nice outdoor facility, this one on the bluffs above the Missouri River. Counting the grassy knoll that surrounds the field, there is seating for many tens of thousands should Alabama and LSU ever play there (joke). Because of its size, you don’t have to sit next to anyone you don’t want to, which is important given it also is home to three high schools. And the view is great.
A cozy indoor facility called home by the University of North Dakota football team. Great sightlines, a successful team and a strong fan base make this a nice venue in which to watch the Fighting Hawks play. And you never need sunscreen or a coat. Perfect.
Duane Carlson Stadium
Panoramic views here are great, even if they include the setting sun in your eyes for part of the game. Minot always has competitive teams so the game is usually good and it’s fun looking out at the lights over the Souris River valley after the sun goes down.
Friday Night’s Lights
If you’re traveling around outside the larger cities on a Friday night and see the bright lights, just pull in. Chances are Linton or Harvey or Velva or Watford City or (fill in the blanks) is playing and that’s where you’ll find locals and visitors alike gathered around the field.