Why not Minot?
Journalist picks Minot to satisfy lengthy quest to get to ND
After 16 failed New Year’s resolutions to visit North Dakota, Derek Samson is finally set to cross that item off his bucket list next weekend.
Samson, a sports journalist whose work has taken him across the country, had visited 49 states by 2000. Although it’s been quite a hiatus since then, he plans to check off his 50th state when he arrives in Minot Friday to take in Norsk Høstfest. He also plans to travel to Rugby, the geographical center of North America, for Geographical Center Days, which takes place Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s been a long time being talked about and joked about,” Samson said. He made a New Year’s resolution in 2001 to visit North Dakota. It didn’t happen. He kept making the resolution. It still never happened, creating a running joke among his friends, who would taunt him by taking a picture of themselves by a North Dakota sign when passing through the state. His North Dakota quest became an item on social media the past few years, providing him a platform to seek suggestions on what to see in the state when he finally goes.
A number of people, including some he didn’t know, posted all sorts of suggestions.
“The more people said, the more I wanted it to be something just off the wall and random because I have a habit of getting myself into those types of situations,” Samson said.
He recalled one escapade in which he impersonated a Detroit Tigers pitcher as a practical joke during an outing with folks he encountered in Maine.
Another of his more famous adventures entailed a tweet to a North Carolina brewery, asking that it name a brew after him. Samson had been a fan of Natty Greene Brewery Co.’s drinks and made the jesting request after moving to a state where the company’s products weren’t available.
The brewery suggested he generate support for the idea, tweeting back, “Get it started.” Samson, who has worked for national media outlets and is the personable type who makes friends quickly wherever he goes, had tweets coming to the brewery fast and furious, an estimated 1,000 within the first day of the campaign.
The result was the 2013 creation of “Samson Brew” and a party with a band and 300 people to unveil it. Samson said the original Daisy Duke even messaged him about it, and various media outlets produced dozens of articles.
Samson said he wants to do something as memorable during his visit to North Dakota. He had planned to call on White Cloud, the famous albino buffalo in Jamestown, only to have White Cloud move to Michigan last year. Then he learned about Geo Days in Rugby, and in planning the trip via Minot, he discovered Høstfest.
He figures he will still have time before he leaves Monday to soak up the flavor of the area so wants to find more things to do.
“I am just looking for any suggestions as far as the can’t-miss places to eat or to go. The more off the wall it is, the better,” he said. “I love traveling and I love meeting people and I just love doing unique things.”
People can send their suggestions to Derek Samson on Facebook or via Twitter@dssamson.
A native of Nebraska, Samson claims Charlotte, North Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, as well as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as his current homes. He works for Yahoo Sports and has worked for the Kansas City Star, USA TODAY, Sporting News Magazine and other media outlets in the past 20 years since graduating from the University of Nebraska.
Samson said his main goal next weekend is to meet and hang out with true North Dakotans. Whatever his experiences are, he expects to be blogging, posting and thoroughly documenting the fulfillment of his North Dakota Quest 2017.