Sanish Rodeo and More

Sanish is no more.  It disappeared beneath the waves when the Garrison Dam created Lake Sakakawea and we’ve spent some time collecting photos of old Sanish when it still existed.  These photos were sent in by Don Hammer, scans he got from a friend’s scrap book years ago. These are mostly in the 1950 to ’53 era.

Sanish, North Dakota
Sanish, North Dakota

More than any other event, Sanish was known for the Sanish rodeo.  Click the photo above until you see the full-size enlargement and take a look at the size of the crowd. Thousands of people came from all over the nation to watch and participate in the Sanish Rodeo.

Sanish, North Dakota
Sanish, North Dakota
Sanish, North Dakota

See all of our Sanish galleries here.

Sanish, North Dakota

Photos contributed by Don Hammer
Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media

4 thoughts on “Sanish Rodeo and More

  1. To Whom it may concern,

    My name is Val Holms. My grandfather is Anders Madson who owned the Birdhead Ranch from the Alexander area that also was mostly destroyed by the lake. The ranch buildings are designated a historical site by the State of North Dakota. I believe the ranch was declared the second largest ranch in North Dakota.

    All that being said the Chief of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation was a very good friend of my Grandfather. Some of the local ranchers were trying to lease the reservation for grazing their cattle in the summer months. One of the ranchers was Angus Kennedy. Anyway the BIA kept turning down the Chief so he came to my grandfather and asked him if he would go to Washington and lobby for them to hoping to succeed.

    To cut a long story short they were successful and the Chief was given permission to lease out their land to the local ranchers. Anyway at the very last Rodeo at Sanish during the halftime the Chief came forward to the center of the rodeo and the announcer along with the Chief called my grandfather forth to where they were.

    The Chief awarded my Grandfather a great honor. He made him the Honorary Chief of the Confederated Tribes of the Forth Berthold Indian Reservation. What an honor!

    The problem my family has is that the article has been lost over the years. We are gathering information to nominate my Grandfather Anders Madson to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and that is a major event in his life amongst many. The Birdhead Ranch was awarded the honor of being elected to the Hall of Fame ” Ranch Division ” several years ago.

    The family would be honored if anyone could provide any information on that major event from the chief. I believe that he was the only White man ever given that award. Thank you in advance for any information you may have access to to help us with this. My email address is and my cell phone is 406-459-2192


    Val M. Holms
    po box 1598
    Polson, Montana 59860


  2. My friend Ted Vine father is from Sanish, his name was Theodore Vine he was a boxer, died out in Seatte Washington in the middle 50’s sure would like any pictures of the Vine prooperty


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