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April 4: Kegger Bust

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On this date in 1968, North Dakota State University's student newspaper, The Spectrum, carried a report about police raiding a keg party, but it very well could have been an April Fool’s joke.

Quoting from the article, “When the forces of law and order surrounded a keg party six miles south of Fargo last Friday, the scene was really wild. Some beer drinkers ran off across the fields only to have a half dozen cops loom in front of them. One drinker cleverly burrowed into a hay stack … while another tried hiding on a barn roof. 'Come down,' ordered the fuzz. 'There's nobody up here,' he yelled back, but the cops were clever and quickly saw through this ploy.

One youth, undoubtedly a member of the Rodeo Club, hopped aboard a horse and galloped off, only to discover he was in a corral and had no place to go but in circles. Cops cheered from the banks as a North High swimming star tried swimming upstream, but the spring runoff was too much for him and he surrendered.

A gallant tennis jock tried sprinting back to Fargo and got as far as the Bowler before a detective pulled over to give him a ride.”

The article went on to claim that many of the keggers had actually parked on Fargo Police Commissioner Kenneth Johnson's land, and that Johnson had known of the party plans for days and had helped lay the trap. The article claimed the police were everywhere, in the ditches, ravines, hiding low in the weeds, and some youths claimed to see them perched in trees.

The article said 55 students were caught, while quoting the police commissioner as saying another 100 were involved, but were no longer at the party at the time of the raid.

Did this really happen, or was it a joke? The Fargo Forum reported nothing about such an event. But it did reprint an Associated Press article about teenagers from St. Paul getting arrested in Wisconsin for a drinking party that took place at exactly the same time as the alleged party in the Spectrum story. The Associated Press article had been reprinted throughout the Upper Midwest. Perhaps it was inspiration for a Spectrum spoof.

Dakota Datebook by Andrew Alexis Varvel


  • “Cops raid kegger, arrest 55”, The Spectrum (Fargo), 4 April 1968, page 1, columns 2-3.
  • “Police Raid Ends Minnesota Party”, The Forum (Fargo), 31 March 1968, page A1, column 3.
  • “Wisconsin Police, Game Wardens Stop Teenage Liquor Party”, Austin Daily Herald (Austin, MN), 30 March 1968, page 2, column 9.
  • “47 Minnesotans Arrested at Hudson Beer Party”, Winona Daily News (Winona, MN), 31 March 1958, page 13, columns 6-7.
  • “Drinking Party Raided by Police”, Manitowoc Herald Times (Manitowoc, WI), 30 March 1968, page 7, column 3.
  • “47 Minnesota Youths Taken Into Custody”, Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, WI), 30 March, page 7, column 8.
  • “Raid Youths In Drinking Party”, Stevens Point Daily Journal (Stevens Point, WI), 30 March 1968, page 7, columns 6-7.
  • “47 Youths Are Nabbed In Raid In St. Croix”, The Capital Times (Madison, WI), 30 March 1968, page 2, column 7.
  • “Teenage Drinking Party Broken Up”, The Daily Telegram (Eau Claire, WI), 30 March 1968, page 5, column 8.
  • “Police Arrest 47 At Teen Drinking Party”, The Daily Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, WI), 30 March 1968, page 5, column 2.
  • “Nab 47 Teen-agers in State Beer Raid”, The Journal Times (Racine, WI), 30 March 1968, page 4, column 1.
  • “Minnesota Youths Seized at Beer Bust Near Hudson”, Wausau Daily Herald (Wausau, WI), 30 March 1968, page 22, column 1.
  • “47 Youths Nabbed in Raid at Hudson”, Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI), 31 March 1968, page 18, column 2.

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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