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Medora's Sheriff Bear to travel the state in search of a new friend

A bear costume in a sheriff outfit waves at camera

Hey kids! Starting this week, a friendly bear will be moseying across the state. It goes by the name of Sheriff Bear, the mascot of Medora, and he's traveling across North Dakota in search for a new furry friend who will join him at the Medora musical.

Kaelee Wallace, Marketing and Communications Director at the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, joined Tom Brosseau to talk about Sheriff Bear's tour. Listen to the interview above.

Sheriff Bear's statewide tour includes:

  • February 19: North Dakota's Gateway to Science, Bismarck
  • February 22: Grand Forks Public Library
  • February 25: West Acres Mall, Fargo
  • March 1: Magic City Discovery Center, Minot
  • March 10: West River Ice Center, Dickinson

Find more details and times at

Interview Transcript:

Tom: Kaylee, thank you for being on the show. Tell us about Sheriff Bear.

Kaelee: Sheriff Bear has been such a loved character of the Medora Musical really since the 80s. We've had a teddy bear mascot, but in 2003, Sheriff Bear joined as a really pinnacle part of the show.

And this year, we're sharing his origin story that he started as a lowly deputy teddy bear and came to life to support the sheriff in the town. And in 2003, the sheriff retired and Sheriff Bear took over, and has been maintaining the long arm of the law since in Medora. And you know, after 20 years, a bear gets a little lonely. And so this year he is on the search for his new best friend in Medora. And we know there's so many loved characters across the state that he's going to be all over.

Starting in Bismarck on February 19, he's going to be at the Gateway to Science building, seeing if there's any friends there. Joined with some authors of Medora, musicians of Medora.

After he leaves there, he'll be headed up to Grand Forks February 22 and 23rd around the UND game, hoping maybe the Hawk might be his next best friend. And I know, Tom, he'll be joined by you there at the public library on the 22nd, as well as Joe Wiegand, our favorite Theodore Roosevelt.

And then he'll be headed into Fargo and Minot and Dickinson and really just hoping that he can find a new friend before the Medora musical starts this year.

So we're excited to get to take Sheriff Bear around. And we have a whole webpage set up for him, so that friends can see where he's been and where he's going and who's going to be joining him. And so I think it's going to be really fun to get to zigzag the state with our best friend, Sheriff Bear.

Tom: Now tell me, when does the Medora musical start this year?

Kaelee: Yeah, the Medora musical kicks off June 5, runs through September 7. And we are extremely excited. Sheriff Bear is a pretty big part of the show this year, which we always think it's exciting to see him dancing on stage or part of the kids number, but there's some exciting things coming together for how him and his new friend will really be prevalent in the show.

Tom: And so over the course of the next couple of months, really, because we're almost, we're really kind of getting down to it pretty soon. It feels like summer here, that's for sure. He's going to be looking for his new buddy.

Kaelee: Yes, he will be. And come springtime, we'll be looking to announce his new buddy on social media and he'll be ready to introduce them to Medora. And we're excited then to really make that new character part of the Medora musical experience.

Tom: Well, that's fantastic. And now, when you stop in Bismarck, do we know who's going to be there to do music or story time?

Kaelee: So we'll be doing a story time on “The Magic of Medora,” which Linda Domlin wrote. And it's really great. Her grandchildren are going to come and read that book. And so that's exciting. And we're still looking at lining up music for that location. We're looking at getting Clark the Lark out there, which we know so many Bismarck kids love to see at the Larks game every summer. So that'll be very fun at that location.

Tom: And then, as you mentioned, you're going to be in Grand Forks on the 22nd. Joe Wiegand, the country's premier Teddy Roosevelt repriser, will be there to read that book, “The Magic of Medora,” which will be great. Because the book is written in the voice of Teddy Roosevelt.

Kaelee: Yeah, I think that'll be really fun. And I know Joe has been so excited about that book, and I haven't gotten to hear him read it yet. And so I think it'll be kind of his debut in front of a whole bunch of kids at the public library there to get to hear “The Magic of Medora” in the words of Theodore Roosevelt by Theodore Roosevelt.

Tom: Well, no doubt that's going to be a good time. And as you mentioned, I'm going to be there. I'm going to be playing some songs for kids. This is open to children. It's open to everybody, but it's at the public library in Grand Forks. And Fargo?

Kaelee: Fargo, we're going to be at West Acres Mall, and we're looking at getting Thundar, the NDSU Bison. Kids love Sheriff Bear. We know that adults love Sheriff Bear. And so we invite everyone out to get to meet and greet with Sheriff Bear and just really experience some Magic of Medora.

Tom: What's Sheriff Bear's significance? Why the bear?

Kaelee: Yeah, so it's one of my favorite stories. Sheriff Bear really originates from a teddy bear, which started with Theodore Roosevelt when he had first come to the Badlands on a bear hunt. And that story of him ultimately not wanting to harm a bear that was an easy hunt for him.

And it got back to a toy maker in New York who asked if he could make a teddy bear around Theodore Roosevelt and his bear hunting trip. And Teddy's response was, sure you can. I don't think it's going to sell many. And here we are, you know, centuries later. And the teddy bear is such a signature part of childhood and stuffed animals. And so Sheriff Bear is a perfect representation of the teddy bear come to life.

Tom: I mean, if you see any bear, any stuffed bear, there's only one bear. As you mentioned, it's the Teddy's bear. So it starts with Teddy Roosevelt. It's kind of an amazing story, the origin of the bear.

Kaelee: It is an amazing story. And I think it's fun that we get to share that history, too. And you say teddy bear and never actually stop to think, why isn't a Tommy bear? You know, or a Kaylee bear.

Tom: I would love to see a Tommy bear. [laughs] So what's the name of this event, Kaylee?

Kaelee: It is Sheriff Bear's State Tour. Straightforward, simple, just Sheriff Bear headed around the state to find his new friend, who will be a part of the Medora musical this summer and every summer going forward.

Tom: Well, thank you so much, Kaylee Wallace, for this nice little visit here today about the exciting new tour.

Kaelee: Yeah, thank you for having me. Looking forward to having you back in Medora this summer.

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