Offutt receives North Dakota's Rough Rider Award
FARGO - Agribusiness magnate Ronald D. Offutt is the latest recipient of North Dakota's highest honor.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple presented Offutt, chairman and founder of RDO Equipment Co. and R.D. Offutt Co., with the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award Thursday during the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting in Fargo.
The award is given to individuals who have achieved national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon the state and its residents, according to state statute.
"The Rough Rider Award is a phenomenal award, and I'm humbled and honored to be part of that group," Offutt said.
Offutt is the 38th North Dakotan to receive the honor. Past recipients include baseball legend Roger Maris, entertainer Lawrence Welk, author Louis L'Amour, entrepreneur and philanthropist Doug Burgum, former Forum publisher William C. Marcil, and entrepreneur Harold Schafer.
Offutt was unaware he was receiving the Rough Rider Award, which took him by surprise, he said.
The Chamber also presented Offutt with the 2011 Legacy Leader Award, which recognizes and emphasizes the important role and contributions of long-time local leaders in shaping and serving the metropolitan community and region.
After receiving that award, Dalrymple took the stage to present the famous bust of Roosevelt and a portrait of Offutt that will hang at the state Capitol building.
"You are being honored today for all that you have done for our great state," Dalrymple said. "You are highly respected for all of your philanthropic and civic commitments."
Offutt is a 1960 graduate of Moorhead High School and a 1964 Concordia College graduate. He served on the college's Board of Regents for 20 years before retiring last fall.
In September 2010, Offutt was the lead contributor in a $50 million fundraising campaign for Concordia's new Offutt School of Business, scheduled to open in the fall of 2012.
Offutt's companies employ more than 3,000 people nationwide.
RDO Equipment Co. is the largest network of John Deere construction and agriculture equipment dealerships in the United States, with more than 60 stores in nine states. R.D. Offutt Co. is the nation's largest producer of potatoes.
Past Rough Rider Award recipients
Lawrence Welk entertainer Aug. 28, 1961
Dorothy Stickney actress Nov. 2, 1961
Ivan Dmitri artist April 13, 1962
Roger Maris athlete Jan. 4, 1964
Eric Sevareid journalist April 17, 1964
Gen. Harold K. Johnson military service April 23, 1965
Dr. Anne H. Carlsen educator Sept. 9, 1966
Edward K. Thompson journalist April 19, 1968
Dr. Robert Henry Bahmer archiving July 28, 1970
Louis L'Amour author May 26, 1972
Bertin C. Gamble entrepreneur Oct. 20, 1972
Casper Oimoen athlete Feb. 12, 1973
Peggy Lee entertainer .May 23, 1975
Harold Schafer entrepreneur July 4, 1975
Era Bell Thompson journalist Aug. 14, 1976
Dr. Leon Orris Jacobson physician Oct. 1, 1976
Elizabeth Bodine humanitarian July 27, 1979
Phyllis Frelich actress April 27, 1981
Cliff "Fido" Purpur athlete May 16, 1981
Gen. David C. Jones mlitary service May 21, 1982
Ronald N. Davies judge June 11, 1987
Phil Jackson athlete July 30, 1992
Larry Woiwode author Oct. 23, 1992
Angie Dickinson actress Dec. 2, 1992
Rev. Richard C. Halverson minister March 26, 1994
Brynhild Haugland legislator March 20, 1995
Adm. William A. Owens military service Jan. 29, 1996
Carl Ben Eielson pioneer aviator Aug. 26, 1997
Warren Christopher public service June 20, 1998
Bobby Vee entertainer June 20, 1999
Chester "Chet" Reiten entrepreneur Oct. 8, 2002
Thomas J. Clifford entrepreneur Nov. 23, 2002
Sister Thomas Welder educator May 1, 2004
Harry J. Pearce business leader Aug. 11, 2004
William C. Marcil business leader May 18, 2006
Master Sgt. Woodrow Wilson Keeble military service July 23, 2008
Doug Burgum entrepreneur, philanthropist Nov. 20, 2009
Ron D. Offutt business leader, philanthropist Sept. 15, 2011