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Offutt receives North Dakota's Rough Rider Award

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, left, presents Ronald D. Offutt with the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award following Offutt's receipt of the Legacy Leader award from the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon Thursday at the Ramada Plaza and Suites in Fargo. Offutt received a bust of Theodore Roosevelt and a reproduction of his portrait to hang in the state Capitol along with portraits of the 37 previous recipients. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

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