DSU Heritage Foundation hosts season-opening tailgating event

Sep. 5—DICKINSON — There are kickoff events ... and then there are "blastoff" events. The DSU Heritage Foundation hosted the first Blue Hawks tailgating event of the year on the team's home-opener on Saturday, Sept. 2, and hundreds of people were in attendance to enjoy the "Hawk Walk," where the team walks through the crowd as they head into the Biesiot Activities Center to begin pregame warmups, and many other elements of what is a unique gathering of Dickinson State fans.

But beyond that, the tailgating event is a way for people to get together and celebrate the team and enjoy conversations, confections and camaraderie before each home game.

"We've got a very dedicated group of Blue Hawk fans," said Kyle Smith, the DSU Heritage Foundation's Development Office for athletics and rodeo. "This is just an opportunity for us to gather everybody together. It had very humble beginnings, with the Touchdown Club 10 or 11 years ago over on the College Park and from there came a bigger need and we didn't want to leave all the burden on the volunteers and they're a big part of what we do along with the boosters here and the longtime support of people here in town and the alumni."

Aric Mines, who is the vice president of the Blue Hawk Touchdown Club, said the event has grown quite a bit throughout the years and said both his organization and the gathering is important to the members, who are very passionate about the team and the tailgate has a few unique features particular to DSU.

"The Hawk Walk started as an idea of a couple coaches who thought it would be cool to be able meet over here at the Ag (Building) and walk through the tailgate, and I think that's a pretty cool experience for the players," he said. "For the folks who haven't been here, they've got to come; it's so much fun."

Despite it being Labor Day weekend, the event saw hundreds of people pass through from 9 a.m. to kickoff, which was pushed forward an hour to noon for the home-opener versus Mayville State on Saturday to accommodate the fans and hopefully beat the heat a little.

"Honestly, what made me decide to stay in Dickinson was the people and the community; this is a great town with great people and I can see myself living here for a long time just because of all the great people that I've met," said former DSU lineman Colter Hickok, who is originally from Bridger, Mont. but now works as a facilities supervisor at the West River Community Center for Dickinson Parks and Recreation. "This event is a great connecting tool for meeting people."

Among the attendees at the tailgating event was Kevin Wold, whose sophomore daughter, Alexia Wold, is a cheerleader for the Blue Hawks. He comes over from Durango, Colo. — which is in the southwest corner of the state — as much as possible and has been to town roughly four times since Alexia started going to school at DSU.

"I love this school and this is fantastic," Kevin said. "The tailgate and the whole scene during the games and stuff like that."

DSU President Steve Eason said the city of Dickinson and the surrounding area is fortunate to have the event right next to the field so fans can get the full experience of college gameday.

"We get incredible community support and that happens in all sorts of ways: In some quiet ways, but one of the loud ways it happens in this unusual tailgate experience," Eason said. "At most universities, when you tailgate you do it with your friends and there's another group of people next to you in another car; I've always loved the Dickinson State tailgate where the idea is you can walk around, everybody's welcome, and that even includes the opposing team's fans and they're welcome to come around also. It's a really fun demonstration of community support."

Weston Jones, who is from Hamilton, Mont. and whose son, Brock Jones, is a senior outside linebacker for DSU. He is proud of his son and grateful that he decided to play football for the Blue Hawks and enjoys coming to the school as much as he can.

"We're south of Missoula, so we go to a lot of (Montana) Grizzlies games and this tradition here ranks right up there with Grizz games and that kind of stuff," Jones said. "This is great, and there's great morale, it's a great community thing."

He added," Since my son came here I've seen a lot of maturity and this school does a great job of working one-on-one with the student-athletes; and not just the student-athletes but with his roommates who aren't athletes. The growth I've seen from him is just incredible. I just wish it wasn't so darn far away from home"

For more information about the DSU Heritage Foundation, please visit their website at

or call them at 701-483-2486. You can find out more about the many events at Dickinson State University at