North Dakota hero drinks almost 50 beers
By Mary Maguire Armstrong
North Dakota has become known mostly for oil, corn, and not being South Dakota. However, growing up here has given me a unique perspective on life. The small towns scattered throughout the state are their own little worlds, filled with farmers, ranchers- people who love rural living. While talking with a professor of mine recently, he recounted one of his first impressions of small town, ND after moving here from Minneapolis, MN.
The story was a perfect reflection of the love and simplicity that endears this state to many. My professor, Dr. Robert Kibler, moved to teach at a college in a fairly modest, farming community. As rings true for almost any little town, the bars were the place to socialize. He recounted walking into a bar very soon after moving, and seeing a man who easily weighed over 300 pounds in a back corner. Attempting to be social and become familiar with the people he’d be living around, Dr. Kibler walked back to make introductions and conversation.
As soon as he approached the man, the other occupants in the bar jumped on their chance to make my professor aware of the local celebrity this man was. “He won the drinking contest twelve years ago.”
One bar-goer excitedly informed Dr. Kibler. “I was there… I saw it happen!” My professor was amused and admittedly confused as to why this was such an impressive achievement. A drinking contest twelve years ago? Was that all it took to gain notoriety here? With awe in their voices, his companions began telling him about this celebrated event. “This man drank almost fifty beers,”
Another man chimed in. “The other person in the competition was on beer number forty-four when he fell over and passed out. Not only did this man finish beer number forty-four, he opened number forty-five, downed it, stood up, looked around, and walked out the door, perfectly calm and stable.”
The admiration and tears in the eyes of the story listeners and tellers took my professor aback. Surely, this was an impressive feat, on the man and his liver’s part. But this was the story that had become legend for this town? This was what it took to be a hero? Dr. Kibler looked around, amused and befuddled at just what sort of people he had come to live with.
He surely wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
Photo credit: Trip Advisor