Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns
for Tri-State Livestock News
While Cort Sheer came in a close second in the tie-breaker with Wade Sundell for a commemorative rifle, technically the two bronc riders and traveling buddies split the championship title for the bronc match hosted by Home on the Range youth ranch. Photo by Robin Blankenship

The dream of one kindly priest, brought to fruition by one generous farm couple in 1950 has blossomed like a wild rose on the North Dakota prairies. At the time Mr. & Mrs. Edward Leviens read about Father Elwood E. Cassedy’s dream to assist disadvantaged and troubled boys, and donated their 950 acre ranch toward that cause, none of them could’ve imagined the impressive facility and successful program it has grown into.

The Home on the Range mission statement is: “Providing a Catholic home to strengthen children and families today for a successful tomorrow.” Father William Fahnlander shared that dream, and came alongside Father Cassedy in 1955, as the program outgrew one man’s energy and time. He became Superintendent soon after Father Cassedy’s passing in 1959, and was busy imagining, planning, and giving life to new facets of Home on the Range right up until he died in 2001.

Assistance for young teenage girls was incorporated into the mix in 1990. Young people in need of assistance and guidance come to Home on the Range from across North Dakota, as well as any state in the union, pending the application process. They might stay a short time, or up to eight months before returning home. Employees fall in love with the place and the people and tend to stay much longer – some have been there three decades.

Jolene Obrigewitch, Development Director for the past six years, says,”There is a special magic here, when you see the difference you can make in kids.”

“There were many obstacles to overcome. I couldn’t sleep for two nights after I heard we were sanctioned.”Gary Tescher, bronc match committee member

Home on the Range is reimbursed 75 percent through state funds, but Jolene sys, “We have to raise $1 or $2 million a year. We do this through the sale of our cattle, grants, wills, legacies, and fundraising events – of which the Ride of Champion’s is our largest and most successful.”

To learn more or be a benefactor, go to http://www.hotrnd.com/ ; or phone 701-872-3745; email joleneo@hotrnd.com; or write Home On The Range, Sentinel Butte North Dakota; Jolene Obrigewitch, Development Director; 16351 I-94, Sentinel Butte, ND 58654