Lansford Ghost Riders
He enlisted 20 young riders, and they practiced until they had learned the routines. Most of the group lived on farms, and would ride their horses to Lansford for practice. Once ready, they wore white shirts with black fringe, white pants and black hats. Many mothers assisted in sewing on the fringe.
The Ghost Riders were led by Jack Sidener and his beautiful Palomino stallion, Laredo. This polished group performed their skills at various venues around northwest North Dakota. They debuted in Lansford for a Gala Days celebration and went on to perform for numerous events in the area, including the Sherwood Jubilee, Maxbass 50th Anniversary, Bottineau County Fair, Minot State and Ward County Fairs, at the inaugural North Dakota Championship Rodeo held in Minot in 1955 for the Y’s Men, and other venues. The troop was featured in “Horse Lover’s Magazine” in 1954.
The Minot Daily News quoted, “Shades of the golden west and the era of cavalry marched onto the Minot State fairgrounds when the Lansford Ghost Riders performed in front of the grandstand two evenings prior to the Barnes and Carruthers State Fair Revue of 1954. Banner bearers flanked patrol leader, Jack Sidener, as the 20 member patrol performed their precision drills and squad formations for fair goers. Sidener, who drilled the group between fair appearances, was a member of the Marie Corps Drill Teams during WWll”.
The Ghost Riders went on to host horse shows annually in the Lansford area. The highlight of their time in the saddle was when Walt Disney studios came to Lansford to film the group and had a segment on the Walt Disney television show. The studio sent a copy of the film to Lansford, which was shown at the Lansford movie theater. The film was lost in a local fire some years later.
As a sign of good-will and friendship, some of the older members went over to Powers Lake to search for 4-year-old LaVern Enget. LaVerne went missing from his parent’s farm, and the Ghost Riders participated on horseback, searching 4-5 days for the youngster. Unfortunately, the child was not found until the next spring.
Tragically, Jack Sidener and his only sibling, R.T. were killed in a car accident in 1956, leaving behind 10 children. Another local rancher, Harold Tarvestad, led the group for one more year before it disbanded. It was a sad ending to a glorious time. The Lansford community had lost two leaders, and the parents and riders were devastated.
The Ghost Riders were very proud of their accomplishments over this span of 5 or 6 years, and they brought zest and vigor to this tiny community in Bottineau County. These young boys and girls loved being a part of something bigger than themselves, and the riders, still living today, beam with pride when the Lansford Ghost Riders are mentioned.