Best of Show and People Category: Winner - "Watching the Sunset at Double Ditch," Nick Hornbacher, Bismarck
Best of Show and People Category: Winner - "Watching the Sunset at Double Ditch," Nick Hornbacher, Bismarck

2016 North Dakota Governor's Photo Contest Winners Named

Winners and honorable mentions from the 13th annual North Dakota Governor's Photo Contest

(Click on image to scroll through a gallery of winners and honorable mention) 

First Lady Betsy Dalrymple has recognized the winning photographs and honorable mentions from the 13th annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest in a ceremony in Memorial Hall of the North Dakota Capitol building. Joining the First Lady in the presentation were North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) Executive Director Beth Gigante Klingenstein and AAA Senior Public Affairs Representative Gene LaDoucer.

The contrasting colors of “Watching the Sunset at Double Ditch” catches the attention of a viewer and encourages us all to take a moment to enjoy the beauty all around us, earning Nick Hornbacher of Bismarck the Best of Show and People category awards. This year’s contest set a record with 1,382 photo entries and the most popular category was scenery.

“Today we celebrate the talents of our state’s amateur photographers, who uniquely capture the beauty and originality of North Dakota,” the First Lady said. “They experience first-hand the state’s legendary attractions and beautiful scenery awaiting our visitors.”

Photos were judged on originality, subject matter, visual appeal and ability to portray North Dakota as a legendary travel destination in the categories of adventure and recreation, places to visit, events, people, scenery and wildlife. “Each year, we’re amazed by the beautiful photos North Dakota’s amateur photographers take and share for this contest. I thank them for sharing their talents with us,” Otte Coleman said.

The North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest began as a collaborative program between the Governor’s Office and North Dakota Tourism and has grown to include AAA as a contest sponsor and the NDCA as a collaborative partner. The 2016 winning photos will be on display during the months of October, November and December at the Capitol in the offices of Governor Jack Dalrymple, First Lady Betsy Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. This is part of a cooperative program between NDCA and the First Lady’s office. Canvas displays were printed and sponsored in part by Mathison’s.

“I am impressed with the creativity and the eye for beauty that is embraced by these North Dakota photographers,” Klingenstein said. “The beauty of the human spirit and of our state are captured in these wonderful photographs.”

AAA, North America’s largest travel organization, will also display winning photos as part of its sponsorship. “Not only do the state’s photographers do a great job of capturing inspiring images, they serve as ambassadors to the state,” LaDoucer said. “Who better to tell the story than those who are living it?”

This was the seventh year that photographers could submit photos online through image and video hosting site Flickr. Top category photographers will receive a $200 cash prize for each winning photo and have their work featured in North Dakota Tourism’s marketing materials, along with even greater exposure through contest partner AAA. A Best of Show photo was selected from the winning photographs, and the photographer received an additional $300 cash prize and a free, one-year basic membership to AAA. Honorable mention winners will receive $50 and may also have their images featured in the state’s tourism marketing materials.

The North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest is held annually and is open to any North Dakota amateur photographers. Next year’s contest will begin in May 2016. Winning photos can be seen on the North Dakota Tourism website:

2016 Governor’s Photo Contest

Best of Show
"Watching the Sunset at Double Ditch," Nick Hornbacher, Bismarck

People Category
Winning photograph: “Watching the Sunset at Double Ditch,” Nick Hornbacher, Bismarck. Honorable Mention: "Father Son Fishing," Katy Vetter, Surrey. 

Adventure and Recreation Category
Winning Photograph
:"A Cat Takes Flight," Aaron Kennedy, Grand Forks. Honorable Mention: "A Fine View," Katherine Plessner, Verona.

Places to Visit Category
Winning photograph: "Mystical Horizons," Jeffery Smith, Bottineau. Honorable Mentions: "A Cow's Eye View," Clint Fleckenstein, Bismarck; "Old State Library," Thomas W. Wirtz, Bismarck.

Events Category
Winning photograph: "Circle 'em Up," Lacey Kaiser, Streeter.

Scenery Category
Winning photograph: "Dark Sunset," Karl Swenson, Kindred. Honorable Mention: "Winter in Blue," Crystal Ann, Grand Forks.

Wildlife Category
Winning photograph: "Big Horn Gathering," Brad Starry, Fargo. Honorable Mentions: "Red Fox Kits, Stephen McDonough, Bismarck; "Sharp-tailed Grouse," Thomas W. Wirtz, Bismarck.

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