On September 24, 1966, the very first Potato Bowl football game was played at Memorial Stadium and was billed as a battle between two of the largest potato growing regions in the United States (Idaho and the Red River Valley). The idea of creating a week of festivities to celebrate potatoes and football was the brainchild of UND Athletic Director Len Marti, Head Football Coach Marv “Whitey” Helling, Assistant Football Coach Jerry Olson and Sports Information Director Lee Bohnet. In that first game in 1966, the Fighting Sioux thumped Idaho State 41-0. UND is 41-13 in its first 54 Potato Bowl games.
Potato Bowl USA 2023 Ambassadors
Kiana Sayler -
Kiana is currently attending NDSU to obtain a degree in Biological Science Education and Biological Science. In her two years at NDSU, she has maintained a 3.8 GPA and has been on the Dean’s list every semester.
In high school, she graduated as Valedictorian and took advanced placement courses, which allowed her to enter college as a sophomore.
When she isn’t busy with her studies, she takes part in ATOMS, which is a club on campus for future teachers of math and science. This group puts on various events for students in the Fargo area. In addition, she is the Assistant Coach for the Sheyenne Horace Dance Team.
Kiana has a passion for protecting our natural lands and supporting ND agriculture. Her dream is to become a High School or Middle School Science teacher so she can support today’s youth and help them grow up into successful individuals.
Her parents are Troy and Tanja Sayler of Bismarck.
Annah Zikmund -
Annah just finished her Junior year at NDSU where she is majoring in Strategic Communications with an emphasis in Advertising and a minor in Visual Arts and Graphic Design.
In high school, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was Valedictorian of her class. During in time in college, she has maintained a 3.5 GPA and will graduate a semester early!
During in time at NDSU, she has worked with numerous non-profits. She works closely with The Boys and Girls Club, Perry Center, and is a 3rd Grade Confirmation Teacher at Holy Spirit Church in Fargo.
Annah plans to work in Graphic Design and Tech Development with an end goal of Brand Development and Logo Design. She loves the idea of working in a career where she can see something grow and become successful under her authority.
Annah’s parents are Helen and Keith Zikmund of Minto
2023 Potato Bowl Grand Marshal
Fred Wittmann -
Fred Wittmann first participated in a Potato Bowl Parade in the early 1970s when he was a trumpet player in the Central Cass High School – Casselton, ND – marching band. That day included a memorable visit from a Grand Forks police officer who kindly informed an enthusiastic group of band members that their impromptu, post-parade performance on the sidewalk in front of a Grand Forks residence was not a part of the official Potato Bowl activities!
Wittmann arrived at the University as a student in 1973 and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UND. Fred found a long-term home at the University. He had a 50-year presence on the campus, and a nearly 45-year UND career, when he retired from the University in early 2023. Fred spent the first half of his UND career with the Division of Continuing Education, most of those years as director of conferences and institutes, planning professional development activities held across the state.
In 2000 Fred became UND’s director of ceremonies and university events helping lead the planning of many of the University’s highest-profile ceremonies and public events. Those activities included UND’s commencement ceremonies, campus celebrations, and a variety of events that engaged both on-campus and off-campus audiences. For many years, Fred enjoyed a special autumn tradition working with UND presidents and with faculty, staff, and student leaders to include them in the annual Potato Bowl Parade.
During his UND career, Fred had the privilege of working with eight UND presidents (Clifford, Baker, Kupchella, Kelley, Schafer, Kennedy, Wynne, and Armacost). He took pride in working with dozens of other UND administrators, hundreds faculty and staff members, and many community, and statewide colleagues.
Fred and his wife, MaryLou, have two daughters. Karina and her family live in Grand Forks and Chelsea and her family live in Missoula, MT.
Potato Bowl USA Committee Members
Todd Phelps, Chairman – Valley Potato Grower Magazine - Golf Tournament
Jacey Kuersteiner, Secretary – NPGA
Scott Lund – Simplot French Fry Feed
Christian Batalden – Simplot
Lucas Bergeson – Simplot
Ryan Scott – KEM Shrine Potato Bowl Parade
Julie Kirkeby – Choice Health & Fitness - “Get Wet And Run Wild”
Jeff Westrem – All Hugo’s Sponsored Events
Bob Prodzinski – KEM Shrine Potato Bowl Parade
Nicole Brush - UND
Mike Mathison – iHeart Media Advertising Rep
Misty Paul – Advertising Rep Leighton Broadcasting
Sasha Leibold - Advertising Rep Leighton Broadcasting