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.


2019 Ambassadors

Potato Bowl USA Ambassadors


Olivia Taylor – Olivia is a 2019 graduate of Red River High School in Grand Forks where she maintained a 4.025 GPA and was an honor student and a member of the National Honor Society.  She is now attending the University of North Dakota pursuing a degree in Audiology, majoring in Communications Sciences and Disorders.  Having a hearing impairment herself, Olivia’s goal is to become an audiologist and help and mentor others. Olivia has been active in choir, theatre, dance, track and field and Student Council.  Olivia has also been very active and successful in the Minnesota Job’s Daughters organization. Olivia excels at volunteering and fundraising for her community.  Some of the organizations benefitting from Olivia’s hard work include the Special Olymics, the Hearing Improvement Kids Endowment, the Shriners Hospital and the Dorothy Day Food Pantry.  Her parents are Darrin and DeNae Haagenson of Grand Forks.

Nicholas Thompson – Nicholas is a 2019 graduate of Park River (ND) High School.  Nicholas graduated with a 3.5 GPA and was involved in band, choir, FHA, Student Council,  North Dakota Boys State and baseball at PRHS.  Nicholas is now attending Mayville State University on a baseball scholarship where he is pursuing a Business Administration degree.  After graduation he plans to return to the family farm near Park River.  Nicholas has been active in his church, the Feed My Starving Children program, the Northland Rescue Mission and the Walsh County Food Pantry. His parents are Ron and Jennifer Thompson of Park River.  



Committee Members

2020 Potato Bowl USA Committee Members

  • Todd Phelps – Chairman; Golf Tournament

  • Ted Kreis – Treasurer; Advertising And Communications

  • Diane Peycke – Secretary

  • Scott Lund – Simplot French Fry Feed

  • Ryan Scott – KEM Shrine Potato Bowl Parade And “Rockin’ the Forks”

  • Julie Kirkeby – “Get Wet And Run Wild”

  • Lauren Huff – Thomsen Homes Kid's Zone

  • Jessica Thomsen – Thomsen Homes Kid's Zone

  • Jeff Westrem – All Hugo’s Sponsored Events

  • Mike Mathison – iHeart Media Advertising Rep & Hugo’s PLINKO Contest

  • Jeff Lazur – NPPGA Baked Potato Feed

  • Rick Hogan – NPPGA Baked Potato Feed

  • Kyle Doperalski – All UND Events

  • Bob Prodzinski – KEM Shrine Potato Bowl Parade

  • Christian Batalden – Simplot

  • Lucas Bergeson – Simplot

  • Deb Stewart – Greater Grand Fork CVB

  • Derick Stoulil – UND Athletics

  • Derrick Endres- UND Athletics

  • Hannah Carlson – Advertising Rep. Leighton Broadcasting

  • Jim Bollman Jr. – Advertising Rep. WDAY-WDAZ

  • Tyler Manske – Advertising Rep. Grand Forks Herald

Grand Marshal


2019 Parade Grand Marshal – Paul Dolan


This year the Potato Bowl Parade Grand Marshal is Paul Dolan from Grafton, ND. 


Paul retired last December after managing the Associated Potato Growers (APGI) for the past 25 years.  APGI is by far the largest fresh shipping operation in the Red River Valley with plants in Grand Forks, Grafton and Drayton.  Those plants are supplied by approximately 30 red and yellow potato growers representing 17 farming operations.


Paul was a well respected leader among the 15 fresh shippers in the Red River Valley. Bringing together competitors for the good of all was not always easy, but Paul was up to the task. Paul misses the potato business, something he was a part of nearly his entire life…and of course all those people he was involved with over his long professional career. But Paul is also enjoying retirement. You can bet Paul is spending more time doing the things he loves like traveling, camping, catching a Vikings or Twins game or two, and of course playing golf!  Paul is also spending more time with family, his wife for the past 44 years, Barbara, their kids Jeff and Kerry and their families which includes five grandchildren.