Perched on top of a hill on the east section of Watford City, overlooking new housing, hotels, business developments and the Watford City High School football field, sits a building made of glass and steel, packed to the brim with potential and community collaboration. A multi-million dollar vision come to life.
A game changer.
The Rough Rider Center.
The ribbon has been cut and its doors have finally opened.
The 268,000 square foot facility will serve multiple functions, and while many big visions have already been realized inside the walls, Flint Christensen, facility managing director emphasizes there are countless more just waiting for the right invested citizens with an idea.
“What we’re looking at from an operational side of things is to fill in the gap if we see there is a need or a demographic not being met,” said Christensen. “But truthfully, a successful program will come from someone who has a passion in that field. We want to be the vessel to make that happen.”
Yes, potential lies around every corner of the Rough Rider Center, which boasts a field house, special events and sports arena featuring three removable wood courts, an indoor aquatics center with a six lane competition lap pool and water park area with a water slide, lazy river and a pool party room, a walking track, gymnastics program area, a convention and meeting center and a hockey arena with a main ice rink and practice rink.
And while the Rough Rider Center is not your typical workout facility, the space allows for more Parks and Recreation programming for the public, open skating, a rock climbing wall, walking track, public use of the courts and pool area and even roller skating and laser tag.
Yes. Laser tag.
“We have six bounce houses for the field house, 250 roller skates, 150 sets of ices skates,” said Christensen. “We’re not going to rest on the expectation that someone will come in and use the space. We’re going to create opportunity to use the space.”
Other potential comes in the form of more programs for students, including collaborating with the school to provide an opportunity for students to learn how to run the center’s technology, host sporting tournaments, hold games or, with the addition of a competitive pool, develop a swim team.
Also included? A coffee shop and a place to buy sandwiches.
“This is not just a place to drop your kids off at practice,” said Christensen. “Parents and families can stay here longer and the programs are going to grow because of it.”
Opening the doors
The community got their chance to see the facility first hand at the sneak peak opening tours held on September 16th in conjunction with Watford City High School’s Homecoming Football game. Since then the center has been host to the Women’s Day Expo, the Association of Gas and Oil Producing Counties annual meeting, a Snake Oil 80s Tribute Concert.
Several private parties and showers have been held in the center as well and the hockey and gymnastics programs start in November. But he public is currently enjoying the walking path, open skate and soon, the swimming area.
Upcoming concerts include the November 5th Tyler Farr concert at the facility’s grand opening event
and the triple header rock concert featuring Starship, HeadEast and Kat Perkins, an event with proceeds to benefit the new Watford City Veterans Park.
More information on programs, events, recreation hours, facility rental and ticket information visit