Conversion project adds reliability, enhances beauty
In December 2015, Capital Electric line crews converted overhead power lines and poles to underground electric service at the Walt Neuens Memorial Horse Park in south Bismarck. The conversion made this part of the co-op’s electric system more reliable — and enjoyable, as the park has been used by many of our cooperative’s member-owners for decades.
If you grew up riding and showing horses in North Dakota, there’s a good chance you hauled to the Walt Neuens Memorial Horse Park at some point. The horse park, located at 1909 Riverwood Drive in south Bismarck, has held a variety of equine events for more than 50 years, ranging from Western and English shows, reining and cutting events, rodeos, practices for the Mounted Police, and much more. Surrounded by mature trees, the horse park has always been a beautiful place. It was further enhanced by Capital Electric Cooperative in December, when line crews converted overhead power lines and poles to underground electric service.
Rick Dressler, operations supervisor at Capital Electric, says the conversion occurred in conjunction with the city of Bismarck establishing a new lift station for the sewer system. When installing three-phase electric service in the area, line crews noted the tree density and growth in the horse park, and determined a conversion from overhead to underground would reduce the likelihood of power outages being caused by tree branches breaking and falling on the lines.
“The conversion made our distribution system more reliable — and yes, it makes the park look nicer,” Dressler says.
This is the horse park’s second location. The first was developed on the south side of Dakota Zoo. It was established by the Bismarck Horse Club, which was formed around 1950 by a handful of members including Walt Neuens. A resident of Medora until 1947 when a flood forced his family to relocate, Walt moved to Bismarck and started a Western store that he operated with assistance from his wife and four sons. He also shod horses.
When the Dakota Zoo started planning an expansion, the horse park was moved to its current location in the 1960s. When Walt passed away, the park was renamed the Walt Neuens Memorial Horse Park.
One of his sons, Don, followed in his father’s footsteps and shod horses for 55 years before retiring. A member of Roughrider Electric Cooperative who lives north of Glen Ullin, Don says horses were always a part of his life, and they still are.
In addition, his father’s vision and passion lives on at the Walt Neuens Memorial Horse Park, through all the people who still use the park. If you haven’t been there in the last few years, stop down and watch a practice or show — and enjoy the beautiful scenery and riding opportunities it offers to this community and to our member-owners.
The late Ted A. Ressler showing his mare Eagle’s Pride in a halter class in 1967, in the horse park’s second location on Riverwood Drive. It was later renamed the Walt Neuens Memorial Horse Park after one of the founding members of the Bismarck Horse Club, Walt Neuens. Ressler was a Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative member from north Mandan.