Gov. Doug Burgum today announced details of a ceremony to honor celebrated professional boxer Virgil Hill as the 48th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens.
The award ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 in the main arena at the Bismarck Event Center, 315 S. 5th S., Bismarck, where Hill fought several memorable boxing matches. A reception will precede the ceremony at 5 p.m. at the Event Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Burgum announced Hill as the 48th recipient of the Rough Rider Award on Aug. 10. Raised in Grand Forks and Williston, Hill won a silver medal in the middleweight division during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, was a five-time world champion, set the record for the number of light heavyweight title defenses and was a first-round inductee into both the National Boxing Hall of Fame and International Boxing Hall of Fame. He holds a career professional record of 50 wins, 7 losses, and 23 wins by knockout.
Beyond his boxing achievements, Hill has been actively engaged in charitable works, supporting organizations focused on youth sports development, anti-bullying campaigns, veterans' assistance and cultural preservation. Since his retirement from boxing in 2015, Hill has continued to train athletes and promote North Dakota, going out of his way to train young Native American athletes and provide opportunities for them to excel in their chosen sport.
The Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens. Established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial, the award was initially given as an honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders. North Dakota Secretary of State Michael Howe and State Historical Society Director Bill Peterson both concurred with Burgum’s selection of Hill for the Rough Rider Award.