<< All News Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 01:50 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum today announced the winning photographs and honorable mentions of the 16th annual North Dakota Governor's Photo Contest at a ceremony in Memorial Hall of the North Dakota Capitol. 

Zachary Hargrove's "Stormy Sunset" was chosen Best in Show and the Scenery category winner. The image also was selected as the Best of the Decade in recognition of the 10th anniversary of AAA North Dakota's co-sponsorship of the annual contest.

“Today we recognize those individuals who have captured North Dakota’s scenic beauty through the camera lens and shared it with all of us through the North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest,” Burgum said. “The chosen photos represent the best of more than 1,000 entries submitted for the annual contest.”

Joining Burgum for the presentation were North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) Executive Director Kim Konikow and AAA of North Dakota Senior Public Affair Representative Gene LaDoucer.

In “Stormy Sunset,” Hargrove captures a thunderstorm as it moves over Lake Sakakawea’s Government Bay near Riverdale. The setting sun is a reminder that better times lie ahead. Hargrove, of Bismarck, also had the winning entry “Dawning” in the Communities and Events Category.

This year’s contest drew 1,061 submissions, bringing the total number of photos submitted to the contest to more than 14,500. The 2019 winning photos will be on display during the months of October, November and December at the Capitol.

Photos were judged on originality, subject matter, visual appeal and ability to portray North Dakota as a legendary travel destination in the categories of adventure and recreation, places to visit, communities and events, fun with family and friends, scenery and wildlife. 

“It is amazing to see the great photography capturing that which is unique and special about North Dakota,” Otte Coleman said. “Through this collaboration, we have another tool in which we are able to showcase the state through marketing materials.”

The North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest is a collaborative program between the Governor’s Office, North Dakota Tourism, North Dakota Council on the Arts and AAA North Dakota. 

“As an organization with deep roots in the travel industry, AAA is excited to begin a second decade of working with the Governor’s Office, North Dakota Tourism and photographers from across the state to promote travel to this great state,” LaDoucer said.

“There were so many great pictures this year! North Dakota is a beautiful place and the images capture this. I got to learn about new places and events around the state,” Konikow added.

This was the ninth year that photographers could submit photos online through image and video hosting site Flickr. Top category photographers received a $200 cash prize for each winning photo and will have their work featured in North Dakota Tourism’s marketing materials, along with even greater exposure through contest partner AAA. The Best of Show winner received an additional $300 cash prize and a free, one-year basic membership to AAA. Honorable mention winners received $50 and may also have their images featured in the state’s tourism marketing materials.

The Governor’s Photo Contest is held annually and is open to all North Dakota amateur photographers. Next year’s contest will begin in May 2020.


2019 Governor’s Photo Contest Winners and Honorable Mentions 

Best of Show 

Winning Photograph: “Stormy Sunset.” Zachary Hargrove, Bismarck. 

Adventure and Recreation 

Winning Photograph: “Sleepy Hollow.” Mike Renner, Bismarck. Honorable Mention: “Shooting Star over Pretty Point Yurt.” Johnathon Campbell, Bismarck. 

Communities and Events 

Winning Photograph: “Dawning.” Zachary Hargrove, Bismarck. Honorable Mention: “Fort Seward Wagon Train.” Lisa Lang, Buchanan.  

Fun with Family and Friends 

Winning Photograph: “Kids in Jamestown Arts Park.” Lisa Lang, Buchanan. Honorable Mention: “Walk with Daddy.” Sandy Seefeldt, Fargo. Honorable Mention: “Wind Canyon Memories.” Jon Godfread, Bismarck. 

Road Trips 

Winning Photograph: “Traffic.” Rebecca Raber, Bismarck. Honorable Mention: “Geese in Flight.” Scott Archer, Bismarck. 


Winning Photograph: “Stormy Sunset.” Zachary Hargrove, Bismarck. Honorable Mention: “Autumn on the Red.” Duane Strand, Wahpeton. 


Winning Photograph: “Bison at Daybreak.” Mike Hanson, Bismarck. Honorable Mention: “Eared Grebe with Chicks at McKenzie Slough.” Kevin Hice, Washburn. Honorable Mention: “Golden Hour Rooster.” Tom Wirtz, Bismarck. 

Governors Photo Contest Decade’s Best 

Winning Photograph: “Stormy Sunset.” Zachary Hargrove, Bismarck. Honorable Mention: “Pintail.” Steve Silseth, Minot, 2018. Honorable Mention: “Sailing Dreams.” Josiah Kopp, Beulah, 2017. 

Governor’s Photo Contest Winners can also be viewed at 




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