The Hanna family: Ryan and Susan with son Hayes and daughter Maysa. Ryan has attended the Winter Show since his high school days, and daughter Maysa is the current Miss North Dakota Winter Show Princess. Photo courtesy Susan Hanna.

By Ruth Nicolaus

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (NDWS) – Ryan Hanna has had a variety of roles at the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City.

As a high school student, he attended, participating in FFA activities.

As a young adult, he competed in the pro rodeo as a steer wrestler.

For the past few years, he’s worked as a pickup man during the pro rodeo.

Now he’s the dad of the reigning Miss North Dakota Winter Show Princess.

The Berthold, N.D. cowboy attended the Winter Show during all four years of high school, from 1991 through 1994, competing in FFA crop judging and livestock judging. He remembers staying in the Armory, sleeping in cots, as did other high schools, because of a shortage of hotel rooms in Valley City.

After high school, he competed in the steer wrestling, from 1996 through 2006, bulldogging at the Winter Show nearly every year.

Then, when the Winter Show pro rodeo was in need of a pickup man, he began that job in 2013, and again in 2019-2020. As a pickup man, his job is to help the bareback rider or saddle bronc rider get to the ground safely after the rider’s eight second ride.

Maysa Hanna holds the title of Miss North Dakota Winter Show Princess. Her dad, Ryan, will work as a pickup man during the Winter Show’s pro rodeo. He attended the show as a kid, for FFA competition, and steer wrestled there as well.

The NDWS pro rodeo has been good to him, he said. Hanna has won money several times at the rodeo, and, in his permit year in the PRCA, won fourth place at the Winter Show. “I thought there’d never be another poor day,” he joked.

Last year, he took on a new role with the NDWS: as daddy to the princess. Daughter Maysa, age twelve, won the 2020-2021 Miss North Dakota Winter Show Princess title.

She has grown into the job, said Susan, Ryan’s wife and Maysa’s mom. As Ryan picked up at rodeos across the area, Maysa and the family went along, Maysa as representing the Winter Show on horseback in the grand entry and parades and with signing autographs.

“It’s brought along her horsemanship and her public speaking,” Susan said. “She’s gotten to meet a lot of people that she wouldn’t normally meet.”

Ryan and Susan have a son, Hayes, who is a high school sophomore. He team ropes and works alongside his dad as a pickup man.

The NDWS isn’t in a fancy building but people love it, he said. The weather may be cold (he recalls a big snowstorm in 2019), but even then, people flock to the NDWS. People will “mostly cuss the cold, but you don’t hear them cuss the rodeo or the people or the town,” Hanna said. “Some years the weather is good, but there have been a lot of sub-zero temps at the Winter Show. But people always go. They still go.”

The 84th edition of the NDWS takes place March 10-14 in Valley City. The pro rodeo will be held March 12 at 7 pm and on March 13 at 2 pm and 7 pm. The ranch rodeo takes place March 11 at 7 pm, with a high school rodeo on March 13 at 10 am and an NDRA rodeo on March 14 at 2 pm.

The event will follow CDC, city and state COVID-19 guidelines.

More information can be found online at NorthDakotaWinterShow.com or by calling the Winter Show at 701.845.1401.