August 6, 2014

Hazen native turns track around

By Jarann Johnson

Mike Schmitz is a 2000 graduate of Hazen High, and grew up like many small-town western North Dakota kids. He was around animals all the time on his dad’s farm between Center and Stanton.
Now, 14 years after graduation, he’s still constantly around animals, managing the North Dakota Horse Park in Fargo.
Schmitz is not only managing the horse park, he is also leading it back to life. The North Dakota horse park had been closed for a while; Schmitz was approached to help change things because of his experience in sports.
“My background is in sports marketing. I worked in the NBA for the Timberwolves, indoor football and minor league baseball, so that’s really my background. A couple of years ago this thing was closed down and a couple of guys who are still my board members said, ‘hey, we need the help of your business acumen,’” Schmitz said.
Schmitz felt like the park’s struggles started when there was a change that decreased the park’s budget, and felt like that change was hard for the previous park managers to overcome.

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