Rugby to be featured in docuseries about rural communities; filming scheduled for late May

May 3—RUGBY, N.D. — The city of Rugby will be featured in an episode of the upcoming docuseries "My Town," which aims to showcase the opportunities, innovations and people of rural communities. Filming is scheduled for May 21 to 23.

The episode will focus on the work of a few residents and show what is available for people living in the town, Ellen Huber, a Rugby Job Development Authority consultant, said.

"The series is really about dispelling myths about rural communities and showing the opportunities that there are in communities like Rugby for living a centered life," she said.

It will show "that work-life balance" and is likely to highlight "lots of access to recreation and sporting activities and arts and culture and (the latter) being one that people don't always expect to find in small towns. But it really is there."

"My Town" is being produced by Cory Hepola, a documentarian who also produced a series called "Rural by Choice," which focused on Otter Tail County, Minnesota, and won a regional Emmy award, according to a press release. Six other towns in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin will be featured in the series and Hepola will be a keynote speaker at a special town hall session scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, May 22, at Rugby High School.

Two of the places Hepola will visit are Main Street Boutique and Heartland Buffalo Ranch. While at Main Street Boutique, he'll be talking with owner Ashley Berg, who offers clothing, gifts, decor, cooking classes and wine tastings. Hepola will take part in one of the cooking classes. At Heartland Bison Ranch, owned by the Leier family, he will work on tagging some of the bulls. Hepola also is scheduled to take a tour of

Rugby's new hospital

, which Huber said is now scheduled to open in September, and discuss the importance of local health care.

Rugby became involved with the docuseries through conversations with the Community Venture Network, of which Hepola is a part. Rugby, Huber said, was on the network's short list of communities considered.

"It's a good opportunity to reflect on all that there is to be grateful for in the community," she said. "They've got a lot of new good things going on. ... It's kind of a Goldilocks community."

There are more stories to tell than what Hepola will be able to cover during his time in town, which is why the Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau, JDA and Economic Development Corporation are also making a marketing campaign and talent attraction initiative to further speak about the town's opportunities and people. Working with a North Dakota-based production firm, the city will be telling eight more stories. Huber anticipates the interviews to begin in June and for things to be completed around late August.

The debut of "My Town" is scheduled for October, and Rugby is planning to hold a premiere at the Lyric Theatre. Updates on the production of the docuseries and more information about it can be found on the series' official Facebook and YouTube pages.