Competition Heats Up in First Ever North Dakota Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament

Twenty teams were vying for first place including "Rest in Pieces," "Puzzle Posse," "What is a Puzzle?" and "Puzzlers on the Edge"


WEST FARGO, N.D. — The Red River Valley Fair has its traditions, but this year something a little different was added.

KVRR’s Danielle Church pieces together for us how much everyone felt about the first ever North Dakota Jigsaw Puzzle Competition.

Twenty teams had three hours to complete a 500-piece puzzle.

“I love puzzles and I am a very competitive person so when I saw this advertised, I knew it was something that I had to get a team together and do,” said Deedee Hartman.

Before these puzzle experts piece their skills together, they’re using their names to scare off their opponents.

“Rest in Pieces,” Hartman said. “We really wanted to pick out a really intimidating name to make sure everybody knew that we were in this and we’re serious competitors. We’re in it to win it. Rest in pieces.”

But there is a twist to this competition. Each puzzle doesn’t exactly match the cover of its box.

“Something might have sunglasses or a bow. People rely so much on that box that surprise, when you’re putting it together you’re like ‘wait what’s going on, why is there a red here’ or something like that,” said Katy Stenerson, with the Red River Valley Fair. “Makes it a little bit more challenging but hopefully not too much for some of these guys.”

For some puzzle masters, a change in the rules really turned up the heat.

“I’m warm right now and sweaty but it’s fun. I like a good competition and this is it,” said Judy Ludwig, on team “What is a Puzzle?”

It also meant there was a lot to lose.

“I’ll cry (if we don’t win). Get me some Kleenex because I will,” Ludwig said.

Thankfully Ludwig has her family to help her get by.

“I love my family. It’s fun, you can talk and visit. It’s relaxing, I like doing puzzles,” Ludwig said. “I am not relaxed right now.”


That’s when having a strategy came in handy.

“A couple of the groups had a strategy going in. Some of them flip all the piece and then make the edges and then start basing it off of colors,” said Grace Ward, Ms. Red River Valley Fair 2019.

It was the “Puzzlers on the Edge” who proved to have the best time, clocking in at 47 and a half minutes.

Taking home the title as North Dakota’s first ever puzzle champions and leaving behind a message for all of their worthy opponents.

“Keep on puzzling,” said Susan Kempel, on team “Puzzlers on the Edge.”

Red River Valley Fair organizers say the competition will be coming back to North Dakota next year because of how popular it was.

The puzzle contestants used this afternoon was created in Minneapolis.

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