Red River Science Fiction and Fantasy Club (R2SF2) crawled out of the primordial ooze of fandom that began to escape from the cloisters of parent's basements and out into the public arena during the 1970's. The first incarnation came as a local convention organized by Rudy Sigmund, the ersatz owner of a local comic book and collectible store, the "Fantasy Collector". Held at North Dakota State University in the fall of 1976, it inspired the creation of the ValleyCon Association. The first official convention, Valley Con 1, was planned in a three-month time period by the initial members -notably Bruce Rudd and Dan Hillstrom. ValleyCon 1 was held in March of 1977 and was a success, gaining more members for the fledgling group and pushing forward with the planning for the next one.
ValleyCon 2 was held in November of 1977 and was again a success, which led to the ill-fated "Fabulous Film Night" in 1978. Merely the first debacle in the organizations checkered history, it nonetheless taught some valuable lessons and also created a slight air of conservatism when planning future events. ValleyCon 3 was held in the fall of 1978 and was again a success, this time gaining television coverage -yet the membership dreamt of greater things. The founding members were burning out (a recurrent theme in all organizations' histories) and a new crew came in.
ValleyCon 4 was the first of the new crew's conventions and went passably well -being a learning experience for all. The tendency of members to avoid meetings and turn out in droves for the convention (another recurrent theme) made the planning and executing of ValleyCon a challenge to all who have served in the capacity of chairpersons. The following conventions, 5 and 6, began to show the growth so desired by the membership for many years.
ValleyCon saw many ups and downs for the next several years, always maintaining a certain size and scope but not exceeding it. Members and officers came and went and the mood of the country changed but ValleyCon was always held in the fall. It became a constant for many in the community. What had been started as a small get-together for fans of science fiction and fantasy was becoming an event in the area. It was time to address certain issues in that regard.
Planning for ValleyCon 11 continued at a certain pace, yet for some members that pace was a little too slow. ValleyCon was becoming something of a "private party" for fans in the area and was in some ways exclusionary to outside people with merely a passing interest in the event. This attitude was not limited to ValleyCon, but pervaded fan conventions across the country -partially as a reaction to the labels many fans had been unfairly tagged with. A convention of the size of ValleyCon, numbering in the 300-400 attendee range, was also in serious jeopardy if it did not protect itself in case of accidents, etc. Realizing the need to progress beyond the intimate gathering and to serve the community as a legitimate professional entity devoted to promoting science fiction and fantasy in all forms, it was proposed to create a non-profit organization.
Research was done to avoid the cost of legal fees and the bylaws were rewritten to conform to Minnesota Law. Red River Science Fiction and Fantasy Club became the Minnesota non-profit organization that held ValleyCon as its' premiere event annually. This enabled ValleyCon members to relax, knowing they would no longer be held personally responsible in the club's dealings and also allowed for insurance policies to be purchased, donations to be made and many other exciting developments. ValleyCon began to grow.
A new group of officers took over the reins of the organization with the new emphasis on becoming a community event to introduce casual fans to science fiction and fantasy as well as hold the same event that had endeared itself to the hard-core local fans. An emphasis on promotion and convention planning and guest booking to accommodate a wider range of tastes and to entice new fans to the convention took shape, culminating in the largest ValleyCon to date: ValleyCon 14, featuring Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame.
ValleyCon had become a regular entity in the community and had seen many members and officers come and go but in many ways was still a young organization, one that had not been truly tested with a real crisis. This unfortunately came about when one of the founding members, Bruce Rudd, passed away in 1999. Bruce's funeral brought many members past and present together for the first time in many years and thoughts on the organization's position were mulled over.
The fall of 2001 brought many past and new members to the organization with two missions: to bring the non-profit corporation back into solid standing and to begin the growth process once again. Membership adjusted itself and the group began anew. Rather than concentrate on just the annual event, Red River Science Fiction and Fantasy now outlined a plan to sponsor other events, in which ValleyCon would be the largest. ValleyCon concentrated on welcoming new, curious fans to the event and began a program to become one of the premiere events in the region with guests who even the casual fan would know. This new direction brought Virginia Hey of FARSCAPE, Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, Walter Koenig of STAR TREK, Dean Haglund (a favorite and good friend who has returned many times!) of the X-FILES, Lani Tupu & Wayne Pygram of FARSCAPE, Kevin Sorbo of HERCULES, Julie Benz of BUFFY fame, Erica Durance of SMALLVILLE, Bruce Campbell of EVIL DEAD, etc.!!, Claudia Christian and Peter Jurasik of BABYLON 5… and so many more you'll have to check the history!
ValleyCon continues to grow each year and has added a new, successful event in late winter: Fargo-Moorhead Comic-Con! We have had many great guests and this year promises to be even bigger. Please visit our guest and past guest pages to see what we've been up to.
The R2SF2 meets the second Tuesday of every month. Meetings are free and open to the public, but Membership is $15.00 a year. Membership HAS its' privileges!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for location and meeting time.
R2SF2 Contact Information: