How Far Will the Women of Fargo Go to Lure the New Kids to Their Block? So Far, 17,000 Signatures and Counting

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Sure, to the rest of the known world it seems that the pop-rap group New Kids on the Block are everywhere: on TV and radio, in videos, coming to your town soon on tour or, possibly, to clear up some business at the local courthouse. But try living in North Dakota, where fans have to cross state lines to see the Fab Five in concert—even though North Dakota claims Kidiacs like Fargo's Michelle Bruzelius, 13, who has plastered her bedroom with more than $2,000 worth of New Kids memorabilia.

The very thought so steams 82-year-old Alma Herman, a former grade-school music teacher, that she has joined with Michelle's mother, Barbara, 39, in a petition drive to bring the Kids to Fargo and save their fans the 250-mile trek to Minneapolis. "We're the only continental state they haven't performed in," declares Herman, who's also the senior member of the newly formed New Kids Network of North Dakota, as the petition committee calls itself. "They can't ignore us. We're tough. We're Germans, and we don't give up."

While Herman strong-arms the senior set for signatures ("They like the group's antidrug message"), Bruzelius has turned the house she shares with Michelle and husband Joe into New Kids HQ, spending most of her day distributing petitions, writing letters and calling deejays. Bruzelius's efforts have cost her $2,200 of her own money and put 1,800 miles on her red 1987 Ford Escort, which is festooned with New Kids posters and buttons. Herman, Bruzelius and a third zealot, Tammy Bowman, 32, have already collected 17,000 names and hope to have 50,000 by Dec. 1.

Come Nov. 10, Bruzelius and Bowman will lead four carloads of fans to Minneapolis for a New Kids concert. For her part, Herman will stay home and hope for a show next summer at the Fargo fairgrounds. "You won't be able to keep me away," she vows, undeterred even by her heart condition. "You might have to carry me in one of those chariot things, but I'm gonna go."

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